Archive for the ‘Procedural and Rules- Legislative’ Category

Hansard– Why not at the Municipal level

Monday, March 19th, 2012

I have come to the conclusion that the ultimate method of having Municipal council minutes better and more informative to the citizen that was not there is to not have minutes at all but have this.

The debates of the House of Commons are reported verbatim, recording correctly what was said by each Member in the House. Slight verbal alterations are allowed to be made by a Member in order to make the meaning more precise and accurate; however, no words or phrases may be inserted to effect material changes in the meaning of what was actually said in the House.

Hansard.   I ask why not?

I have read minutes of meetings I was at and there is no mention of councillors questions on anything or staff responses,  just “The issue of  _____ was discussed”  I would like to know more!

So what if the council meeting is broadcast on tv,  if I miss it I want to read the record.  I can watch CPAC and watch question period, doesn’t mean I can’t read the hansard a year later if I want to.

Sounds like a question for the Province because any time you want to change something at the Municipal level they just point upwards.

Joe?  Joe Dickson are you there? What do you think?

Then I could do just what How’d they Vote do stats on them.

Technically the Hansard is created because they record the official spoken word at the “meeting” .  It’s amazing that technology has advanced that software exists to take the recorded audio and transcribe it for editing.  Not like some clerk has to sit and type it all up!

Mayor Parish Committee Attendance- Metroland article

Friday, March 16th, 2012

I won’t bother writing my own post, I don’t have much to add.  Here is the online
article.  I was emailed for my comments, it was a complete surprise to me!  

I did not hunt down the joint committee meetings and the article said he has gone to half of those.

Maybe the Region should ask for it’s money back on the time missed? 

I think the Town of Ajax pays his full salary and the Regional portion is paid back to Ajax from the Region.  He does not get two cheques.  

What do you think?   He claims he was doing other Mayoral duties during the committee time, should the citizens of Whitby and Pickering , Oshawa etc. cover this?

Here’s an idea, the base Regional Councillor pay should be for the Mandatory Regional Council meetings then be paid per meeting attended.  

The Parish Bylaw we can call it.   

Assign his pay and vote to Shaun or Colleen or he needs to make the time to be at the meetings. 

Moved by Karem Allen
Seconded by  Shaun Collier or Colleen Jordan ????????
Carried!

Pickering Notice of Motion- March 26th Code of Conduct

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

I stumbled upon this on the City of Pickering’s website landing page.  Imagine a Council document easy to find!
It is a Notice of Motion for a Code of Conduct.  I went to their website looking to see if anything like accountabilitystartsatthetop.com could occur in Pickering and if the Code of Conduct is adopted, it would not according to item 15 in the Interaction with the Public, Other Members and City Staff.  It is very clear that Staff can not be engaged in partisan political activities.   I view the website created by Ajax staff as a partisan activity.

I searched the Ajax Town site and could not find ours, I am sure we have one as I was told we did.

I found a code of conduct for anyone who wants to address council  but not the one for Council.

Shakes head.

Committee Meetings- Voluntary- Compare Parish to Whitby and Pickering Mayors

Monday, February 27th, 2012

I learned today that Regional standing committee meetings are not mandatory to attend.  There are attendance requirements for Council meetings however, good thing!

I wanted to see how our Neighbour Mayors in Whitby and Pickering do with their Committee appointments and here they are.
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Regional Councillor Reports — Get them on Town Website

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

Currently if you want to read a Regional Councillor report you have to go to the Town of Ajax Minutes and find them,. they could be verbal or circulated separately.  They really make us citizens work!   So on behalf of all of you residents I have sent the following communication, I think if you send it to the Clerk it will be distributed officially to all the council and is in the official minutes — online.

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Council Reacts to Covert Website- Durham Region article

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Here is Tara’s second article online, probably print for Saturday.

http://www.durhamregion.com/news/article/1305155–ajax-council-reacts-to-revelation-political-website-owned-by-town

 Another reason the Mayor really messed up is because it taints the whole issue, who knows now if the emails that councillors have received are real,  could be made up people , who knows.

It’s about Trust!  it certainly is.

Lingering Questions:  Where was Brian Skinner in all this? Our CAO ?  He is the top man for the Staff side.  Did the Mayor just walk up to Kevin or communications staff and instruct them to throw this site together?

Did Brian Skinner our very highly paid CAO take the request to the staff?

Just what happens down at that Town Hall?

News article on issue

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Here is a link that someone alerted me to.  http://www.durhamregion.com/news/article/1303936–town-of-ajax-is-behind-website-urging-election-of-regional-chairman

I did not speak to the 2 councillors the article mentioned but I did email them and asked them if they had heard of the site and knew who was behind it ,  they said no but had received emails.  Just wanted to clarify that it was not an in person or telephone conversation.

Parish says he has no plans to run for the job.

I think this Town needs a code of conduct and clear rules on what type of advocacy the Town Staff can be involved in.

Issues that affect the Municipality but do not lead to a political vote at the Municipal level are ok, if we the Town of Ajax set up a website to advocate for better health care , for better education funding to local schools that would be fine because it is to a higher level of government.  This website is lobbying to the same level of governement and the Staff of the Town report to Council that must vote and have voted on this issue,  I see it as a conflict.

Define Minimal cost ?  The time spent on the site is time not spent doing other work in the strategic plan priorities.

I can’t complain to the Ontario Ombudsman as he has no Jurisdiction in this Municipal matter.

Time to record In Camera meetings - audio?

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Interesting article I came across today.    http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/676076–ombud-wants-secret-meetings-recorded

Doubt it would happen here!

Accountability Starts at the Top– Owner of Website

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

The following is a copy of an Email I sent — I don’t expect a reply but it really bothers me.  This does not mean I don’t support Direct Election of the Regional Chair ,  it means I am pro transparency and proper use of the Town of Ajax resources.

_______

Mr. Parish, Mr. Skinner

Who requested that the Town’s resources- Mr. Kevin xxxx(edit) , our Social Media Communications Director be used to create a website and register a domain that is clearly for political lobbying and to incite Citizen
action?

I honestly don’t think this is right and it misleads the public.

There is no indication on the website of accountabilitystartsatthetop.com as of 10:39am that the site is connected to the Town of Ajax.

I really don’t know what else to say except that this blatant misuse of power dissappoints me.

This is a legitimate cause that the Town(edit:Council I meant) has been promoting , no citizens interested in taking up the cause?

The site gives the impression it is stand alone- maybe a citizen group like anti incineration. A call to action.

I wanted a few years ago to post something at the Mclean Centre and was told I could not because it was political in nature and they could not do it.  They used the term a Call to action at that time as well.

This is a pet project of the Mayor and if you plan to run for the TOP job how much money was spent on this as it is election spending as far as I am concerned. Who is paying for it? Do I need to do a FOI?

If Mr. Gaynor has said No to doing this covert work would he be fired like TTC Chair Gary Webster?

This spending on the domain and website design work takes time and it was done by the resources of the Town. It is a very elaborate site, or did the same company that created the new website do it? How much did they charge?

Council did not approve this, did they even know about it? Councillor Crawford nor Collier knew of it as of this  morning except for getting form emails-from the site.  (Small edit for clarity)

The website registration is public and a simple Who Is on the domain shows me the Town of Ajax - Kevin G. registered the domain.  - I have the copy of it at home if you need to see it.

Was this plan hatched out at the bar after a meeting one night?  I would not be surprised!

The Mayor has previously used the resources of the Town for his election activities and barely had his hand slapped.

Mr. Parish, do you plan to run for Regional Chair when or if it is an elected position?

I await a response and this email will be posted on my blog unedited. Hopefully it does not go missing.
Regards

Karem Allen

P.S. I had sent an email to the admin of the site last night asking if it was a citizen group and have not had a response
guess he did not want to lie to me, good thing.
There has been some potential unauthorised activity on my blog that I am looking into.

Lots of time spent on Twitter as well promoting the site!

_____________

I am on my lunch break here at work!  But the taxpayers of Ajax don’t pay my salary.

Accountability Does Start at the Top

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

I wrote a post a little while ago and it appears to be missing, not deleted by me and I am looking into if my blog admin has been hacked of if the database is messing up again - then it may show later 2 posts!

 There was a post last night about a new website called.

http://accountabilitystartsatthetop.com   check it out. I am waiting to hear who is behind this website.

 More later today.

 There is a comment from the admin of the above site that I can no longer find on the website- I approved it last night and saw it this morning and now it is gone and I did not delete it.