An item in this years town budget was for $15,000 and was labeled “Integrity Commissioner”. I remember thinking at the time: “That seems a bit rich how often will they be needing his services now that we have a new more accountable council in place and now “Tricky Dicky” Lloyd is not at the table”. Boy was I wrong with those glib thoughts.
I was at the YMCA spin-a-thon yesterday (congratulations for raising $32,000 guys). It gave me a chance to have a meet and greet with a few members of council and other members of the local political scene in a casual setting rather than after a council meeting.
One of my conversations ended up getting to the subject of these ongoing complaints to the towns integrity commissioner. Apparently we have blown through that allotted $15,000 budget and because the towns finances are in such a shambles, they are scrambling to find more money to fund any future complaints. Each investigation costs around $8,000.00.
So let’s take a quick look at the first three cases:
1. Rick Lloyd voting on the Admiral Collingwood Place site remediation agreement.
Anyone that reads this blog knows which side of the fence that I fall on. I am with the good guys, the guys with the white hats, we all know who they are so I wont elaborate. Rick Lloyd is not part of that group. Never the less I do try to be fair and balanced in my commentary.
Rick Lloyd and Assaff have been pals for years. Assaff was Rick Lloyd’s campaign fundraiser at the time when the investigation was happening and when the ACP remediation agreement was being voted on. Assaff stood to save himself a substantial amount of money by not having that agreement enforced. The close connections and dealings between these two have been long and ongoing.
My verdict: Of course this was a conflict of interest, Robert Swayze was wrong he should have sanctioned Lloyd. In this plumbers humble opinion his final report was far too ambiguous by saying that Lloyd was not in conflict but should have removed himself anyway. This led to the report being challenged by the then voting bloc and it not being accepted by council. Piss poor job done by Robert Swayze.
2. Cam Ecclestone discussing renewing the towns CAO John Browns contract with members of council prior to a decision being made.
Give me a f*****g break, this is a complete abuse of the whole process. Given the fractious nature of our council this was a good opportunity for “Angry Man” to do a some score settling. Cam was (I’ll be as gentle as I can be, because many of you think I am a little too harsh on him) a little silly to send his opinion to renew to member’s of council by email, he should have known better.
My verdict: This was not a conflict Robert Swayze was correct to dismiss this out of hand. If we had an unbiased Mayor that had the mental capacity of a goat, she would have admonished Angry Man for abusing the process, because that is exactly what this was, an abuse. So Lloyd pissed away the towns good money to try and settle a score. Good job done by Swayze.
3. Deb Doherty voting on Ace Cabs contract.
Another give me a f*****g break moment. Deb works for Corus Entertainment in the Barrie office. Ace Cabs is not one of her clients but does advertise through her company. Deb is doing a great job as a councilor she did not and should not have removed herself from this vote or any future votes of Corus clients unless she is directly involved with the company in question.
My verdict: Again Robert Swayze did a piss poor job on this report with his ongoing ambiguity. He said she wasn’t in conflict but should have excused herself anyway. Either she is or she isn’t in conflict.
So ladies and gentleman if you look at the above, one report in three that Robert Swayze got completely right and $24,000 spent. Time to rethink this whole process and maybe look for a new Integrity Commissioner. We live in a very politically fractured town, that environment has no room for ambiguity. Ambiguity seems to be in Roberts Swayze’s DNA.