Two wrongs don't make a right
By Liz Dadson




“Be suspicious of anything that works perfectly - it's probably because two errors are cancelling each other out” - Dave Bartley, author.

If you've been tuning into Kincardine council at all, you will see that while things are not working perfectly, our illustrious heads of state have made two major errors that could very well create more controversy than they are attempting to vanquish.

The first is to continue with the convoluted system of governance currently in place.

The second is to call in a consultant to review the chief administrative officer, managers, staff and council of the Municipality of Kincardine.

Kincardine was initially on the right path when it was considering a change to the way it conducts business. The current system of committees, committee-of-the-whole and council has too many layers of red tape and bureaucracy for many good ideas to actually make it to fruition.

Some members of council saw the light and proposed a change to strictly a committee-of-the-whole system with public advisory committees. These groups would provide ideas and strategies which would then be brought forward by the chairperson and staff members of that committee, to the ENTIRE council in committee-of-the-whole. From there, a recommendation would go to council to be accepted or rejected. Delegations would come directly to committee-of-the-whole so all of council would have first-hand knowledge of the presentation.

With the current system, ideas and delegations are presented at the committee level and can be rejected there before all of council even hears them. Granted, there are members of council who sit on the various committees but, if they don't understand what's going on, or are unable to articulate such to council, or if they disagree with what the committee decides, who's to say the information actually comes back to council?

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14/02/2009 10:09 AM

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Many surrounding communities, including Saugeen Shores and Huron-Kinloss, as well as Bruce County council, operate under the committee-of-the-whole system, with public advisory committees offering input. It's an improvement to what we have and should have received a better debate than was done at the Kincardine council table, before it was dismissed.

Too many members of council want to micro-manage their tiny areas of expertise. They don't want to give up control of their little committees. So, after hours and hours of discussion and debate, council threw in the towel and decided to stick with the status quo.

Now, to the second error in judgement which has given merit to a review of the CAO, managers, staff and council of the municipality.

What a crock.

The proponent, councillor Marsha Leggett, was asked pointedly over and over again what the issues are, what the problems are. She reluctantly offered a few vague descriptions of workers being told to keep their mouths shut and just do their work; of problems not being resolved after several months; of information not being brought forward.

Mayor Larry Kraemer has rightly pointed out that when you start talking about employees and their jobs, you open a huge can of worms with pay equity and job equity legislation. And if you go even further and think of firing people because a consultant says they're not doing their jobs or not doing the right jobs, be prepared to pay for it, big time, in the end.

Even better, if the consultant says the municipality should be run by a seven-member council - all elected to represent the entire municipality - who's going to get fired then?
It's a witch hunt, plain and simple, and it's a bad idea.

Two wrongs don't make a right.

Council needs to start working together and pulling in the same direction.

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