Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Haldimand "Big Brother is Watching You"

Thanks to all that attended Council of the Whole meeting Monday August 13th, 2007. "It was a Full House"! The pressure was certainly on council members that were determined to pass the Resolution regarding all e-mails and correspondence that comes through the Mayor’s office. If you are not up to par on what this was all about, please read my article called Haldimand "Vote deferred Again".

I must say that in all the council meetings that I have attended in the last 4 years, this council meeting in particular was an embarrassment to say the least! What council proved to us last night was that "business as usual" is "not the case" in Haldimand County. This council last night lost the little respect that was left from the public that attended the meeting. Last night’s council meeting was a sham, and all that this Council proved to the public was that the nature of their actions last night was nothing less than, bullying, harassing, finger pointing, passing the buck that I have ever seen. All directed at Mayor Trainer! "Is this a government that is accountable and transparent"?

At the Council in Committee meeting last Wednesday, this resolution was "deferred" until Monday night. "Reason", to find out if this resolution was actually legal! Well I am certainly "curious" to the fact that this never came up last night, no information from the "Lawyer". So my question is, did they receive information from the Lawyer? "Is this a government that is "accountable and transparent"?

Regardless this issue is now in the hands of the residents of Haldimand County. "Is this a government that is "accountable and transparent"?

Also at the Council in Committee meeting last Wednesday, council excepted Mike Parent’s letter as information. If you are not familiar with this letter, it is posted on my site as "Bold attack on Freedoms". Last night council defeated this vote, so there will be no "official" record of Mike’s letter. So in an essence, council is saying, we don’t "care" what you have to say, or what you think, and we "strike" your comments from the "record"! "Is this a government that is "accountable and transparent"?

Before the motion came up for a vote, Mayor Trainer had the floor. Now for those that are not familiar with the workings of a Council of the Whole meeting, it really is the "official" council meeting. Council members are in suits and ties, and as each councilor speaks on an issue, they stand and every issue is directed through the "Mayor". The Mayor may also ask questions of "Staff", which in return are respectfully answered. This did not happen last night! "Is this a government that is "accountable and transparent"?

The following were some questions from Mayor Trainer to her CAO, staff and Council, regarding the resolution on the floor;

On Thursday afternoon when I asked Bill Pearce what this item on the agenda meant he said Councilor Sloat is leading the charge on behalf of council members and he was asked to prepare a motion. You went behind my back to meet with council members and have discussions to prepare a motion?

Answer from CAO Mr. Pearce……….Silence, no answer!

This resolution is absurd. How do you think Council will be perceived?

Answer from Council……….Silence, no answer

Where did this motion come from?

Answer from Council……….Silence, no answer

At what meeting did this decision take place, and Bill Pearce be given the authorization to prepare the motion that sits in from of us today?

Answer from Council……….Silence, no answer

How did this Council get to this resolution without my knowledge?

Answer from Council……….Silence, no answer

A lot of effort went into this motion and I presume council must have had a meeting? Why was I not consulted?

Answer from Council……….Silence, no answer

It appears a lot of private meetings have been happening behind my back.
When did you have a meeting to do something like this?

Answer from Council……….Silence, no answer

Shouldn’t the deputy mayor have contacted me and given me a heads up?

Answer from Deputy Mayor Councilor Sloat……….silence, no answer

If there was a problem why did you go behind my back in a private meeting instead of talking to me?

Answer from Council……….Silence, no answer

The motion states that the dissemination of correspondence is of utmost importance to successfully conduct the business of the corporation. Where is the staff report, giving examples of where this has occurred because of a letter or e-mail someone did not get?

Answer from Staff or Council………Silence, now answer

Where is the report of such happenings, and when was it reported to me and what was the resolve?

Answer from Staff or Council……….Silence, no answer

Where is the staff report that the county is in jeopardy?

Answer from Staff or Council……….Silence, no answer

The following was a comment made by Mayor Trainer to her Council last night;

You were all aware except Lorne Boyko who was away on vacation and not one of you had the courtesy to notify me. You have left me totally out of the loop. This is unacceptable behavior. My duty is to represent the public and consider their well being and interest and I am the Mayor and correspondence sent to me is for me not for Karen General and the council. This resolution would be an invasion of the privacy of the public to speak to their Mayor in confidence and is most likely "illegal".

As I see the ways things played out last night was that council and the CAO of Haldimand County showed their blatant disrespect to Mayor Trainer. Now I could be accused of just a personal opinion here…but….once again the proof is in the pudding……

Councilor Sloat stood up and directed a question to CAO Bill Pearce. Did you tell the Mayor that I lead the charge in this motion?

Immediate Answer from CAO Bill Pearce……No, what I said was that you were speaking on behalf of Council.

Well low and behold Mr. Pearce has a voice. So my question is why did CAO Bill Pearce answer Councilor Sloat’s question, and not answer the Mayor’s questions? Well obviously Mr. Pearce was publicly showing his respect to Councilor Sloat!

Now speaking of office of the CAO. Mr. Pearce is retiring as of August 24th, 2007. Council is currently interviewing for a replacement. Interestingly enough the Council chooses who the next CAO will be. Interestingly one part of the motion that was changed, was that instead of Karen General receiving the Mayor’s e-mails, it would now be the CAO!

So do you think that this Council will choose "wisely" their next CAO, a CAO that will work for "Council"? You bet they will!

Now back to the resolution on the table. Council passed this motion in a recorded vote of 5-2. Councilor Grice and Mayor Trainer voted against the motion. So there you go, starting "immediately", The Mayor of Haldimand County has been bullied and forced by her "Council and Staff" to give up the "privacy" of her office!

So BEWARE, big brother is watching YOU!

What can we do as residents of Haldimand County you ask? Well there is a lot of action going on, but for the moment I "choose" to keep this confidential, at least from Council……stay tuned……


  1. Well Donna we were there also. The reason nobody, Pearce included answered Marie as it was her whiny speech, not as per say questions directed at certain people, Marie never quit whining long enough to allow for an answer either.
    Marie has been an entity onto herself, so she thinks and Council rounded her back up, in likewise form and fashion. Like please, I mean for the Council as a whole to vote to that motion speaks volumes to how they feel about their Mayor. Shes a disgrace, and her attempt at trying to blame others for her downfall is well a joke, but that is Maries tenure anyhow. You voted that piece of work in, now deal with it. I'd like to think the Council reflects the population better than the Mayoral race has done.
    Besides, I think your being a poor sport d/t the fact you burned in the last elections, next time you aren't going to do any better either.
    Say Hi to Marie for us will you.

  2. Thanks for the comment "anonymous", although I am a bit confused that you didn't sign your real name, the option was there for you.

    Your words are strong and as you state you were there last night, I am confused as to who you are.

    Outside of "2" people that I knew were in council chambers that don't support the Mayor, everyone else there said that they were there to support the Mayor, so either you are one of the "2" people that I know of that do not support the Mayor, or you were hiding the truth from everyone else that was there last night.

    Interesting that you state that the council reflects the population better than the Mayoral race has done. I will argue that your statement makes no sense. As each councilor that is elected only has approx. 6,000 eligible voters, the Mayoral race better reflects the public, as there are approx. 24,000 eligible voters in the County that would all vote for the Mayor, but only vote for one Councilor in their ward.

    Your are correct in your statement "council as a whole to vote to that motion speaks volumes to how they feel about their Mayor". The problem with this is everytime they "disrespect the office of the Mayor Elect", they disrespect every resident that placed a vote in the ballot box.

    The real issue here is that "this current" elected crew, is not doing any good for the residents of Haldimand County, whether they like each other or not, their duty is to the taxpayers of this County.

  3. Well those of us who are anonymous don't have to either make any sense or have any guts now do we?

    We are afterall cowards who don't have the balls to put our real names to our posts. But of course we demand that you take us seriously as we have very high opinions of ourselves. You may even have noticed we all operate with the same mantra.

    Your article is very good but since we don't like at least one of the people who was involved in some form we bash it and hope your readers are foolish enough to listen to us instead of you.

    Most importantly, we will never listen to the truth because it's not what we want to hear. Our minds are as closed as the Sixth Line is to Policing.

  4. It doesn't matter what your anonymous writer thinks of the Mayor Donna. The issue is the privacy of communications of residents of this County with elected officials of the County.

    The fact is that it is illegal to intercept mail. These Councillors are playing with legal fire. They better hope they don't get burned.

    Comments like the one from Anonymous simply proves they don't understand the real issue. They also don't have the guts to print their name.

  5. Thanks Lisa for your comments, and for putting us back on track of what the real issues are here.

    The fact that this council has passed a motion that is in direct violation of Federal Laws, is illegal.

    We will challenge council on this issue through the proper channels.

  6. Donna, it makes no sense that council passed this.

    They must know of some loophole.

  7. It's been well established that employers can read your email at will. There is no expectation of privacy at work. Admittedly this matter is something of a grey area in this case but a strong argument can be made that the public-at-large are Marie's employers and the council as a whole, as the elected representatives of the people, have the right to set whatever policies they wish in regards to email sent to public servers. Somehow I don't think anyone is going to be moved by your amateurish legal threats.

  8. I will offer you anonymous that the Mayor is the CEO of the County. Like other organizations the CEO is the boss.

    It is highly unlikely that the CAO or any others in a private company would have the authority to tell the CEO that they must share their emails with them.

    It is also not the same to have a private company make decisions on sharing emails and elected officials sharing public emails. In this case the CEO said no and the Council said they would do it anyway. This is gross insubordination and it is also against the Privacy Law to intercept private mail, even in companies.

    I know you are trying to justify what the Council has done but they did something both morally wrong and questionable from a legal perspective.

  9. Thanks for your comment.

    You are correct in saying that this is a "grey" area. As the Mayor is the CEO of Haldimand County, and a public official, the CAO and Staff are not the Mayors employers, therefore I would think these rules would not apply as a regular employer/employee relationship.

    According to an official at Canada Post, (as the mayor's correspondence is included in this motion) it is a "federal offense" for anyone to open one's mail unless the receiver has given them permission.

    It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. Municipal officials can make their own rules and by-laws, what they can't do is supercede Provincial or Federal Law.

    Regardless, it will be up to the court system to decide if this motion is legal or not.

  10. Where your analogy falls apart is in assuming that the rest of the council are employees of the Mayor. It's more like the council is a board of directors. And a board of directors can most certainly dictate policy to a CEO. It's not a dictatorship, that's why there's a vote and that's why Marie gets included in that vote. But in the end the executive authority is held by the council as a whole and the council vote is binding upon the mayor.

    That's not insubordination. That's democracy. And as I said on the 98.9 forum, if you have a problem with it, you know the proper course of action to take.

  11. Well not quite.

    In a private company the Board of Directors is truly the boss of the CEO and is headed up by a Chairman of the Board.

    In Municipal Law the Mayor is Head of Council which by comparison puts her on par with the Chairman of the Board to use your analogy. You see the Mayor is the "Head of Council" not the other way around.

    The way this Council has put through its proposal the CAO, which in any organization works for the CEO, is telling the CEO how to handle their mail.

    I'm not sure you have heard or read the proposal but it is not consistent with any organization.

  12. Trainer is one vote only on the Council. I commend Council for taking the steps they have to ensure the moving ahead of Haldimand County. Even Trainer's cousin voted and stated why the steps are necessary to do this. Trainer has had enough chances in my books and it was long over due for council to do something. There were many reasons explained by various councillors why this was done. Were you not listening? Do you care about the success of Haldimand County or covering for Trainer? I care about the success of Haldimand County.

  13. We all care about the success of Haldimand County. This vote was not about the Mayor. It was about you losing the privacy to communicate with the Mayor.

    If the Councillor's are so concerned about open sharing of mail why are they not sharing their mail with the Mayor.

    Who is the Mayor's cousin that voted?

  14. Thanks for your comments.

    First I want to clarify that my "only" motivation here is the well being of Haldimand County. I am very proud to live here!

    Secondly, I "was there" on Monday night. What I witnessed should be a grave concern for "all" taxpayers of Haldimand County.

    What I witnessed was the "complete breakdown" of our council, and their ability to communicate with each other. As a "team" they are "all" responsible!

    When I say "council", I do not "exclude" Mayor Trainer.

    My reason for writing this article was "not" personally driven, the reason is simple, "privacy" for the "office" of the Mayor Elect,(whomever it is) and the residents of Haldimand County.

    I don't believe for one moment that this motion will solve a thing. And honestly I don't know what the answer is. Maybe we will all have to "just live with it" until the next election in 3 years.

    Maybe there is a bigger problem here that we are not aware of, regardless, for "council" to "air" their "dirty" laundry in public is not the answer either. That would be a very good reason for this council to go behind "closed doors", and crap on each other in private.

    One thing I can tell you for a fact, I am "glad" that I am not in "any" of their shoes!

    I could be mistaken, but I was told that Councilor Bartlett is Marie Trainer's cousin.

  15. You are correct, Bartlett is Trainer's cousin, third, fourth, fifth removed, something like that. I commend him for taking the stance that he did. That showed wisdom for this County.

    I agree it is not good for Council to air dirty laundry but when they go "in camera" then we complain because they are behind closed doors.

    I honestly believe that Trainer's actions were setting the Councillors up to fail by not passing on the information pertaining to various wards.
    I believe that the Councillors have stood for more than I would have as a Councillor. When Trainer fails, it is the whole Council that goes down. As a team they are responsible and I see them trying to pull it together and Trainer working against them. Are all the Councillors wrong?

    If there had only been one or two incidents where Trainer was concerned, we could say "oh well and give her the benefit of the doubt. But this has been going on in previous councils ( back to Town of Haldimand days) and there was all different players. Trainer's mission was to get rid of this one and that one only to be replaced with someone else that gets smart about her antics.
    Just maybe she is what is wrong with Council and not the rest of Council and Staff?

    If people want to write Trainer personally then send it to her personal e mail. Anything to do with County business, is the property of the County.
    I know for a fact that Trainer used the Mayor's office for her own election promotion. That is a misuse of the office as far as I am concerned.
    If I am writing the County/Mayor/Councillors, I think it is pertinent to send to all to get my point across.
    Last point is that I would not trust Trainer with something that needs to be held as confidential, there is enough that she has sent from the Mayor's office that should have been kept confidential and was not.

  16. Thanks for your comments.

    You seem to have a lot of information.

    I usually say to people that we all have the right to our own opinions, but your statements seem to be based on more than opinion, you state;

    "I know for a "fact" that Trainer used the Mayor's office for her own election promotion. That is a misuse of the office as far as I am concerned". You obviously have documentation and proof to state this.

    Did you report this misuse to the appropriate officials?

    As your history and facts go back to the "regional days", I believe that you should publicly reveal who you are, as this is a "serious" charge against Marie Trainer.

    Please write back with your comments, and use your real name for the records. Maybe there are individuals out there that can assist you in getting the facts out to the public. I can assist you with some leads on newspaper reporters for example that would tell your story.

    I am willing to listen.

  17. Its funny anonymous you seem to be well versed in the workings of Haldimand County. I wounder if maybe you happen to work at the County and are trying to defend your friends.

    It just so happens that some of us have been in touch with Mayors of other communities regarding what happened in Haldimand and the responses we have so far support Mayor Trainer's position on this that mail is not for general scrutiny.

    When I have sent mail to the County that I want to be read by everyone I say so on my correspondence so that it gets distributed to all. When I send mail to the County that is specifically addressed to the Mayor I expect it to be read by the Mayor only. I shouldn't have to go to some external email to have a private conversation with my elected Mayor.

    As I have said previously this is not about the Mayor it is about my ability as a resident of Haldimand to be able to privately communicate with any elected officials as I deem necessary not as Council deems necessary. They work for us and are not independent individuals that do what they want.

    Your undying support for Council leads me to think that you must have friends on Council that you are trying to protect.

    I have no friends on Council or in the Mayor's office but I expect that I have the right to communicate with any of them privately if I wish.

  18. Donna, I want to send you thanks for having a blog.

    Your blog is very interesting, and I really love the comments.

    Keep up the good work. I as always look forward to your next story.

  19. Marie Trainer needs to leave office before she totally destroys Haldimand.

    I've never in my life seen such an inept person in public office.

    It baffles the brain.

  20. Marie's e-mails are the property of the Corporation of Haldimand and are not exclusive to her only. In fact if she is carrying on personal business or correspondence on the Corporation's e-mail system, she is stealing company time.

    She had been proven every which way to be failing miserably in her job. The Corporation has an obligation to the citizens to ensure business is conducted properly.

    The carried motion is 100% legal and binding.

    End of Story

  21. Anonymous what are you talking about?

    You are spewing hate and not logic.

    Every resident has the right to communicate with their elected officials with some level of privacy not to speak of the fact that it is illegal to intercept someone's email or land mail.

    It seems to me that not one Councillor is sharing their email with anyone. Why is it just the Mayor who is centred out here.

    I have sent dozens of emails to the County over the past year many of which were copied to the Councillors directly and not one Councillor saw fit to answer my email or contact me. Why?

    It seems to me there is a lot of business not getting done in this County as a direct result of Council not doing anything productive. That has nothing to do with the Mayor's email.

  22. It looks like maybe some people that are really close to the situation here are writing on your blog Donna. Due to the fact that a few of the comments are saying that they have all the facts.

    Another reason that I say this is, this is not a personal problem, it is a legal and ethical problem with Council.

    It is a fact here in Haldimand that our council members are not respected by the public, and that could be caused by councils dis-respect to the Mayor.

    This council needs to do as they all promised during their election campaigns. RESPECT EACH OTHER.

  23. There seems like there is a few "anonymous" on this blog, Interesting.
    I agree with some of the points other "anonymous's" have stated. Trainer is not the person for the job as CEO of this County. She has been trying to disable Council whether knowingly/unknowingly doing it.
    A leader in my way of thinking sets the tone if they have the leadership skills to do so.
    The Mayor needs to RESPECT Staff and fellow councillors. Election after election there has been a changed of players at the table, but the troubles are still at the table. Could it possibly be that Trainer is the root of the problem? Does she chair the meetings and move them along in a professional manner? Those meetings goes on and on beating the same issues over and over to death.
    I sat through some of the Council meetings of the first Haldimand County Council. That council got thing done and move us along on a successful future avenue. I am not saying there were most likely no problems but they have never gone to the level they have now. Back then Trainer was not at the table that term, I think that states a lot of why there was no problem to any great adventure.
    May I suggest talking to others ( Councillors and staff) and see it from all sides that it what I do. I just don't believe everything of what I here. Research it facts, data and make sure it is documented somewhere.
    As far as writing Councillors and expecting a reply. My suggestion is through experience is, if it is "Cc" then it is usually received as information. If it is "to" to everyone on your list and state that you expect a personal answer from them, they should be doing it.

    Just for the record : I am not related in any shape, way or form to anyone in Haldimand County. I align with no one and if I have a problem, I do take it to the source.
    I do it in a responsible manner. I support no one unless they can prove to me why I should. If someone tells you something ask for the supporting documentation, data, research.

  24. Then anonymous you should be worried about your right to privacy when you communicate with anyone in the County.

    My emails to Councillors and Mayor are directly sent to Councillors and no responses to date. When they can't deal with their own mail what are they going to do with that of the Mayor?

  25. Thank you everyone for the comments. They are "all" valuable and it does go to prove that there are a lot of us out there that really "care" about the issues at hand.

    I would like to at this time suggest that you read a few of my articles, and "My Story", which explains why I started this blog in the first place.

    Council needs to stop the "blame game" and move on with business. But I highly doubt that will happen, that's if "history" really does repeat itself.

    Please take the time to read the following articles;

    Haldimand "Yes, No, Maybe, Oh I'm not sure. May 16th, 2007.

    Haldimand "There seems to be a Pattern. May 11th, 2007.

    Haldimand "Let us Help". May 4th 2007.

    These are a few examples of "this council's history", and as they say "history does repeat itself"!

  26. Never in my entire life have I seen or heard of a Mayor who is so clueless and unprofessional. The Burke Report, which she didn't want released before the election, told the story on her quite well. And bear in mind, prepared reports like that usually only show the evidence that is required and witholds much other evidence so they don't appear to be engaging in over-kill.

    I'll bet they have reams of stuff that the report didn't show.

    Trainer should step down for the good of everyone.

    Good Day

  27. Well anonymous its easy to speak out critically of anyone when you don't have to provide your name. Would you say the same things if you had to provide your name and stand behind your comments?

    With all her faults this Mayor is the only one in Haldimand County administration that has stood steadfastly with the residents through the DCE crisis. Give us an example of consistent resident support from any of the Councillors.

    Regardless of your obvious hatred for the the Mayor it does not excuse the Council passing a Motion to remove the right of residents to private communications with their Mayor. You can spin your story any way you wish and it still is illegal.

    Maybe you will grow a spine and use your name.

    You have a good day also "Anonymous".

  28. The Burke Report was a $25,000.00 waste of taxpayer money, another ploy by council. And thanks to that wise decision, we the taxpayers will loose another couple of million dollars when the former assistant gets done with us in court, as of course she will use those documents, and the fact that all of council deemed the mayor guilty, smart move on their part.

    They should all resign.

  29. ""Anonymous said...
    The Burke Report was a $25,000.00 waste of taxpayer money, another ploy by council. And thanks to that wise decision, we the taxpayers will loose another couple of million dollars when the former assistant gets done with us in court, as of course she will use those documents, and the fact that all of council deemed the mayor guilty, smart move on their part.

    They should all resign.""

    Maybe so, but lets see how fast Marie would do the same.

    Reports revealing facts, whether you like them or not are PRICELESS.

    Stop worrying about your tax losses, that woman is costing you more than you'll realize, at least for the moment.