[Self appointed Vigilantes are Costing us Millions]
Yet another audit on a City Hall construction project has just produced nothing substantive. We (taxpayers) have just been forced to spend another $160,000 to satisfy the constant carping of a small group of NEVER elected individuals. This is unfair to the rest of us that a small/noisy faction can inflict such waste of tax dollars.
Interim Auditor and renowned municipal law expert, George Rust D’Eye just handed over a 134 page report that thoroughly exonerates the Corporation of the City of Brampton from any wrong doing on its “competitive bid process”. Hopefully the faction of the present city council that persists on what is turning into a very expensive witch hunt can finally turn a page on this process. Cumulatively, the protestations of these few council members are creating an unnecessary burden on the municipal tax payers. Moreover, this continuous inquisition is playing hell with staff morale and casting a damaging picture of this city’s business reputation.
I tend to downplay the musings of an accountant who made submissions to Rust D’Eye. Her concern that value for money had not been achieved by way of a lease versus purchase decision. Given that we have just read about under-funding of reserve accounts, I subscribe to Rust D’Eye’s decision to downplay this particular accountant’s opinions. When one has money, the choice to purchase or lease is always an easy choice. Such is apparently not the case in Brampton. Many of my friends have leased automobiles for much the same reasons.
I could (but won’t) point fingers at elected officials who permit their personal likes/dislikes to cast undue influence on their official duties. That there is a law suit pending (in the amount of $27 million) by disqualified bidder (the Inzola group) is public record. It is most troubling that a couple members of the present City Council appear to be working at cross purposes to the best interest of tax payers of Brampton. Fact: there is a civil suit underway. As it stands, the result of the suit will have zero financial impact on the City or the taxpayers. Despite the fact that those involved in elected capacities are VERY well aware that lawyers acting on behalf of Brampton have have repeatedly asked council to do or say nothing that would jeopardize Brampton’s defense, it is downright dumb for this couple of Council members to constantly attempt to unearth non-facts as would only aid the other party in the legal action.
Having made several inquiries, I am fairly confident that tax payers of Brampton do not stand to lose one dollar even if Inzola would be successful in the legal case. The City, some time ago secured insurance indemnity to protect all of us from such litigation. The full cost of legal defense in this court action is underwritten by the insurance company. Moreover, should Inzola manage to win the suit, the insurance company would foot the full amount of the suit. In reading the statement of defense filed in response to Inzola’s legal pleadings together with George Rust D’Eye’s report, I would hazard a guess for the Titanic docking in New York City in the next 12 months would be more probable than Inzola succeeding.
What I do not “get” is the fact that Rust D’Eye’s report revealed some serious issues concerning at least two council members. Rust D’Eye points out in his report that councilor Moore attempted, on behalf of Inzola to negotiate a presentation by Inzola to council before the contract had been let despite clear rules restricting such a dialogue.
Moreover, there are very nagging issues in all of this. First, we seem to learn so little from history –especially history in nearby Toronto where interference in a bid to supply computer equipment gave rise to a scandal that would make the Brampton Council’s infamous expense scandal look like chump change. That councilor Moore, an old hand would become involved in an attempt to circumvent rules is “odd”.
Moreover, out of all the members of Brampton City Council, it is only Moore and colleague John Sprovieri who made presentations to Rust D’Eye while only a week ago; Sprovieri was championing the idea of firing Rust D’Eye.
For everyone’s information, here is the score on these costly witch hunts. The Integrity Commissioner cleared Mayor Fennell of any wrong doing on the South West Quadrant (New City Hall expansion); next, the audit firm Deloitte was handed another expensive contract in hopes of discrediting Mayor Fennell based on alleged expense fraud. Deloitte came up with two single instances where up-graded flight tickets had been used. Those two events happened four years earlier and had little or nothing to do with the allegations that expense accounts had been misused in amounts into the hundreds of thousands of dollars as was widely published. Fennell promptly paid the $3000 back. Issue closed? Hardly. Next, the OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) were asked to investigate the same items covered by the Deloitte audit. The findings? Fennell was found to be squeaky clean by the cops. The intrepid team of inquisitors then pushed emergency measures through council (by way of panic and frenzy)to hire George Rust D’Eye. The same hiring was sponsored in City Council at the behest of Councilors Sprovieri and Moore. Of course, any hopeful wrong doings by staff would have lent valid arguments to settling the Inzola ($28 million) law suit out of court.
We fail badly as individuals and as governments when we choose to ignore history. The mind turns to Toronto’s infamous MFP computer scandal that filled the media with never proved stories of envelopes of money being handed over in an underground parking garage by the brother of Toronto Maple Leaf hockey player Tie Domi. The alleged donor of the cash stuffed envelope was Dash Domi and the unlikely recipient was Councilor Tom Jakobek who probably had access to more personal wealth than any other three or four members of council of the day. As is the case of Mayor Fennell, Tom Jakobek was adjudicated guilty by the media long before the inquiry was actually conduced in 2004. A brilliant career in public service had been snuffed based largely on hearsay and a time stamped parking garage voucher.
The real evidence in the Brampton case is never discussed. Things like the addition of Cannon Canada’s head office and the gigantic Amazon Canada complex would be crowning jewels in the resume of any mayor anywhere else in Canada. Unfortunately, the media, in Fennell’s case would not permit facts to get in the way of a good story. Fennell lost the election and a job she loved and excelled at. On her way out the door, despite the findings of Deloitte and the OPP, the team of inquisitors on the council decided to simply dock her accumulated termination pay and, that in turn will most likely result in yet another black eye for the Council when/if a pending judicial review likely will determine that council over-reached its statutory authority by docking the pay.
There you have it, fellow tax payers; another expensive inquisition paid for by you and me. A quest to find fault where apparently there is/was none has also come off the tracks. What’s next? We have endured hundreds of thousands of tax dollars being frittered away because of persistent nattering of a cadre of self appointed vigilantes who constantly delegate to City Council making spurious allegations resulting in a tiresome (and very costly) parade of consultants, accountants, lawyers et al carrying out inquisition based upon the suspicious imaginations of a small group of people who never once have been elected to public office. One must ask the obvious question: aside from their own desire to be seen or heard; on who’s authority are these folks acting? I do not recall EVER asking this gaggle of malcontents to represent me or inflict the constant drain of public funds to satisfy their insane quest for self recognition. Enough is enough. Take a valium. Chill out. Get a real job and stop pretending that you have been elected. Next election in 2018 and it is way too early to be campaigning now.
Copyright Thunderbird Rising 2015
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