Now Eight Weeks Awaiting Answers On Amherst Namesake From Councillor Simone

Follow up emails have been sent to Councillor Simone, who has still not answered questions from March 16 as she said she would.

Following several media interviews about Amherstburg Councillor Simone’s Notice of Motion To Redefine Town Name, I sent questions on March 16, 2022, a phone message was left and another email was sent asking if there was a good time to call.

As of March 28, she “will review the questions and respond as soon as possible.”

Questions:

what prompted you to bring forward the notice of motion?

why is changing the town’s name “not feasible?” Specifically?

how is it possible that “Amherstburg is an inclusive community that recognizes the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all persons to live in a climate of understanding and mutual respect for the worth of each person, allowing them to contribute fully to the development and well-being of the community” if the town creates barriers to persons with disabilities? excludes persons with disabilities from decision-making?

did you consult any Indigenous people about your intention to denounce the town’s namesake?

did you consult any legislation about your intention to denounce the town’s namesake?

did you consider your terminology might be perceived to be downplayed?

why did you choose ‘controversial nature of this individual’ and ‘Amherst’s legacy is controversial’ when what actually occurred was atrocities and crime against humanity?

Feedback Wanted for the County’s 2023-2027 Multi-Year Accessibility Plan

Unlike Amherstburg, Essex County is allowing plenty of time for feedback – almost 7 weeks!  You have until June 30. Not days like Amherstburg and then it closed early.

The county’s administrative team and the Essex County Accessibility Advisory Committee will review the feedback received during the preparation of the 2023-2027 Multi-Year Accessibility Plan, which will then be presented to county council for final approval.

The Town of Amherstburg approved a DRAFT plan. Shameful.

 

Amherstburg Accessibility Advisory Committee Could Use Tips

I watched today’s rescheduled Amherstburg Accessibility Advisory Committee meeting.

Committee members still stray off topic, but did finally have a discussion regarding keeping track of money allocated to projects and decisions regarding the same. For quite some time I have wondered why resolutions were not passed and recorded in the minutes for reference. In the future, an unfinished list of sorts will be used. Why it took so long I have no idea, especially when a few members sit on other town committees.

I didn’t hear the committee members deal with an AODA Alliance tips for committee members that I forwarded through town clerk Valerie Critchley. I also sent it to members of council so they would be better informed; see below.

“This Update gives members of AACs and SEACs practical tips on how to give as strong a voice as possible to disability issues. We identify seven areas of concern and then provide a fuller explanation for each point below. In summary, here is what all members of AACs and SEACs should know:

1. AACs and SEACs should set their own meeting agendas! Don’t let city staff or school board staff set their advisory committee’s agenda or tell them what topics are “in order.”

2. Members of AACs and SEACs must remain free to also be disability advocates in private and public.

 3. Inaccessible virtual meeting platforms and application forms are not allowed.

 4. Public deputations to an advisory committee should not be artificially limited to five minutes.

 5. Municipal and school board bylaws cannot hog-tie the work of an AAC or SEAC.

 6. Members of the public are free to talk to or exchange emails with advisory committee members about accessibility issues, including those on the advisory committee’s agenda. (emphasized for council’s attention).

 7. AACs and SEACs have an absolute right to have their recommendations and advice shared directly with all the city council or school board trustees whom they are appointed to advise, and not just to a sub-committee.

Please share this Update with members of the AAC and SEAC in your community. Urge your member of city council and school board trustee to read this and to send it to all members of their AAC or SEAC.”

Lobbying in Amherstburg Part 2 THRIVE

There are no rules about lobbying in Amherstburg; the town did not enact a lobbyist registry.

THRIVE! Amherstburg was advertising for new members.

Is it a lobby group?

May 11, 2021, the Windsor Star reported, New lobby group aims at bettering Amherstburg; “We’ve told council we will be before them many times,” Peddie said. “We’re going to push them.”

RTT January 12, 2022 They reject the label “lobbyists,” instead preferring the view that THRIVE is “championing” initiatives for Amherstburg. 

What is “Lobbying”?

The municipality of Vaughn defines lobbying:

Any communication with a public office holder by an individual who represents a business or financial interest with the goal of trying to influence any legislative action, including, but not exclusively, development, introduction, passage, defeat, amendment or repeal of a bylaw, motion, resolution or the outcome of a decision on any matter before Council or a Committee of Council, or staff member acting under delegated authority.

Am I a lobbyist? Vaughn provides a quiz to find out; a flowchart can also be downloaded.

Does THRIVE charge a membership fee? 

Initially, membership fees were $50.00 for an individual.

According to the January 12, 2022 RTT article, membership is now free.

What is it? 

An October 13, 2021 Law Times News article featuring a $12000.00 donation by the Peddies to the Windsor Law Centre for Cities states, The centre has collaborated with Richard Peddie numerous times in the past, including by supporting the launch of Thrive Amherstburg, a placemaking council that he co-founded with Lauri Brouyette, a business developer.

Is it transparent?

People are encouraged to use the feedback form on the website. In October 2021, I submitted questions:

Does your organization not have an Accessibility Policy? A Conflict of Interest for Board Directors Policy? By-laws? Are you aware your website has some accessibility issues?

No responses were received.

A list of Board of Directors is posted, however, so people have the option of supporting/not supporting those involved if they wish.

A Look Back – Candidate Aldo DiCarlo on Time Commitment

From a reader in 2014:

Question For Mayoral Candidates: For our Mayoral candidates who have full time employment: How will you be able to put in the 40 or more hours required each week as Mayor of Amherstburg? Will you be at Town Hall every day? Will you get a leave-of-absence from your current employer?

2014 then-candidate Aldo DiCarlo

I have checked into this to see if I could find a reference for the question. I could not find any job description for the mayor of Amherstburg or any reference to a 40 hour work week. The job for mayor of Amherstburg is still listed as a part time job, as it is in all the other municipalities in Essex County, except for Windsor. I do not believe that this election is about a debate for a full time or part time mayor’s position. This election is about deciding who the most qualified individual is for mayor, not the one with the most availability. I investigated further, by speaking with several past CAO’s, council members and staff from the Town, and they all agreed that if the job of mayor is done by a competent individual with skills in delegating, personnel and finance, there should be no need to have a full time mayor. This is a good thing since we can’t really afford one right now, nor can I afford to leave my full time employment and support my family. It would be unfortunate for Amherstburg if we started to limit the candidates for mayor to retirees or people of wealth. I do not believe that the mayor should be doing everything. The work should be distributed amongst the councillors, the deputy mayor, and administration. This develops cooperation, transparency, accountability and a positive work environment, regardless of how much time the mayor has to dedicate to the job. That said, I have a full time job with flexibility and I intend to put in whatever amount of hours is necessary to get Amherstburg back into a positive position. Whether that time is in Town Hall, in my home or in someone else’s home, I can’t say right now. I will say that I can do it more efficiently and more productively than it was done, at least by those on council in the past 4 years.

Amherstburg Vote 2022

A Look Back – Candidate Aldo DiCarlo on Bankruptcy Declaration?

From a reader in 2014:

Question 40. Have you ever been personally declared bankrupt or been in a position of authority of a business that has been declared bankrupt? Do you feel a bankruptcy declaration precludes candidates from running for municipal office?

2014 then-candidate Aldo DiCarlo

I have never been personally declared bankrupt, nor have I been in a position of authority of a business that has declared bankruptcy.

Personally, I do not feel a bankruptcy declaration should preclude candidates from running for municipal office, on its own. A candidate’s attribute’s should be looked at as a whole. Although a candidate may have financial management issues, they may excel in other attributes that would help, especially as only one member of a council. The most effective council is one that has a balance of different talents. Not every person has to have every qualification, as long as on a whole, the council can deal with everything.

Amherstburg Vote 2022

A Look Back – Candidate Aldo DiCarlo on Continue To Pay CAO Phipps

From a reader in 2014:

Question 39. What I’m looking for here is a straight forward yes or no answer with your reasons why? Do not want a politically correct answer from someone pursuing a seat and trying not to offend anyone but also at the same time, not answering the question. There have been many of the candidates who have mentioned the 41 items or areas of concern brought forward from the Deloitte review. Are these not 41 issues of concern that have happened under our present CAO/consultant? This is a person hired because of his experience and knowledge of municipal procedures. Is this the same person we want teaching our new CAO? How long do we continue to pay Mr. Phipps once the new CAO comes on board? Either yes you want him to stay on or no, you do not see the need? Your reasons are?

2014 then-candidate Aldo DiCarlo

I believe my answer to question 34 should satisfy the reader. If not, please feel free to contact me.

Amherstburg Vote 2022

A Look Back – Candidate Aldo DiCarlo on Influential Citizens’ Requests

From a reader in 2014:

Question 38. There seems to be special considerations given to certain influential citizens that over ride the concerns of the average citizen. Bylaws were not always supported if special interest individuals sought to get exemptions to pursue projects that were not supported by those affected. What would your approach be to favours requested by wealthy, influential citizens over the average citizen?

2014 then-candidate Aldo DiCarlo

My approach would be the same, regardless of who I am dealing with. Policies and procedures. Transparency and accountability. Applied equally to all tax payers, without discrimination. Develop new policies and procedures with the new council, the administration and with public input. Make sure everyone understands them. Make sure everyone follows them. Make sure everyone reports on them. It is very easy when everyone does what they are supposed to, starting at the top.

Amherstburg Vote 2022

A Look Back – Candidate Aldo DiCarlo on Mr. Marion Hired To Run Election

From a reader in 2014:

Question 37. Has anyone received their voting sheet from the town in the mail yet? It is only weeks away and no one has? The Town after hiring another bureaucrat under contract, one Mr. Marion to run our election as far as administration responsibilities is now blaming Canada Post for this screw up. The Town simply forgot to mail them out! This is just another example of our administration doing what they want with no council awareness or approval and costing us more money. How will you end such blatant incompetence and get the new council back to running this town?

2014 then-candidate Aldo DiCarlo

This question begs many answers. I have not received my voter registration card yet. Perhaps Town Hall doesn’t want me to vote for change? I have been told that Mr. Marion has a lot of past experience and is quite competent as a Clerk. The question I have is, “Why did we have to hire another Clerk to do the Clerk’s job?” Perhaps I should ask why the full time Town Clerk wasn’t capable of running the election? The answer is clear job descriptions, policies, procedures and hiring practices. I’m sure there’s more that can be done, but I stand by what I’m campaigning on. It’s time to create some policies and procedures that will actually provide transparency and accountability, not pretend they already exist. If they do exist, why is no one following them? If they are following them, why do the citizens continue to receive no answers or progress?

Amherstburg Vote 2022