Wednesday, April 23, 2008

County Council and Tecumseh join the "naysayers" club

In Windsor, this would be called "naysaying" in the County, it's called effective representation. When the County began asking questions back in November the City hurled all sorts of accusations at them, simply for doing what they are elected to do - protecting the public purse. Maybe some of our own Councillors could learn a lesson or two.

It's certainly interesting, though not surprising to find out Windsor's is the only paid development commission in the Province. Windsor's representation on the WEDC is the un-elected CAO John Skorobohacz.

The WEDC is shaping up to be the poster child for what is wrong with city owned "arms-length" corporations. In the last 5 years we've had four different CEO's and and almost complete turnover of staff, leaving no institutional memory left at the commision. While our Mayor and Council drag out the howitzers to fire at a cash-strapped Library Board (which is the last board in Windsor that is not an arms length corporation), the very organization that is tasked with helping transform Windsor's economy is leaderless for the fourth time in five years.

Taxpayers should be very concerned considering we have recently setup the Tunnel Commission and Airport as arms length organizations with the new Tourism Windsor and Essex to follow.

Remember, it was this current City Council who voted against Councillor Drew Dilken's motion to automatically receive minutes from all boards and commissions.

Accountability and transparency may be the buzzwords of the day to many politicians but the reality in Windsor shows they really are swear words.
Motion Calling for More Transparency from Development Commission Supported at Council Meeting

Some members at the town of Tecumseh council meeting last night feel something needs to be done about the commissions failure to provide information requested at a county council meeting back in November.

County politicians have been calling for information from the Windsor and Essex Development Commission regarding governance structure and bylaws since November 2007. Deputy mayor Tom Burton made a motion that the organization provide public copies of the board's minutes, financial statements, and reports. Burton states, "My understanding is this is the only development commission I'm aware of that's paid. We certainly don't want in-camera information but we certainly do want what the public has a right to their tax dollars are being spent."

Tecumseh town council supported the motion and plans to circulate it through other municipalities for additional support. Burton says, "If we don't get the support we think we should get then we'll have to look at the freedom of information, I guess."

However, two weeks ago the commission stated that while the general public can't see its budget, Burton or any member of county or city counil, can see a copy but must first sign a confidentiality agreement.