[Anger is NOT a strategy; it is an emotion]
A small group of individuals on the present Brampton City Council and a writer attempting create self fame have run rough-shot over Brampton for the past two years. Each of us (ordinary voters) will always have suspicions about government (no matter what the level).
I write often about city (local) government because I happen to believe that, of the three levels, municipal government can be argued to be the most important to YOU – the tax payer.
The Federal and Provincial governments levy taxes. First, they tax us on what we earn by way of income tax deductions off our pay cheques. They then tax us on what we spend by way of sales taxes. But there is a third tax that is then levied on the property owners in any municipality. That final level of tax charged is based on what we own – our most expensive and valuable asset – our homes.
In a place such as Brampton, the City revenues flow from three main sources: residential property tax, commercial industrial property tax and fees charge for land being developed (for either of the other two). Additional revenue sources in the form of grants from either of the two senior government levels (Federal and Provincial) are less predictable and are typically project driven for such things as specific infrastructure items.
Like everyone else, I deplore waste especially waste of my hard earned tax dollars. On the other hand, I recognize that waste always will occur by way of human error. After all, we are all human. In the various construction projects that I did, I am certain that I too made errors that resulted in wastage. I know of no construction firm that scours the site of a new subdivision under construction and picks up fallen nails. They probably should, but do not.
I am a “glass-half-full” type of person like most of you. I long ago recognized that, as people we learn much more from our failures than from our victories. It’s called trial and error and has long been heralded as one of the main learning experiences in all scientific progress and inventions.
Am I especially “bothered” by the Deloitte report and the fact that the Mayor broke spending rules by way of flight passes? Of course I am! As a former business executive and frequent business traveler I never would have even considered the purchase of bulk airline tickets and doubt that the German corporate office would have put up with such a suggestion. But, times change. My own inherent skepticism is that the airlines are in business to make profit and thus, there is usually a sharp fish-hook behind every juicy bit of bait.
It would be petty and wrong to toss out a Mayor who (time after time) exceeds in an area much more important than expense reporting. I speak specifically about “value for money”. Fennell’s sense of service to Brampton is unending. Business executive and community leaders from outside of Brampton know Susan Fennell as an unrelenting champion for growth and well being of her home town.
There are warts (issues) with every single person serving at all levels of government. When I look at the ballot I am about to cast, it is obvious that there are major enough faults and weaknesses among each of Fennell’s opponents for Mayor. In some cases, there are even a few “opportunists” seeking office who lack academic ability or first hand –high level business acumen to deserve my trust (in the form of a vote) for such a key position as Mayor.
Vote for the right reasons on Election Day. Anger is an emotion; it (anger) is not a strategy in any part of life. I will be looking at the capabilities of candidates based upon their accomplishments and their potential – not because they screwed up once or twice on an expense report.
Sadly, there is a noisy element among my fellow residents that is quite prepared to have the hanging in the morning and then conduct the trial after lunch.
I have read and prepared more than my share of financial reports – some in multiple currencies. The “words” forensic audit seems to fan the flame of anger. Most professionals in the field of accounting treat it quite differently. From the Deloitte report, I discern failures of a control mechanism rather than a moral failing of Fennell. Thus, council (on outside legal advice) determined to employ independent dispute resolution before recollecting suspected over payments from the various council members.
Consider this also before reacting and voting from emotion. The amount of undeveloped land with the boundaries is not infinite. Zonings and use designations get overturned regularly at the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). Developers (who have gobbled up much of the undeveloped lands) are interested in maximizing their own profit on their holdings. Their decisions to pursue redesignation from commercial/industrial (employment land) to residential use (more urban sprawl) are based solely on demand. Fortunately, some communities are fortunate enough to have a highly respected public servant like Fennell who’s name and reputation in business circles leads businesses such as Canon, Coca-Cola, Air Canada and so many others to invest in your town. In so doing, they are reducing the property tax burden on home owners. (Hint: businesses do not use parks, libraries or schools).
Remember: “Anger is NEVER a strategy, anger is an emotion.” Set the anger aside and THINK about the future of your “home town”. Fennell is the best choice and perhaps by tossing out a dysfunctional council, this town will continue on a good path.