Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Regional Chair on Governance

The following is a response to Peter Conradi of Bullet News Niagara's ninety minute one-on-one interview with Niagara Regional Chairman Gary Burroughs: http://www.bulletnewsniagara.ca/2012/12/21/one-on-one-with-regional-chairman-gary-burroughsim-a-one-niagara-fan-but-i-do-not-favour-one-city/

Dear Peter Conradi of Bullet News Niagara,

Thank you for your very enlightening interview with Niagara Regional Chairman Gary Burroughs. It certainly is a great follow-up to the ‘F for Failing’ article as follows: http://www.bulletnewsniagara.ca/2012/09/21/column-give-niagara-regional-councillors-a-big-f-for-failing-once-again-to-talk-about-governance/
Even through the somewhat awkward vernacular of Chairman Burroughs, one can detect and feel sorry for with his completely undeserved frustration.
It would appear that the bulk of our Chairman’s frustration is predicated on the conduct of his council.
So, let’s take a look at his council. The Chairman has stated that Regional Council has functioned well up until these new batches of councillors were elected.
Many people agree with Chairman Burroughs’ assessment of the situation.
For purposes of identification can we define the councillors as the ‘The old guard vs. the Upstarts’?
Surely the very definition of ‘Old guard vs. Upstarts’ is a possible recipe for divergence, for conflict, for resentment and a cause of gridlock.
It could be said that there has always been ‘Upstarts’, new councillors, fresh blood with fresh ideas. Maybe, but this time there are complete newbies as opposed to those rising through the educational evolution of municipal politics, that have had enough of what they see as ‘tax & spend’, empire building and complacency. They ran on a platform of change. Not change for change sake, but for an overhaul of the continuing ills that, they believe, have become the mantra of the ‘Old Guard’. A point inadvertently made by Chairman Burroughs. 
It was not the “Upstarts’ that wasted $millions on an obscene 50% over-governance than any other region.
It was not the ‘Upstarts’ that sat idly by while the over-hyped NEDC wasted over thirty (30) $million over fifteen (15) years and in return what did the taxpayer get; layer upon layer of useless propaganda aimed solely at keeping their lucrative jobs..
It was not the ‘Upstarts’ that allowed the region to enter into an unnecessary expense of an excess of public seniors residences, which are much better run and at far less cost by our charities.
It wasn’t the ‘Upstarts’ that allowed the cultural committee to spend in excess of a $100K for a few $k worth of ‘FREE’ photographs.
It wasn’t the ‘Upstarts’ that tried to ban the public from the public forum. (Council)
It wasn’t the ‘Upstarts’ that caused the Ontario Ombudsman to rebuke council for secrecy.
It wasn’t the ‘Upstarts’ that so politely sat in council for decades while the municipality they represent suffered ‘diminishing returns’.
Chairman Burroughs, it’s not the ‘Upstarts’ that are refusing to talk about governance issues.
However, it is the ‘Upstarts’ that are the troublemakers!
The ‘Upstarts’ are the troublemakers simply because they refuse to ‘go along to get along’ with an ‘Old Guard’ that resents anyone that proffers any meaningful change to their Niagara Regional Country Club.
Chairman Burroughs is absolutely wrong in his conviction that governance issues should be thrashed out it Secret. Secrecy has and is the bane of our Niagara.
If Chairman Burroughs is truly interested in reforming our illogical Niagara Governance issues then have Regional Council hash it out publicly in council chamber and with cameras recording exactly were each and every councillor stands.
Cut the secrecy! Let the voter decide!
Links to back-up comments available...

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