Email to Councillors- 1 response- Conference Rules

I sent the following email to the incumbent Councillors Colleen Jordan, Pat Brown, Joanne Dies and the Mayor,  I cc’d Scott Crawford , Shaun Collier and the other guy just for information. 


Re: Great Lakes Conference 2010 question

I would like to ask about the reason all of you had to be in attendance for the conference in June.   It was the most expensive expense listed in a recent article in metroland about the frugal expenses of Ajax councillors. 
I think the Mayor could have represented the Town on his own and be present for the resolution that was accepted.
It is a great organization don’t get me wrong and the work done is valuable ,  I have inquired to other municipalities and one Mayor said he has not been to a conference since 2003 in St. Catharines.  
The Councillors cc’d chose not to attend,  I realise that they don’t have wards on the waterfront but the whole Town is considered a shoreline community.
So again,  why couldn’t the Mayor attend on his own and report back to Council his learning’s and activities ? 
I checked the public minutes for a few meeting after the conference there was no mention of anything relating to it for the public.   If Councillors choose to attend these types of events on behalf of the residents, don’t you think there should be some report to the Town in a Council meeting ? 
Maybe before an expensive event the Town should have a policy where Councillors must present an interest in attending and justify the excursion.   
Just to point out again,  I am not against the group or it’s work.   I just question the reason 4 Councillors needed to all be in attendance.   The Mayor that attended in St. Catharines only had the City Manager with him. 
Thanks,  Just doing some “research”  I remind you Mr. Parish that you don’t like it when I don’t do research before making a post.
Karem Allen
Mayor : Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative - $1,146.03
Regional Councillor:  Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative - $1,077.72
Local Councillor: Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative - $1,147.07
Local Councillor: Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative - $1,076.52

Here is the one reply I had from Scott Crawford,  Regional Councillor Ward 1 & 2 incumbent

Hello Karem, I’m not sure if you were looking for a response from Councillors that did not attend, I have always felt if the individual Councillors think that attending a conference will improve their skills or their attendance will help the Town of Ajax then I have no problem with them attending. You may also notice that members of Council attend different conferences that are in line with what that member brings to the table, speaking for myself I attend AMO (Association of Municipalities of Ontario) and OGRA (Ontario Good Roads Association) every year. AMO allows me to meet with the Provincial Ministers, as well as the opposing party members present, and to share or get ideas from other Municipal leaders. As a member of the Regional Works Committee, the OGRA conference is a staple to attend, not only for the roads component but bridges, noise attenuation, retaining walls and water+sanitary piping construction. Mind you if I don’t find myself on the Works Committee after the next election I will cease attending OGRA and probably attend conferences that are in line with that committee. -Regional Councillor Scott Crawford Wards 1&2
P.s - Please feel free to post my comments on your blog. - Scotty

I still think that councillors should present to Council so it is on record the conferences they would like to attend for the year and the total cost for it and how it adds value to their role and the Town for any conference over $500.00 in total.   They should provide their report for council on their return.

This one I just think is funny, not a lot of money.
Mayor:  International Making Cities Liveable - $176.98 

On my survey I ask everyone why we are still a town and I always get the same answers and every single council member and candidate would still want us to be a Town.   So why did the Mayor need to learn how to make Cities Livable ? *wink*

This one peaked my interest because I live in a Wartime, 
Mayor: Now House Project - retrofitting wartime homes for energy efficiency - $220.35

It’s not the cost but the fact that as a resident this would be of interest to me,  a report to council after attending this session would be informative for homeowners, but they don’t have to report to council after coming back from what is considered Professional Development.  

Share the knowledge!

So what do you think as a resident?  Am I being extreme in my thinking?   I asked Joanne Dies verbally at a community garden event ,  she has always been very passionate about water issues so maybe she should have been the one to go , she represented the Mayor before when he could not attend. 

Look forward to comments.   Also,  The City of Sarnia does have a procedure in place where all conferences must be approved through Council. 

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