The death of trust in Guelph politics

Looking back at the 2006 election campaign in which Karen Farbridge’s favourite talking point was “putting Guelph back on track”. She also emphasized that transparency and public input would be hallmarks of her administration.

Most voters liked what they heard.

The truth evolved that the Farbridge administration does not operate in a transparent fashion. Too much of the city’s business is conducted behind closed doors before regular council meetings. The secret “pink sheets” directing the council meeting agenda are distributed to councillors before each meeting. Sandwiches are consumed during closed-door deliberations to sharpen the party line.

Truth left this administration some time ago. Hired gun communicators spin the message from City Hall to sooth the madding crowd from getting antsy. Statements are often flabby, filled with omissions, sometimes incoherent and always spouting the Farbridge party line.

It is mindful of Alfred P. Neumann of Mad magazine fame: “What me worry?”

If one pays attention to the City Hall handouts, you would believe that Guelph is the paradise capital of Canada.

Flash! It isn’t and the tactics of this administration contribute to a false portrait that has closed off growth of business, stifled opposing comment, mismanaged finances and created an atmosphere of dysfunction among city staff.

It took only five years for transparency and trust to die in City Hall.

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