Watermain-gate: Little Sideshows
Councillor Lewenza's classic comment which will last forever is:
- "There's nothing in the management ranks that an auditor is going to find that is going to alleviate residents from the ultimate responsibility of having to pay those fees to replace the system," Lewenza said. "We need to stop focusing on these little sideshows and focus on the real priority of fixing the city's infrastructure.
Lewenza said Halberstadt has been adding fuel to the fire to create confusion. "
Councillor/Chair Junior should be ashamed of himself. He is trying to divert attention away too now. He does not have to continue sniping at Councillor Halberstadt. Gord Henderson has used the "c" word --compromise-- when talking about the border file and the DRIC road so everything is fine now.
Little sideshows like truth and ending confusion in a matter that may be worth over a half a billion of taxpayer dollars are unimportant I guess in his realm. What is going on at the WUC circus is something that the Chair seemingly cannot tell us for some reason since it is the Mayor who does all of the talking and explaining not him.
If Monica Wolfson is correct and a consultant's report says that WUC "needs to spend $660 million over 100 years" then an auditor doing a traditional audit would not be interested in this. However, an investigator trying to uncover the truth about rates would. It may be that we can do what needs to be done but in a different fashion that causes less hardship to taxpayers.
I know it is only a dollar a day to the Councillor but then again how much extra payment is he receiving because of all of these WUC problems that would cover that buck-a-day.
Did WUC's auditor pick up that money may have been diverted from capital to operating in violation of a Commission Resolution? If not, why not? If so, what did they do about it?
The Councillor just does not get it. He and his colleagues are just not believed any more on this subject! The issue is no longer just the WUC rates but it is their credibility both in their oversight of WUC and as politicians.
Just think of this. In November, 2006, the Mayor was re-elected with almost 78% of the vote. Less than a year later, after citizen outrage, he is forced to bring in the Ministry of Municipal Affairs to do an investigation! Such an action is almost unprecedented in Ontario; it is so rare. Has the Mayor's popularity dropped so much, so quickly? Has he lost the support of Windsorites so that he has become a true lame duck politician?
The comment by Councilor Lewenza is most strange anyway. You would think his due diligence as Chair would require him to find out the answer to the questions he raised. Wasn't he the one who said right at the beginning:
- "Coun. Ken Lewenza, who is chairman of the Windsor Utilities Commission, said he didn't know how long the commission had been diverting funds.
Officials were vague on the details about why a designated fee would be used for other purposes, or whether doing so is illegal...
Lewenza said he understood the commission started diverting the funds to pay for overhead costs to avoid raising water rates. He suspected it's been a practice for several years and said it appeared politicians didn't want to raise rates, so utility administrators had to find money somewhere.
Since a former regime at the utility left several years ago, councillors have been overhauling the way the utility operates.
"It's been a long and drawn-out process," Lewenza said. "We are finding out things every day. We still need to do a lot of things to better run the utility."
Perhaps the Councillor is confused himself. Perhaps he is the source of confusion and Councillor Halberstadt's Motion is to clear it up.
Junior also said:
- "We've been focused on how do we fix it, we haven't been looking at blame," Lewenza said."
It's time now to start looking at blame! Depending on the results, certain people may not be holding their positions for much longer.