Deputy Mayor Gibb’s Flip Flop On Council’s Direction

Deputy Mayor Gibb was given council’s direction, made no objection, said ‘we will do our best’ but then didn’t second Mayor Prue’s motion at a county council meeting.

The December 5, 2022 motion, by Councillor Pouget, carried was: to request that our mayor and deputy mayor address county council at their next meeting regarding County Council’s proposed 2023 budget with a 4.76% tax increase. Pouget explained, this is more than double the 2022’s increase of 2.1% and includes the use of 31 million from reserve funds to offset the increase. 

Mayor Prue said, we don’t need to be instructed but I don’t have any problem with being instructed by council.

Deputy Mayor Gibb said he agreed with the mayor, and said ‘we will do our best.’ (emphasis added). He also mentioned, the one thing I’m going to suggest is the county has quite a bit of reserve funds so perhaps we can release more reserves funds that might be a higher and better use to use them in a time of hyperinflation.

Listen to the December 5 motion and discussion: audio:

February 27, 2023 follow up: Pouget asked Gibb, why didn’t you second our mayor’s motion? That’s what you were directed to do.

Gibb said in his opinion, that’s not the way to lower taxes is to let your roads get worse because it’s just going to cost you more in the future. So, at the end of the day, they brought down the tax rate by using reserves that they had prudently put aside to do just that. I don’t see why you would spend less money on roads today, so that you have to spend double or triple in three or four years down the road that makes no fiscal sense to me. So on that specific issue, that’s why I didn’t support the mayor’s motion. (emphasis added).

Was Gibb clear about whose motion it was? Pouget said, it wasn’t the mayor’s motion, it was our motion, but Gibb answered, Your motion is fine, but ..

Listen to the February 27 motion and discussion: audio

Councillor Crain’s Flip Flop On Open Air Barriers

@LindenCrain, remember this campaign question? Will you remove barriers during Open Air weekends that block people with disabilities from driving to the bank, local stores, bars, and generally driving through town?

Crain’s answer: “Yes. It is important that all members of the community can experience Open Air.”

Well now I can’t.

Remember these questions?

how will you fulfill the obligation to remove barriers?

Crain’s answers, in part:

  • Follow regulations outlined in the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. 
  • Always remain available to address concerns any resident faces in the Town of Amherstburg.
  • Work closely with Town Administration to establish procedures and measures that ensure those with disabilities have the opportunity to experience all our community has to offer.

Did Councillor McArthur Flip Flop on Accessibility?

I’m calling Councillor McArthur’s attitude about accessibility issues a flip flop.

Councillor McArthur commented during the discussion of Councillor Pouget’s December 12, 2022 motion regarding accounts payable being placed back on public agendas. McArthur said he would caution against one option because that’s kind of circumventing accessibility provisions. He said if it’s important information that’s important to get out there, then it’s important for everybody and it needs to be accessible. He said they can’t do an end run around it.

So why did he remain silent on the issue of Open Air barriers and the removal of them? It’s especially concerning since he’s council’s rep to the Amherstburg Accessibility Advisory Committee.

Then-Councillor Now Mayor Prue On Gordon House Accessibility

This is what I call a flip flop. Then-Councillor Prue spoke about the Gordon House not being accessible, campaigned to ensure all town buildings are accessible to facilitate an open and inclusive municipality, then agreed the Gordon House should be repaired – not a word about accessibility during that discussion. No answer to a question about it either. 

Then-Councillor Prue made these comments at a December 2021 council meeting:

very brief questions, the act, the Ontarians with Disability Act, is nearly 20 years old, and January 1, 2025 everything’s supposed to be in place and I’m just wondering, do we have time or what are the plans for this year we’re going to be at 2022, what are the plans for this year for the buildings that are not accessible? This one is not accessible. The tourist facility at the Gordon house is not accessible. The two that come immediately to my head these are big capital expenditures or maybe we have to move I don’t know but have we got time to do it? Are you putting Are you going to recommend a lot of money for this year or possibly next year’s budget because a fair amount is going to have to be spent because we can’t wait any longer. (emphasis added). (audio

January 2022, then-councillor Prue commented:

I don’t know that we have not done everything as a council we should have done to help the many people who live in Amherstburg to have accessibility to our town and to its services. I’ve said this to council before I was the initial speaker in the legislature on this and I was very unappreciative of the fact it was taking 21 years to come to fruition, but that’s about to happen now.

2022 Campaign website Prue working for you: Priorities included Ensure all town buildings are accessible to facilitate an open and inclusive municipality.

February 12, 2023 Email to all members of council when agenda was published:

it’s hard to rationalize the grant application to spruce up the Gordon House. ‘Inclusive’ and ‘diverse’ seem to be the newest buzz words, but we can’t be an inclusive, welcoming community if we exclude people with disabilities. why is the tourism department not based in the tourist booth on the highway where the building is actually welcoming without barriers? will heritage once again take precedence over accessibility?

February 13, 2023 Mayor Prue commented during the discussion of grants, including funding for the Gordon House to complete the painting and siding, install a storage shed and replace windows.

any other discussion? Seeing none I’ll pass the gavel just for a second. I’m going to vote with the recommendation that’s just been made because this I have never been on this council or seen anybody on this council even in the past look away from money that a senior level of government is going to give to the municipality. This does not bind us to anything. If they want to give us 50 or $100,000 or whatever it is, I think we should take it. You know we have the Gordon house is the oldest building. It’s in need of some structural repair. For sure we need an economic development slash communications officer. And if this helps us to move along, then I think we should and I’ll take the gavel back. Any other discussion? All those in favor? Opposed? Carries. (emphasis added).

February 15, 2023 Email to all members of council after the vote:

i predicted council would confirm the importance of the Gordon House, but i would still appreciate an answer to my question: why is the tourism department not based in the tourist booth on the highway?

Councillor Crain: Tourism Windsor-Essex operates the tourism booth during the summer months as an information centre.

The burg watch: thanks, but that doesn’t answer my question.

Copyright – this information is protected by Canada’s Copyright Act. Request written permission from the burg watch at gmail dot com.

Disclaimer: the information is presented as is according to my notes. videos are available at the town’s website.

Flip Flops

I’ve added a new flip flops page to the blog so there is a record of who flip flops and on what issues. I started this blog eleven years ago as a resource for voters because time passes and during campaigns, the focus on positivity seems to overshadow the perceived negativity.

Phipps Flip Flops – Will The Town Pay Two CAOs?

On May 9, 2014, Mary Caton reported in The Windsor Star that Amherstburg CAO Mike Phipps confirmed Friday that he intends to leave his position before reaching the end of his two-year contract with the town. “I am meeting with council shortly because we’ve got to get a plan in place,” he said. Phipps said he intends to see the town through the impending municipal election and municipal review. “I feel an obligation to hang in there,” he said. “To see that the election is run properly and legally.”

The town advertised for a new CAO and invited applicants to submit a resume by June 30.

In a July 16 Windsor Star article, Phipps said he’s staying put. Candidates for the position are undergoing a council approved vetting process that includes a five-member panel made up of Phipps, human resources manager Michelle Rose, another county CAO that Phipps wouldn’t identify, a “fairly senior” local business leader and a resident.

Why was a panel needed? How was the panel selected? What are the members’ qualifications? Was there an Information and Privacy Commissioner privacy assessment, considering residents are panel members who will access personal information?

The article ends with a quote from Phipps: “So we thought, if we can get the right person that at least this council is satisfied with … I have faith we’ll get the right person,” he said.

Who is “we?” Has Council agreed to rescind his notice to leave plus hire a new CAO?

Commentary by Linda Saxon

Financial Audit Converted To Review Raises Questions

In a November 20, 2013 Windsor Star article, Julie Kotsis reported Hurst cast the deciding vote to oppose the motion to request an independent audit and called it the beginning of the “silly season” noting that an election was coming up next year.

At its January 20, 2014 town council meeting, a unanimous motion was carried to ask the ministry for an audit. According to The Windsor Star, Councillor Diane Pouget said she called the ministry as well and was told “it is council’s responsibility to request this audit.”

Phipps’ March 21, 2014 Report To Council included a recommendation that,Council approve, in principle, moving forward with the Financial Management and Practices Review for the Town of Amherstburg with the costs of the Review being borne by the municipality. Council unanimously agreed.

According to a July 17, 2014 Windsor Star article, Pouget said, “We need an in depth investigation of what happened to that money (that was moved from reserve and other dedicated accounts) and how it got moved and who moved it. We need answers and I would have never agreed to spend $100,000 just to review policies and procedures and to tell us how to do something better.”

Tourist Booth Band-aid

During 2014 budget deliberations, council considered closing the north end tourist booth and redirecting tourists to the Gordon House, an idea that had been considered in the past. However, council subsequently agreed to $8000.00 from TWEPI (Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island) to cover seasonal staffing for a one-year pilot project.

Who will step in and save the booth next year, or the following years if the next council decides taxpayers can ill afford to keep it open?

Residents watched the tourist booth transform from a utilitarian centre to one that included a new fountain, gazebo, stonework planters, trees and the ridiculous two approaches to its entrance – could universal access, or one approach, have saved $8000.00?

Community Adjustment Fund (CAF) Program

As announced on January 27, 2009 as part of the government’s Economic Action Plan, the Community Adjustment Fund (CAF) is providing $1 billion across the country to help create jobs and employment opportunities in communities affected by the global recession.

According to Jeff Watson’s facebook page, “Amherstburg’s $11.265 million CAF grant was the largest in Canada and has helped the town re-invent itself after major industrial closures over the past decade. Amherstburg’s contribution was only $585,000.

We cut the ribbon on the completely reconstructed Laird Avenue in front of Wigle Park. Project components also included bus lay-by’s for General Amherst HS and new crosswalk for pedestrian and student safety, and a completely new North gateway entrance at the community’s tourism information booth.”


Council Flip Flops – Ministry of Municipal Affairs to Audit Aburg’s Finances

according to the November 20, 2013 Windsor Star, Julie Kotsis reported Amherstburg Town Council was split over the need for further financial auditing. Councillor DiPasquale’s motion to request an independent audit of the town’s financials was defeated as follows-

AGAINST: Councillors John Sutton, Carolyn Davies and Bob Pillon

FOR: Deputy Mayor Ron Sutherland, Councillors DiPasquale and Pouget

Hurst cast the deciding vote to oppose and called it the beginning of the “silly season” noting that an election was coming up next year.

At its January 20, 2014 town council meeting, a unanimous motion was carried to ask the ministry for an audit. Sutton is quoted in The Windsor Star, “I agree wholeheartedly that a more thorough investigation should be done … I totally agree that has to be 100 per cent public. “There can’t be anything hidden.”

De railed

At the April 18, 2011 Council Meeting, Council directed Administration to proceed with installation of the hand railings in Rink A of the United Communities Credit Union for a cost of no more than $4,000.00.

However, rails will not be installed; The Amherstburg Echo quoted Rick Daly, “Installing these railings as directed would put the town in violation of the Ontario Building Code as well as the Ontario Fire Code.”