Kangaroo Council? A bit of both? Well it seems more like something out of a novel by Kafka.
You get tried and ‘convicted’ in a closed session of Council without the ability to discuss or defend yourself. Yup, that’s what happens in Parry Sound. Council has advised the President of the Downtown Business Association (DBA) that she is removed from that committee. The charges and evidence for the removal? Discussed in a closed session of Council. The ability to face the charges and the accuser? Not permitted! I believe that’s pretty much how kangaroo courts operate.
The likely crime? Securing a grant from TD Green Streets to upgrade Market Square Park without seeking the prior approval of Council. It’s interesting to think that there might not have been a crime had the application not been successful. The Mayor had previously taken a very public round out of the DBA President when she introduced the plan to Council and asked for their post application approval, which they granted.
It’s worth noting that the DBA President arranged to have a similar grant application filed last year, under identical circumstances, and received no negative feedback. The difference? This is an election year. No tax hikes and no one else gets to look good.
The whole matter will be kept hush hush. Closed sessions of Council provide members with the ability to do business without public disclosure. Dirty deeds, done dirt cheap, in the black hole of closed Council meetings.
There seems to be some question regarding the ‘authority’ of Council to conduct such a kangaroo court in closed sessions of Council. At last night’s meeting of Council the Integrity Commissioner advised Council that it had no policies and procedures in place with respect to the management of Committees and Boards. If that’s the case, on what basis did Council make a decision to remove the DBA President?
After four years of watching and reporting on Council I have a petty good idea of how individual councillors operate and their moral compass. I know there are at least three members of Council who would not have gone along with this kangaroo court process, removing a committee chair without some clear dereliction of duty, or the opportunity for the individual to defend them self. So if the issue was approved by Council it was not by the Councillors. It must have been a split vote, three to three, that was then decided by the Mayor. Not a surprise given his past behaviour on this matter.
If the President of the DBA needed to be removed for performance issues it should have been done by the Board of the Downtown Business Association, not Council. But this individual was not a threat to the DBA, she was an asset. So the Mayor and cronies took things into a closed session of Council, the black hole of community information, and did the dirt.
The Town is a worse place for this action by Council. And there will be no TD Green Streets supported improvements to Market Square Park. Without leadership it’s dead, dead, dead.
Let’s remember that Council reports to the people. They will not be held accountable unless we hold them accountable.
The Black Hole of Closed Council Meetings (Parry Sound in Black & White)
You can bet I’m pretty ticked off by the shenanigans that have been going on in closed sessions of Council. This isn’t the first time I’ve called out Council regarding items that are discussed in closed session and then simply approved in open session with no material disclosure of the issues at stake. This is our town folks, we need to be provided with information.