Wednesday, January 31, 2018


Well last night Council and Staff's vacancy appointment scam unfolded pretty much to script. If you're a politician, lying to the voters is simply all in a day's work. It's all about their will and wishes versus what is in the public interest. Two speakers via Delegation advised Council and the public that the fastest, easiest and most responsive to public wishes was to simply appoint the runner-up candidate in Ward 1, Dr. Dan Holt. He was third with 1,036 votes for the two available positions in Ward 1. Lisa MacDonald also advised Council that the Staff Report was inaccurate with its' claim that an official Appointments Process involving advertising for Applicants, interviewing Applicants and then deciding on the winner would only cost $1,000-$3,000. Apparently Staff and Council like to add in Staff wages when they are totaling costs for say Election Financing Audits and Hearings but not so much when it doesn't suit them. They also forgot to add in the wages of the Township's taxpayer funded lawyers (Smith Valeriote).

Dr. Holt advised Council of his interest in representing Ward 1 residents as well as of his and other candidates having stepped forward in the last election, putting themselves out there, speaking publicly and spending time and money in order to get elected. An Appointments Process soliciting applications from far and wide was unnecessary, time consuming (2 months) and expensive. Furthermore the public had already spoken as to whom they wanted to represent them for this term of council.

Two other Delegates spoke. I am somewhat in awe of Jacqueline Hanley. She appears friendly, sociable, confident and out-going. She also speaks very well. The problem was in her message. She confidently advised that results in the last election were not to be a criteria as they did not represent the wishes of the public. She claimed that a wide open new Application Process potentially drawing in lots of applicants was far more democratic than relying on the results of the last election. In other words, unstated by her, was that the decision of five Councillors (actually 3- the majority) was allegedly more democratic than the votes of 1,036 Woolwich voters. Councillor Patrick Merlihan asked her the only question of any Delegate last evening. Could she explain or clarify how Councillors deciding could possibly be more democratic than the votes of over a thousand citizens. She was taken aback and stumped.

Then we had the last Delegate, Julie-Anne Herteis. Oh my. Julie-Anne "resigned" as Chair of CPAC before the very first public meeting ever occurred. This was after she stormed out of a meeting in the Councillor's Boardroom at which I was present. The kindest thing said after her sudden departure was that she was not "chairperson material". Julie-Anne later told Mayor Todd Cowan that she was going to resign as a Councillor. This was in her first year on Council. He talked her out of it. Then she didn't run for Council again in October 2014 to absolutely no one's surprise. Anyone who saw her at Council meetings found her knowledge base minimal and her grasp of the issues even less so.

Last evening she made it clear that she wants to throw her hat in the ring both now and in the fall. What are you doing Julie-Anne? You hated your time on Council. Is this simply for the part time salary available to Councillors? I absolutely do not know her outside her role as a past councillor. I have heard several good things about her work at Chartwell and about her social outings. She may be a wonderful human being but she simply does not have the necessary skills to be voting on issues affecting her fellow Woolwich residents.

Councillor Murray Martin introduced a Motion to accept the Staff Recommendation to hold a formal and extensive Appointments Process. He voted YES and did so without any explanation of his position. Larry Shantz followed him by voting YES also without explanation. Councillor Merlihan clearly explained why he felt that the best, least politicized move was to appoint the next runner-up Dr. Dan Holt. He therefore voted NO. Councillor Mark Bauman explained that he felt that the best decision for Woolwich was to vote NO and then appoint the next runner-up, Dr. Holt. Sandy Shantz as Chair broke the tie by voting YES, without any explanation.

The only surprise for several of us in the gallery was Mark Bauman voting NO along with Pat Merlihan. Then history and memory kicked in. This crap has happened before. In Council's In Camera meeting before they go public they claimed they were discussing an Ontario Municipal Board settlement. It is no difficult trick for even the dumbest of councillors to finish up the proper In Camera discussion and then go on to discussing another issue illegally in private (ie. in camera). This Council and others have been caught breaking Ontario law around In Camera meetings (Municipal Act) before and the most recent was only 2 1/2 years ago.

Setting up a phony vote ahead of time so as not to give the appearance that everybody on Council are against one councillor, Pat Merlihan, is child's play. In fact a few phone calls or e-mails prior to even the In Camera session would work just as well. I saw this done at the end of 2006 when the lame duck Council (after the election) gave the go ahead for the Jigs Hollow gravel pit. Losing Councillor Murray Martin changed his position and then voted against the proposal (Jigs Hollow Pit) knowing there was a majority vote in favour already. All of this is about Woolwich Councillors serving their own interests not the public's. Keep in mind that for the 2006 vote Councillor Mark Bauman had not yet (for years) revealed that he was in a conflict of interest position due to his relationship with Ray Kuntz, one of the proponents for the Jigs Hollow Pit. Mark voted in favour.

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