Posted November 6, 2014
Mayor-elect Cam Guthrie is on the money with his declaration to collect more than $5.25 million of unpaid fines still owed the city since the end of 2013. The original amount owed was $12.9 million involving 33,000 cases. Some $7.7 million was written off by the Farbridge administration as being older that six years and judged uncollectable.
Coun. Leanne Piper supports the Guthrie proposal to hire a collection agency.
“We absolutely should pursue this,” she said. Then added that it will be challenging until Ontario municipalities get more legislative clout.
It begs the question: Why in the past eight years did the Farbridge administration, of which Ms. Piper was a member, not aggressively go after these scofflaws and deadbeats?
It seems an egregious excuse by Ms. Piper to shift the blame for not doing council’s work onto the provincial government. There was nothing to prevent the Farbridge administration from hiring a collection agency to collect some $12.9 million in unpaid fines. Yet Farbridge regime survivor Piper glosses over that, shifting the blame for lack of collection onto the province.
It has become a familiar tactic of the now defunct Farbridge administration to shove the blame for its own shortcomings onto someone else. The Urbacon case was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The administration blamed long-departed CAO Hans Loewig for firing Urbacon, the former new city hall contractor. The final count of the cost of that disastrous decision remains to be uncovered.
It will take an independent audit of the city’s finances to uncover the real costs of that misadventure plus a host of other secret and dubious projects of which the public has little or no knowledge. The annual audit by Deloitte and Touche is not a deep dive audit. That means there is a contract that outlines parameters of the annual audit that is required by provincial legislation. It does not examine expenditures below a certain figure. It is believed that figure is $300,000.
In a post election statement, Ms. Piper declared that the ‘progressives’ still had control of the council because they elected seven councillors. She fails to understand that the people voted against bloc control of council. After eight years, voters rejected council domination by the Farbridge adherents when Cam Guthrie defeated the three-term mayor.
This premature remark bespoke of the Farbridge cohort’s attempt to keep control of the council and the city, to extend the legacy of a defeated mayor and some of her colleagues.
It could turn out that the Piper coalition of ‘progressives’ may not be as solid as she would like to think.
This is a new and quite different council. It must be given the opportunity to function without partisan sniping or obstruction. The new mayor will bring several important measures to the table, reflecting the majority views of the 19,672 citizens who voted for him.
This election was about change and that’s what the people voted for.
The vast majority of electors did not vote for another four years of bloc-voting on council. The sooner Ms. Piper and her fellow travellers realize that, this city will be well served by a council composed of responsible and dedicated members, of all political stripes, answerable to the people.
Letting the sunshine into 1 Carden Street will be liberating for all.