Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Truth Always Comes Out

Now you understand why we need a right of recall in Windsor.

Now you understand why Gord took a shot at Councillor Marra in his Saturday column and at Councillor Dilkens too. Discredit them in advance before the Monday Council meeting that might have questioned Edgar's actions! Make sure no one opens their mouths to talk about the issue.

Democracy is in such a bad state under Mayor Edgar Francis that a Councillor, Drew Dilkens, has to introduce a Notice of Motion to change the Procedural By-law so that Councillors can actually know in advance of their in camera meetings what the agenda items are that they are being asked to discuss. In camera meetings for heaven's sake and Councillors do not have the faintest idea what is going on.

As the Councillor said previously:
  • "the criticism being expressed could stem in part from "the larger issue of how things get done" at council. Dilkens said the matter was "sprung on us" without any prior notice at a Sept. 2 in-camera meeting when the mayor introduced Reidel as the new CAO. No other hiring options were put forward and the suggestion that other city hall managers might also be qualified only came up as a result of a question at Monday's closed-door meeting when councillors were asked to vote on Reidel's appointment."

  • "Airport board member Coun. Drew Dilkens said they have been clueless over YQG audited statements of the last two years being incomplete and withheld."

It is intolerable!

Are the Councillors just sheep? Do they have no backbone? Do they not understand their legal duties? There are TEN Councillors and only ONE Mayor after all. There might be some excuse for them but Edgar has been Mayor now for a long time and this is nothing new. All of a sudden they want a change. Their arrogance, and incompetence, has no bounds

Oscars should be given out for the best acting performance for the CAO Press Conference after John announced his resignation. Now we know the truth:

  • "The resignation of former CAO John Skorobohacz was the culmination of at least two years of discontent between himself and city council...

    He cited several factors in his decision to part ways with the city, including growing disagreements with council, weariness from the heavy-handed control of Mayor Eddie Francis and simply reaching the end of the job’s shelf life. His leaving also creates opportunity in the organization for others to move up, Skorobohacz said."

Two years! Where was the media that covers City Hall informing us about all of this? Asleep? Or afraid to rock the boat? No you know the role Bloggers play in Windsor and why we are so despised by certain people at City Hall.

I had heard from inside moles that the CAO wanted out. I had also heard that the attitude of Council was that if wanted to go, then he should go but without a penny being paid to him. My, how that changed!

What a disgrace this Mayor is. He has told us that he is a lawyer. He of all people ought to know better. Five years and no employment contract signed with the most senior Administrator in the Corporation. Is that how Edgar runs the City Hall business? Was it the same with other Senior Managers like Dev Tyagi? Do they have signed contracts?

Or could there be still-secret protocols or side-letters that have not been disclosed yet to the public?

Remember what the Star wrote over the Jane Boyd termination dispute. While her situation was different, it is the thought that counts:

  • "The ex-right-hand woman to former mayors Mike Hurst and John Millson is suing the City of Windsor for wrongful dismissal. Jane Boyd, who spent 14 years as chief aide in the mayor's office, is seeking $23,750 in termination, severance and vacation pay she believes she's owed after newly minted Mayor Eddie Francis decided to let her go last November.

    Boyd's lawsuit highlights the need for strict contracts in the mayor's office...

    In Boyd's case, that crystal-clear distinction was muddied by lazy contract-keeping in Hurst's office. Although Boyd was hired under contract, first by Millson in 1990, then by Hurst in 1991, she spent the last six years working for Hurst without a contract...

    But Boyd's suit could likely have been avoided had Hurst had the good sense to keep her contract current.

    In the future, mayors must be required to keep their aides' contracts up to date. If they don't, the mayor who slipped up, not taxpayers, should foot the bill for suits like Boyd's."

It is no wonder now that none of the Councillors answered my email asking them on what basis they agreed to pay the severance package. Did they even know about the Offer of Employment Letter? Did any ask to see his "formal" employment contract?

Frankly, they should be embarrassed for their incompetence. And taxpayers have to pay for it.

Here is how Councillor Halberstadt described it:

  • "I don’t like it, paying that kind of money when a guy wants to leave anyway,” said Coun. Alan Halberstadt. “My understanding it was in his contract. It’s unfortunate from a taxpayer point of view."

Gee thanks Alan, that makes me feel so much better. It's"unfortunate." What a shameful understatement.

His "understanding!" That means to me that he had no idea other than what he was told. By whom? Why didn't he ask for the contract and read it before agreeing to pay out money that could have paid for PRBs so there was no need for a strike.

It seems clear to me that Alan has given up and will likely not run again. After all of these years of being the lone wolf on Council, he is folding his tent. It is hard to watch.

Then we have the big, tough Junior mouthing off again AFTER everything is done and it is too late. That seems to be becoming a practice of his especially after he voted for it:

  • “No, I’m not happy with what he is walking away with,” said Coun. Ken Lewenza Jr. “I was not happy as CAO you are out there doing job interviews the last couple years. When you are in that position, I would expect total loyalty and not focusing on his own intentions in terms of preserving his career.

    “But at the end of the day, council signed a contract. This was positioned to council as if there were no other options.”

Spare us the unhappiness Councillor. Oh I get it now, it is only 5 cents per week per family to pay John his multi-hundred thousand dollar package, the Lewenza "used car salesman justification" for every troubling expenditure.

And which contract was that and why were there no other options. Did Junior dare ask if there were alternatives? John resigned and there was no term that allowed him to receive money on a resignation. Who did the "positioning" as if we cannot guess.

How was it put....oh dear, he could get 2 years severance if there was a lawsuit and he won (that is what the Mayor claimed in the press conference) and we can get out for less, about half. He might be able to sue for constructive dismissal and look how much the legal fees would be too, especially if the City lost. And hey, it is just before an election and can you imagine the dirty linen if he can prove Council was trying to get rid of him because of "growing disagreements with council" and Edgar's "heavy-handed control" with the near-riot being the straw that broke the camel's back.

And what did the other lawyer on Council, Councillor Valentinis contribute to this discussion? Did he read the contract before he voted?

Obviously, there were lawsuit threat concerns. That always scares people.

But here is a different thought out of Councillor Dilkens' mouth

  • "the mutual decision to part ways with Skorobohacz was the best way to move forward...

    “But I was first on alert when the CAO was putting himself forward as a job cut.

    We had a mutual discussion. Instead of saying ‘we fired the guy,’ this was a less acrimonious process. We need to make sure we have the most effective person in that role."

Does that suggest that perhaps there were grounds for termination with cause in the mind of at least one or two Councillors but that Council backed off because of positioning and understanding? Unfortunately, we will never know.

I can hardly wait to read the Star Editorial condemning the Mayor and Council for their negligence in running this City. Or will they somehow blame CUPE for this and suggest that the money come out of the strike "savings."

I wonder if Marty Beneteau will be there with his camera taking a photograph when the Mayor and Council present their cheque to the City for "footing the bill."

Perhaps Gord will apologize next Saturday too since the facts are starting to come out.