Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Edgar Must Apologize To A White-haired Tax Watchdog

It looks like the heat in the kitchen is getting to our Mayor.

Life is full of ironies. Kwame's trip to see Edgar over the Tunnel deal helped bring Kwame down. Will it now hurt Edgar too after all of this time?

The preamble to the Code of Conduct that applies to the Mayor and Councillors states:
  • "Improving the quality of public administration and governance can be achieved by encouraging high standards of conduct on the part of all government officials. In particular, the public is entitled to expect the highest standards of conduct from the members that it elects to local government."

What a despicable comment that Edgar (aka Eddie) made. Is his petty outburst the highest standard of conduct that the public is entitled to expect?

Does this remark below by Edgar, attacking a Windsorite for doing what he is legally entitled to do, meet the test that "All members of Council have a duty to treat members of the public, one another and staff appropriately and without abuse, bullying or intimidation"

Can the remark be considered a "reprisal against a complainant or anyone for providing relevant information to the Integrity Commissioner [and] is therefore prohibited."

Want proof that our Mayor cannot handle the pressure and lashes out when attacked or blamed? You have it again in the Edgar investigation matter being handled by the Integrity Commissioner.

I say again because it immediately brought to mind his attempt of Perry Mason-type cross-examination of the pesky environmentalist at the City Special Council meeting that was actually held outside of Windsor if you can imagine!

Our Edgar got his name in the non-Windsor media again and yet is so testy. The investigation of him has been reported in the media in Detroit, Toronto and Lansing as examples. Oh, I guess he is angry that they do not fawn over him like certain local media outlets.

I did not see this remark of Edgar reported in the Star because they know better I am sure but in other non-local media stories:

  • "Mayor of Windsor, Ont., denounces probe over meeting with Detroit mayor

    The mayor of Windsor, Ont., has denounced a complaint to the city's integrity commissioner over a meeting he had with his Detroit counterpart, calling it frivolous and politically motivated...

    "What you have here is a frivolous complaint by someone trying to politically manufacture an issue," Francis said in an interview.

    "This is a member of the public, who is well known to us at city hall, who has made a complaint, and the basis of the complaint is that the mayor of Windsor should not meet with someone who has been charged."

Tsk, tsk, tsk. Such language!

Here is how a search on Google News showed it so it is spread across the Internet:

Frivolous eh. Edgar used that word in relation to the CUPE bad faith complaint too and we know what has come out thanks to the Junior Ward meeting.

How dare Edgar use the word "frivolous." Moreover, Edgar stated in the Detroit news:

  • "Francis called the allegations "frivolous."

    "The facts speak for themselves," Francis said. "We have a process in place where anybody can make a complaint to the integrity commissioner. He must go through the process."

Edgar is again playing his accurate but narrow game. He is suggesting that the Integrity commissioner MUST investigate the complaint. Not true at all.

I have no idea what is in the complaint. However, the Integrity Commissioner has this power as part of the process:

  • "To guard against misuse of the Office of the Integrity Commissioner, complaints that are deemed to be frivolous by the Commissioner will be dismissed at the outset."

Edgar is a lawyer. He knows that.

The Integrity Commissioner has had the chance to dismiss the claim as being "frivolous"and did not do so. Obviously, he disagrees with the Mayor! In fact, we are told in the Star story:

  • "The integrity commissioner told him his allegation was “extremely serious” and determined it was worthy of an official complaint, McLeod said...

    “(Basse) did call back and say they are still working on it,” McLeod said.

In case you do not know who Bruce McLeod is, the person named in the Star story, he is the fellow who said this at Council recently:

  • "The Windsor Detroit Tunnel Corporation is set to take control of the crossing at the end of the year for approximately $104 million. Council voted unanimously to approve the "rollover" despite opposition expressed by several ratepayers who argued the operations and decisions of the new corporate entity would become less transparent to ordinary citizens.

    "The real reason, we think, is to eliminate public oversight," said Bruce McLeod."

No wonder he is well known at Council.

"Politically manufacture..." what a slur!

Remember this:

  • "Council on tap

    2) The "White-haired Watchdogs" — Al Nelman, Alex Foley, Bruce McLeod and Merv Dependleton — are scheduled to speak on the mysteriously named "Audit Committee Report No. 42."

Or this:

  • "Council votes to redraw Windsor's electoral map

    Admitting it hadn’t been their finest hour, city councillors reversed course Monday night from the controversial do-nothing approach taken last month and voted unanimously to implement a 10-ward electoral system for the 2010 civic election...

    Bruce McLeod, one of several residents who addressed council prior to this week’s debate, described the earlier council performance as “a stupid political sideshow” that became “the talk of the town.”

    Some even felt the need to apologize.

    “I do agree it was one of council’s most embarrassing moments,” said Coun. Ken Lewenza Jr."

How about this Letter to the Editor of the Star:

  • "Zero per cent tax hike too much
    Byline: Bruce R Mcleod

    Don't you ever wonder, those Windsor councillors and the mayor we elected, do they have any grasp of reality? Can they honestly tell themselves that these are ordinary times? Have they had one too many sips of Red Bull or some hallucinogens? They do not seem to understand how bad it really is...

    What can council do? Bring in a new budget (everybody's doing it) and cut about 12 per cent from the present pipe dream. Maybe then the citizens will see some light down the road."

I am sure you recall this story and the want ad:

  • "Auditors hounded for answers; Tax watchdogs demand open government

    Minding your tax dollars isn't so much a passion as it is a full- time vocation for the affable and occasionally ornery curmudgeons who have been hounding members of the city's audit committee for nearly a year.

    These white-haired watchdogs attend more meetings than alcoholics, reading the fine print in city reports and pestering councillors and administrators with pointed -- some might say impertinent -- questions about public money.

    "We have to take away the idea that they can do what they want and nobody cares. That can happen if people show up and ask questions and are critical," said Bruce McLeod, 69, who carries an ever-growing collection of documents in a folder emblazoned with the Bulldog logo of the Windsor Association of Concerned Taxpayers.

    "The Municipal Act says everything should be open and transparent, but standard operating procedure for the City of Windsor is don't tell them unless they ask, so we ask."

    McLeod and four others -- Al Nelman, 84, Alex Foley, 73, Les Chaif, 75, and Merv dePendleton, 62 -- have been attending early- morning audit committee meetings religiously for months and demanding, in increasingly colourful and provocative language, the release of an audit into the 400 building in City Hall Square.

    McLeod was so frustrated with the committee's repeated refusals to release the audit, and a draft report prepared by former city auditor Mike Dunbar, that he paid $27 and took out a three-day advertisement in The Star's classified section in January."

The major matter that the police must investigate forthwith is how McLeod's name got out. The Complaint Procedure states:

  • "Complaints or investigations that are conducted by the City of Windsor Integrity Commissioner are Confidential. The identities of complainants are not revealed nor are the complaints filtered through Council or Staff.

    Members of the public may make complaints in confidence directly to the Integrity Commissioner. Complaints may be from an anonymous source and need not be in the form of a sworn affidavit."

Will Edgar have the class to apologize for his childish and immature outburst?Will one Councillor have the guts to introduce a Motion to force the Mayor to apologize? Will a Councillor demand an investigation of the breach of confidentiality?

Bruce, don't hold your breath. Heck, file another complaint over this. It would be a winner!