If citizens ever need another example of sleaze in city politics, look no further than the firing of Coun. Gloria Kovach off the Guelph Police Services board.
Ms. Kovach, a senior member of city council and veteran of serving on the police board for seven years, was the victim of a heartless and vengeful coup orchestrated by Coun. Leanne Piper.
Coun. Kovach has been an outspoken critic of the Farbridge administration and this was the classic set-up to seek revenge and put her in her place.
Kovach was voted off the board by an 8 to 5 margin. As usual the eight Farbridge supporters lined up to support their ambitious colleague.
Surprise! Then they voted by the same 8 to 5 margin to appoint Coun. Piper to the police services board.
This comes on the heels of the compost plant debacle in which $32 million has been spent to build a wet waste facility that is still stinking up the neighbourhood.
More surprising is the role of rookie Coun. Todd Dennis in the past year. After being elected on the promise to control finances, reduce taxes and promote construction of the south end recreation centre, he folded like a cheap tent.
Dennis, along with his ward six colleague, Karl Wettstein, has meekly gone along with the Farbridge majority. He was seduced by newfound power and nurtured by the Mayor with the promise of a committee chairmanship. Neither ward six councillors dance to the Farbridge agenda like puppets on a string.
This was a planned dénouement of a popular and proficient councillor. It is the worst kind of sleaze politics that doesn’t belong in our civic government. It was done with full knowledge of the Mayor who controls all appointments to committees, boards and commissions.
Coun. Piper’s naked ambition to seize power is mindful of her promoting moving the Guelph civic Museum to the derelict Loretto Convent. She convinced council to preserve a pre-confederation heritage building that was slated by the owner for demolition. Now, almost five years later at a cost of some $16 million, the project is still not open. Any resemblance of the original heritage building has been destroyed with 21st century architectural add-ons.
Piper manipulated her colleagues by claiming that Coun. Kovach was only appointed in January for a one-year term, not the usual four years.
Coun. Jim Furfaro showed a page from the minutes that proved the reappointment of Coun. Kovach was for a four term and was approved by council. That did not deter Coun. Piper and the Farbridge cronies from dumping Coun. Kovach.
This single event should be remembered as an example of how the city is administered by a controlling group of councillors who will stop at nothing to satisfy their personal agendas and egos.
Here are the names of those councillors who courageously voted against this egregious power play: Bob Bell, Jim Furfaro, Cam Guthrie, Andy Van Hellemond and Gloria Kovach.
Remember those names October 2014. Then voters can elect principled candidates who will represent taxpayer interests in a fair and equitable manner.