It’s interesting the only decision this council has made in the last two years that wasn’t subject to multiple deferrals, had to have a staff report requested, or was the subject of a protracted discussion, is one to dump the oversight of the ombudsman.
As I see it, this is the second time that this council has decided to try to erase the limited amount of transparency and accountability that exists at Tom Davies Square.
The first was their attempt to rein in and minimize the auditor general by putting him on a year-to-year contract.
Now they dump the ombudsman in favour of a contracted service owned and operated by a former City of Greater Sudbury Solicitor.
These decisions were made for one reason and one reason alone: to allow the council to control the degree and level of oversight their actions as a council will be subjected to.
From a spending perspective, they have traded a service provided by the province at no cost (the Ontario Ombudsman Office) and opted for a for hired contract service which, you guessed it, we the taxpayers will now have to pay for.
But what is really troubling about the decision to fire the ombudsman is that it was a well-orchestrated move on the part of the councillors to get what they wanted.
The whole thing took 15 minutes from start to finish.
It came off so smoothly, and without the usual deferrals or request for a staff report that has been the hallmark of this council’s decision making process, that one has to ask when the councillors got together to plan the removal of the ombudsman and replace him with someone they feel will be more sympathetic to their position on closed meetings.
I guess we may never know, because now our only recourse will be to complain to the consulting company that this council handpicked because of their “better understanding of municipal governance.”
In other words, they’re more likely to be sympathetic the councillors position.
If there was ever any doubt about who on this council stands for transparency and accountability, and who on this council stands for a sense of entitlement and backroom deals, you need look no further than last night’s vote.
Twelve councillors voted for their own best interests. Once again, a lone voice — the mayor — voted for the best interests of the taxpayers.
president, Greater Sudbury