Here's OUR Council Plan
Bill, Percy and Drew have to be upset. I know I would be.
If I were a Councillor, especially a newly elected one, I think I would be annoyed too. Here I am, just after a successful campaign with my ideas approved by voters in my Ward and I am being told what the next 4 years are all about by the Mayor without any of my input. Actually, not by the Mayor directly but via a Windsor Star columnist. How rude!
It was not supposed to be like this.
Remember 3 short years ago, from Eddie’s Kick-off speech:
- "I believe in open and accessible government:
An environment where City Councillors will become active participants. I fully intend to empower our City Council, our employees and our citizens by ensuring they know that their opinions count ……their ideas will be considered, by making sure they have the facts they need to make informed decisions and by respecting the very legitimate concerns of Councillors who work so hard at just trying to be heard.
There is a great deal of knowledge and expertise that is ignored or discouraged. Councillors must be allowed to participate and encouraged to bring forward and express their ideas openly and freely. Council members will be asked to accept a greater role including portfolios which will include duties above and beyond their local ward responsibilities.
How about his Platform:
- EMPOWERING COUNCIL
City Councillors must become active participants, with the Mayor, in governing our City. Our Councillors come from diverse backgrounds that are rich in different life experiences. Many will have previously served as Councillors. We must leverage the depth and breadth of their knowledge and expertise to the City’s advantage.
Each Councillor has a vision of the City that encompasses more than just their immediate ward obligations. Councillors who chose to accept additional responsibilities will be assigned portfolios that suit their experience and skill set.
These portfolios will include duties above and beyond their local ward responsibilities, including Social Services, Fire and Police Services, Community Services, Infrastructure Services, Finance etc.
At the start of each day, I intend to host an informal "bullpen meeting" with administration. Councillors will be invited to ensure that the day’s major activities at City Hall will be clearly understood and to encourage participation where expertise or experience benefits the process. On a regular schedule, I will meet with each Councillor individually to discuss Ward issues and to review the progresses and challenges they face with their portfolio responsibilities.
I saw this on his recent website:
- EMPOWERING COUNCIL
Bullpen Sessions IMPLEMENTED
Council setting agenda IMPLEMENTED
Not very much when you compare actual with promised. How can one explain the wide gap? It’s easy, Eddie has his own agenda. In case, Councillors want to know what it is, he told it to Gord Henderson before the polls were even closed. Here is what Eddie wants to do, like it or not. And there will be a strategic session where Councillors will buy into it, or else.
- "Look for border infrastructure, the Zalev scrapyard and Windsor Airport to top the must-do list when Mayor Eddie Francis and his new council meet with a facilitator in early December to draw up a battle plan for the next four years…
If it's anything short of a solution that improves the city's quality of life, gets trucks off our streets and at the same time moves traffic across the border, that we will not be supportive of. We will be very aggressive in making sure we get it right and they get it right.
Francis sees Windsor making progress on quality-of-life issues, including a rails-to-trails program, streetscaping and neighbourhood cleaning and beautification, which he believes are fundamental to creating the kind of community that attracts diverse investments.
He thinks the Zalev scrapyard, the city's biggest eyesore and a major environmental concern, could become a rails-to-trails starting point and a poster child for brownfield reclamation
Francis wouldn't tip his hand on plans for Windsor Airport, which has been bleeding red ink under a contract with a private operator, but said the airport, and especially the airport lands, will be a top priority. "I don't think we've used it as a primary driver in economic development but we will…
Another pivotal development will be the hiring of a chief executive officer by the new Windsor-Essex County Economic Development Commission…
Also high on the to-do list will be efforts to convince the University of Windsor to join St. Clair College in boasting a downtown campus. The former Salvation Army building, owned by the struggling Capitol Theatre, is considered the leading candidate to join the Cleary as a campus site.
Last, but certainly not least, is the city's involvement in frantic behind-the-scenes efforts to secure a new product for Ford of Canada's Essex Engine plant."
Now that they know what they are to do, Councillors merely need to rubberstamp it at their strategic session in December. Then they can go to sleep until a month before the next election as was the case this time around. They can discuss in open public session and spend hours debating on pitbulls, feral cats and skunks as well as other circuses. And tell us how democratic we are here because open sessions are twice as long as closed door ones.
I write all of this because one of my inside moles sent me this comment. He/she was right too:
- "…maybe something you might give your thought to - this "strategic planning" and use of a facilitator et al for the incoming council... if I were a councilor, of independent mind, I would balk at participating. All these meetings do is create a "consensus" as to what the goals of the council are for the next year, and in a way then, give Eddie carte blanche to run around behind the scenes and work his magic, because after all, he is working towards the "goals" that the council set, and how can they argue with the details in public when they approved it in principle in private? When in fact, if they didn't come to consensus we might have an actual public debate on the how and why of issues and their resolution, instead of council reduced to clapping seals when Eddie announces a new item to check off as being accomplished. I think that these strategic sessions, and insisting that council come out of them with a common set of objectives, reduces their power and ultimately reduces the level of transparency. Are we going to be privy to these sessions? NO…it was just council and senior administration and a select few other individuals"
Drew, Bill and Percy have their marching orders. Join with your colleagues and let Eddie do it all.