Jan 16, 2013- 2:17 PM
It is hard to understand what motivates Greater Sudbury’s council to make the decisions it does.
Regardless of what is reported in news by the auditor general’s office, even by the ombudsman, there seems to be little if any change to the way this council operates.
Moreover, there seems to be almost no awareness in council chambers of how this council is perceived by citizens, if not a complete lack of regard for that perception.
The actions and decisions of this council seem to further solidify that it will not be accountable to any party other than itself.
In the HCI or slush fund controversy, councillors are opting to further complicate this contentious issue by involving staff, adding administrative expenses to the handling of these funds.
Rather than heeding the opinion of the public and eliminating this basket of discretionary funds, council has decided that Greater Sudbury taxpayers should now incur increased costs so that councillors can continue to access these funds.
In response to the observations and comments made by the ombudsman, council has reacted with arrogance and verbal warfare.
Wholly unwilling to consider the opinions and comments of the “officer of fairness,” council has discussed eliminating this oversight, possibly replacing it with a private contract.
Again, in reaction to an opinion that opposes its own, this council is considering passing additional costs onto the taxpayer in hopes for more favourable oversight.
And, in the face of numerous audit reports that have pointed out glaring deficiencies and made numerous recommendations for efficiency in many city departments, most of which have been ignored and dismissed, council has shortened the leash of the city’s auditor general.
This, of course, is on the heels of a council-ordered external audit of the auditor general which came at the expense of taxpayers, but only proved that this office is providing a valuable service to the city.
Ignoring recommendations, or reacting with indifference and sometimes blatant insolence toward this office, council seems to be navigating toward a city without even this oversight.
Greater Sudbury has seen its name in headlines across the country numerous times in the last 24 months — not for our valuable mining industry, our diverse economy, or our beautiful landscape, but rather thanks to the numerous follies of our council.
This council seems determined not to answer to anyone but itself, as it continues to put controls in place that leave it, and the city’s management, almost dictatorial in nature.
Political activist Thomas Paine said, “A body of men holding themselves accountable to nobody ought not to be trusted by anybody.”
That is why this citizen is hoping for new blood in the 2014 election — candidates that recognize not just the privilege of the position, but also the responsibility to all of Greater Sudbury’s citizens that public office brings with it.