Election Campaign Promises Revisited

A new tab has been added at the top of the home page titled, Ask Council, that contains questions posed to members of council, both previously and currently, along with their answers, if there were any.

As mentioned in the burg watch’s questions ignored by members of council, not one member of the current council responded to or answered any of the questions.

Weren’t there promises of accountability, transparency and representing the electorate during the election campaign period?

A quick check of the River Town Times site confirmed campaign promises, in part, of then-candidates for Amherstburg council for 2014 – 2018 set out below.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo
A need for greater transparency, accountability and fixing the town’s finances are among the top priority for Aldo DiCarlo.

Deputy Mayor Bart DiPasquale
DiPasquale believes debate is a healthy part of the democratic process and that controversy arises when there is an appearance of ulterior motives or unfairness. “That’s when you get division,” he said. Transparency has to be there and be seen by the community, he added, though noting the town won’t be able to satisfy everyone.

Councillors

Joan Courtney
Open, free-flowing communication between council and administration will help address accountability and transparency concerns, she added.

Rick Fryer
Fryer wants to help put Amherstburg “back on track” and said it will be a black-and-white type of campaign, right from his platform to the colour of his election signs. He said that, if elected, he will provide black-and-white answers to questions that residents pose.

Jason Lavigne
Lavigne expects all candidates to be transparent, fiscally responsible and             accountable and added several of his ideas to achieve those goals, including having the budget process include a 5% reduction strategy.

Leo Meloche
While he is from McGregor, he said that he is interested in serving the entire community and not just be a representative from one section of it. Having lived in Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City earlier in his career, he said it has enabled him to look at things on a broader scale. “That’s what Amherstburg leaders need to be mindful of. It’s a big area, said Meloche. “There’s a broad range of residents to consider.”

Diane Pouget
Residents have to feel comfortable coming before council, she said. “We have to respect our residents. They are very concerned with the financial situation and rightly so. I believe we have to respect their opinions,” she said. “I know I learn a lot from our residents.”

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the burg watch is 4 years old

Commentary by Linda Saxon

Four years ago today, the burg watch started a permanent record of the performance of council members and staff; it was intended to be a reference for voters heading to the polls just in case some issues were not mentioned along with all the campaign promises.

In November 2011, some of the burg watch’s posts were about town council’s contravention of the Municipal Act following the Ombudsman Review Of Closed Meeting, council’s flip flops and a lack of commitment to accessibility, for example, the town’s website; I have raised awareness about it since September 2002 when a mandatory municipal annual accessibility plan had to be created.

In 2014, the burg watch provided an opportunity for residents to ask the candidates questions during the campaign period. Despite being threatened with legal action by a candidate, I continued and feel it was a worthwhile endeavour.

It has often been suggested that the naysayers should stop criticizing and offer constructive solutions, but I have repeatedly submitted solutions to no avail.

I have been subjected to insults and name calling and I continue to receive harsh criticism for raising certain issues, but I will continue in the spirit of freedom of expression.

Thank you to those who support the burg watch’s intentions.

the burg watch is 3 years old

Three years ago, the burg watch began chronicling how well the Mayor, Councillors, and staff performed; it was intended to be a reference for voters heading to the polls who would be inundated with campaign material.

In November 2011, the burg watch blogged about:

Amherstburg’s Mayor Wayne Hurst’s mention in a MACLEANS Magazine article, “Canada’s Lousy Mayors;

Council’s contravention of the Municipal Act following the Ombudsman Review Of Closed Meeting;

Difficulty with navigating the town’s web site, after having pointed out issues since 2002;

Council’s flip flops on:

  • its decision to allow a man convicted of sex crimes to purchase naming rights at the town’s new arena
  • the decision to install railings at the United Communities Credit Union Complex, which was expected to lose $895,000 by the end of December 2011
  • the recommendation to hire an engineer to investigate what caused more than 500 homes to flood during a severe storm in August.

Today, some issues remain unaddressed but there is a new council and hopefully, a new era in municipal politics. Not only has administration been uncivil and unwilling to provide access to information, but there has been an unprecedented amount of criticism directed toward those community residents who have exercised their democratic rights.

the burg watch has also received criticism for informing the public of certain issues and was threatened with legal action, but it will continue in the spirit of freedom of expression.

Councillor Davies On Her Performance

at the end of each year to date of this council’s term (2010 – 2014), all councillors were asked, “if any of you would care to provide a comment regarding how you think you have performed.”

at the end of year two Councillor Carolyn Davies emailed the following: (note: any spelling errors originated in Councillor Davies’ email)

“Thank you for your email  Dec 5/12.   As for your question on how do I think I have performed during the second year of my term is really not for me to answer but for the constituents to do so.  I understand that in a democracy everyone has a different view point, will interpret activities that come closest to their own understanding and needs.   As always, I am working consistently with my commitment to the consituents of Amherstburg. I want for other that which I would want for myself, fairness, justice and provide a voice to issues, if at all possible. I always look forward to what can be,   to what compromises can be made vs an either or and how we can move our community forward toward an improved quality of life and remain optimistic that a positive appoach will always provide more successful results. Regards, Carolyn Davies”