Commentary by Linda Saxon
In May, Phipps confirmed he was leaving (The Windsor Star) before reaching the end of his two-year contract but said, “I feel an obligation to hang in there to see that the election is run properly and legally.” I do not recall any reports that any elections were not run properly and legally, nor do I recall that additional positions were needed to run an election. Besides, if the new CAO is capable, Phipps can leave; he has overstayed his welcome.
Too much emphasis has been placed on the ‘negative’ people in this community and the negative media coverage but when Phipps, as CAO, behaves in an antagonistic manner, how much negativity is created?
I posted Phipps’ email, “So by notice Ms Saxon, you will no longer have to deal with any “insolent” staff because you will deal with me only.”
Unless someone advises me that all the town hall staff have been let go and Phipps will do it all, I will contact whomever I wish and whenever I want to request information as a free citizen. As I advised Phipps and everyone on council, “historically, there has never been a requirement to provide a reasonable explanation for a request for information. However, if council has established a policy for how administration deals with requests, i am not aware of such a policy.”
No one is obliged to disclose any reason for a request, even when filing an official FOI request form, which is rarely necessary where information is freely available through an open and transparent policy. Oh, but the town has no such policy according to Phipps, “With respect to accountability and transparency, I believe the Town has done as much as is reasonably possible to ensure both. There are no written policies.”
Regardless of the decree, “We will not be providing you with hiring policies or the procurement of goods and services unless you can provide me with a reasonable explanation for the request,” my explanation is that i am a person with a disability and i wish to scrutinize my municipality’s policies.
Phipps’ iphone response was, “I will consider your request based on the limited info you have provided.”
As of January 1, 2008, S.270 of the Municipal Act required that municipalities adopt policies in each of the areas that I requested; Section 224 of the act explicitly includes accountability and transparency as part of the role of council.
I imagine the new council will be busy ensuring compliance with legislative requirements and hopefully establishing a policy for dealing with inquiries from the public that would include training in customer service. Phipps is, after all, a civil servant.