Some Answers and FACTS - LAS - Ajax- Whiby - [Edit-Ombudsman Speech]

This excerpt from the below post I now have some answers to and I want to address some email I have received.

Yet again this shows citizens that no matter what they do or even when they do it, minds are made up?
Did phone calls take place between Whitby Staff and Ajax Staff disregarding what the public, if only a few had to say?
Did staff call the City of Sarnia before our final council meeting to find out the outcome ?

The answer is “Yes” (Whitby Yes, Sarnia? ) and you know what , I knew that all along. Actually Municipal Staff talk to one another all the time and no law has been broken however what I do have a problem with is the declaration that a clerk was confident in going with LAS as early as August 2007. This was of course covered at an AMO Conference with full presentation. The office of the Ombudsmen was not invited.

They took a survey last summer asking municipalities if they were interested in a program provided by LAS, even before the program was put together.

Go and read the Association of Municipalities information on the closed meeting investigator process and Local Authority Services program and I challenge anyone to find the words of “in the Public’s best Interest” You won’t find it, I have not been able to yet.

I have received email from those that like to give me their opinions and it seems I am involving my “feelings” too much. Well you know what- The rights of the public are something to have feelings about.

We pay a lot of taxes and the entire Administration and some councillors forget who they work for, they work for us and we are an annoyance to them. I have not had an official response from the Town of Ajax yet and I don’t expect one.

The point about the report being incomplete and inaccurate still stands. Even if Staff spoke to Staff of other Municipalities to find out what they were recommending to their councils , who did they speak to in the Ontario Ombudsmen Office in terms of process and time length of investigations or possibility of future fees? We asked that question in November and for Ajax it was pretty clear no one called the Ombudsman, give me a name of someone if you did.

Staff reports are to contain all the facts and when councils have to make a decision are they not supposed to be presented with all the facts? Is speculation permitted? Speculation about future fees? How much increase could we face with LAS in two years at the end of the term? When citizens make delegations we need to have all our points as proven facts, what do you think they would say to a citizen trying to make a point off of rumour and speculation?

Forecasting is based in part on historical data. The Ombudsman for the entire history through various governments has not imposed a fee to citizens or agencies it was investigating for systemic problems. What is the basis for speculating it could “in the future” ????

The Fact is: The Staff report presented only one side of the process. There was no price comparison between LAS and the other investigators that are out there.

The Ombudsman is free and I am pretty confident you are not going to see any fees implemented in the future. Think of the uproar if the Ombudsman office started charging for their services, they are the last hope for some people, especially those with lottery tickets. This is a reasonable assumption because of the history in place. There is no past history with LAS - Closed Meeting Investigator program to make that same assumption.

The Fact is: We have known about this closed meeting investigator for quite a while and nothing was done about it, except wait for AMO to do something and charge money for it.

The Fact is: The rights of the Citizens in Ajax that is a Municipality in the Province of Ontario were not considered in the decision made last November.

The Fact is: Municipalities all over Ontario want the province’s money but not the accountability to it.

The Fact is: WE elect the Councillors , WE hire the Staff , WE have a say (are supposed to).

We have open houses for planning applications to ensure the public has an input and say yet for this issue the public had no input whatsoever, where was the Town Hall meeting to decide what was best for the citizens of Ajax? Councillor Adam Giambrone in Toronto was once quoted as “There is never enough process when you are against something” Well we never had any process here at all.

We have a chance on March 17, 2008 to stop Whitby from making the same assumptions and actually present all the facts. Will they?

You don’t have to live in Ajax to sign the petition, you only have to believe in Open and Transparent Government at the Municipal Level.

[edit] Read a March 6th speech by the Ombudsman here.

Exerpt from Report:

In the final months of 2007, when municipalities sensed the deadline approaching and began to appoint investigators, we discovered a large information gap regarding the legislation in general – and its provisions about our Office in particular. We began to hear that many municipalities were basing their decisions on information that was mistaken and downright false. Many more were rushing through the process of setting up an investigative regime with little or no public debate.


2 Responses to “Some Answers and FACTS - LAS - Ajax- Whiby - [Edit-Ombudsman Speech]”

  1. admin Says:

    Here is an excerpt from a news article on the Ombudsman site in reference to fees.

    “Some local politicians have argued Marin’s services aren’t truly free, suggesting taxpayers will foot the bill for a ballooning ombudsman budget.”

    The rest can be found here.

    My comment is this: As a property taxpayer to the Town of Ajax a portion of my taxes pay the association fee to AMO, now a portion of my taxes are paying the retainer fee and possible investigation fees.
    If my provincial level taxes possibly go to an increased budget of the ombudsman, then I would rather benefit from that and pay once in my taxes then pay twice — pay to Ajax to pay LAS AND Pay to the province to add to the ombudsman budget and NOT have benefit of it.

    Carolyn Parish in Missisauga once said “This ain’t no secret society” I still am thinking about getting T shirts made with that slogan.

    Is Ajax a secret society???

    How many citizens in Ajax even understand this issue? An open house is truly needed if only for educational purposes.

  2. ww Says:

    This sounds like just another way to tap taxpayers or discourage complaints. You are very right to protest.

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