By Gerry Barker
Posted February 23, 2016
Robert Swayze, the Caledon lawyer hired five years ago by the Farbridge administration, walks into retirement proclaiming that in the last two years, he received no complaints about council.
Swayze was paid an annual retainer of $5,000 as watchdog of members of council to behave and not breach the councillor’s Code of Conduct. In addition, when he was consulted by the city clerk or received an official complaint, his hourly rate was $245 an hour.
With no complaints in 2015, Swayze collected an additional $6,174 for 25.2 hours consulting with the city staff.
“The current council deserves congratulations for compliance with the Code of Conduct and displaying accountability and transparency in carrying out their duties.” Swayze stated in his final report to council.
Well, I guess that Mr. Swayze did not analyze the incident of January 25 when five councillors refused to participate in a regular council meeting that had to be cancelled due to an apparent lack of a quorum.
Tell us Mr. Swayze where this overt obstructionist action fits into the Code of Conduct? How does it meet your standard of accountability and transparency?
Oh! We forgot it happened a month before your contract expired.
There is no doubt that City Clerk Stephen O’Brien discussed this with you and how much did that cost and what was the outcome? Apparently you admitted there were two consultive engagements regarding two members of council of “confidential matters.”
How does that square with your confusing admiration of the present dysfunctional council and your claim that city council has displayed “accountability and transparency in carrying out their duties.”
This integrity job was created to thwart any member of council of any attempt to question, protest or object. For nine years, supporters of the previous mayor, dominated city council.
Your job ranks right up there with that held by Andy Best, general manager of the Open Government initiative that was created by, Tah Dah! The Farbridge administration. This $92,000 a year job was given, without competition, to Farbridge supporter Best last July.
In nine months on the job, Best has failed to create a real, honest plan to create a government that is truly open and transparent. In addition, the council approved spending $267,000 in the 2016 budget on a 7 to 6 vote, to perpetuate the program that has accomplished little in three years since inception.
This city doesn’t need an integrity commissioner; it needs integrity to be practised by the administration.
Citizens have been subjected to political actions that defy explanation, let alone financial accountability.
There is a simple way to effect change and fiscal responsibility. Hire a Chief Financial Officer and a new Chief Administration Officer. That will commence the changes that must come to clean up the debris left by the previous administration.