Thursday, August 9, 2007

Haldimand "Vote Deferred Again"

"Thanks to the many residents" that came to Council on Tuesday and Wednesday! A very special thanks to Gary Mchale from Caledonia Wake up Call and Mark Vandermaas from Voice of Canada that helped spread this important news on their websites. Please visit Gary's site for all the latest information at http://caledoniawakeupcall.com/, and Mark's site at http://voiceofcanada.wordpress.com/.

I believe for some this experience was an eye opener to what is going on in this County. Without your support and laying pressure on our elected officials to be accountable, this resolution would have been voted on and passed all under the radar.

Now back to how this all played out, make a coffee and relax, even for me this experience was quite "unbelievable"!

Tuesday August 7, 2007, nine residents attended the Council in Committee Meeting. Our main goal was to "ask Council to speak" in regards to a resolution on the agenda, namely "Mayor’s Office Correspondence Management". For those that are not aware of what this resolution was all about….below is the official wording…..you can decipher the meaning for yourself, it’s pretty plain and simple;

WHEREAS THE Mayors’ office receives a considerable volume of correspondence through written or electronic form;

AND WHEREAS THE MAYOR has acknowledged in the past that management of this correspondence, especially e-mails has been overwhelming to the point where many e-mails may go unanswered of otherwise not responded to;

AND WHEREAS the management of this correspondence is critical to the effective operation of the County;

AND WHEREAS the dissemination of this correspondence to the remainder of Council as well as the Clerk is if utmost importance to successfully conduct the business of the Corporation;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED;

THAT ALL correspondence sent and received through the Mayor’s office including all e-mail addressed to the Mayor by title or name, be copied to all councilors as well as the County Clerk;

AND THAT the Mayor’s assistant implement this direction for all hard copy correspondence;

AND THAT the General Manager of Corporate Services through the information Systems Division ensure that all e-mail sent to the Mayor by title or name, is automatically copied to all Councillors and the County Clerk;

AND THAT any questions or concerns from Councillors regarding specific correspondence to the Mayor’s office be first directed to the Mayor for a response and if required, the matter be referred to Council in Committee under the "Inquires, Announcements and Concerns of Councillors" part of the agenda.

I have been to enough council meetings that I can tell you, council was "not happy" that we had involved ourselves with their business. That was made perfectly clear just before lunch when "Mayor Trainer" advised her council that the residents here today were asking to speak to council regarding the resolution on the table. In particular she named Mike Parent, Merlyn Kinrade, and Dave Brown, all residents of Haldimand County. What happened next blew me away!

Mayor Trainer started by saying that she needed a "mover and a seconder" for council to vote on whether to allow anyone to speak on this issue…..the council sat silent…..for what seemed like minutes….Mayor Trainer asked a second time if there was a mover……Councilor Grice finally spoke up……Mayor Trainer then asked for a seconder…….silence…….finally Mayor Trainer seconded the motion herself.

Then the vote….Nay…..Nay…..Nay…..Nay…..Nay……Yay….Yay…. 5 against, 2 for, defeated!

The residents were furious, outspoken, and very disruptive.

Now at this point I had expected that we were going to be kicked out of council chambers……..not the case……..what happened next again shocked me……One councilor called a motion to go in camera to do the next part of their business, we were told that they were going in camera, but we did not budge from our seats in defiance!

Then one councilor called for "all of council and staff" to leave the council chambers and carry on their meeting in "another room", that’s right you heard me, they "left us" sitting in the council chambers! Now at this point I felt that the council members were very rude and disrespectful to us. Now one could say that we were defiant as we would not leave chambers and we were in the wrong, but really when I think of it, what was the worst thing that council could have done….well….they….did it……they wouldn’t allow us to speak! So we stood in defiance, and I am proud of what we did!

Before Mayor Trainer went into the closed session, she came over to inform us of what had just happened, she wasn’t speaking to us for more than a minute, when the door opened, and Councilor Boyko called the Mayor to the meeting, she apologized to us and we told her we would be back after lunch.

We stayed in the council chambers for about 10 minutes talking, we then proceeded outside, to discuss what we were going to do next. Once outside we noticed Councilor Sloat just outside the side door on his cell phone. Merlyn Kinrade and Jeff Parkinson left the group to go and speak with councilor Sloat. We all stood there watching, I was little concerned about the body language of Councilor Sloat, and then all of a sudden Jeff starting walking towards us and Merlyn and Councilor Sloat went inside the building.

This is what happened, (Jeff Parkinson quote’s) "Buck Sloat suddenly grabbed my shoulder with one hand and ripped my digital recorder aggressively out of my pocket with the other proceeding to drop it on the concrete below".

A special thanks to Jeff Parkinson for coming out to council and supporting us on this issue, please read Jeff's article at http://www.caledoniawakeupcall.wordpress.com/. I would like to at this time send a my personal apology to Jeff on behalf of the residents of Haldimand County. Councilor Sloat was out of line when he assaulted Jeff, and I would hope that Councilor Sloat publicly gives Jeff an apology on Monday August 13th, 2007. If he refuses, I would then expect that Mayor Trainer will need to send her apology on behalf of herself and Council!

This incident is currently being investigated by the O.P.P., I will update you when I know the outcome.

If Councilor Sloat is charged with assault, and found guilty, he will be forced to leave his post as a Municipal Councilor, and will be unable to run for council for "6" years!

Tuesday afternoon around 2:00pm Councilor Sloat, Dalimonte, and CAO Bill Pearce left the council chambers and did not return until approximately 5:00pm, why you ask? What was so important that "2" council members needed to leave their duties at the table when this was the first council meeting after "6" weeks of vacation time, and this meeting was already slated as a "2" day Council in Committee meeting. They were also fully aware that there was a lot of controversy over this resolution on the table. They were also obviously aware that the timing of this resolution would be such that they would not even be present for the vote!

To go back to the resolution, when it came to the table (at this time 2 council members were missing) in the afternoon, it was voted on by council to be deferred until Wednesday August the 8th, at 1:00pm!

Now back to the "missing" members of Council. According to Mayor Trainer, she received a phone call at home from CAO Bill Pearce Sunday afternoon (August 5th) that Lorraine Bergstrand (Provincial Liberal Candidate) requested that Mayor Trainer meet with her and the Minister of Economic Development at Stelco in Nanticoke Tuesday afternoon.

Now I don’t know about you, but I certainly have some questions regarding this scenario;

"Was this a Haldimand County Official Business opportunity"?

(1) If this was Official County Business, why did the invitation not go through the "mayor’s office in a timely fashion?

(2) If this was Official County Business, as Stelco is merely 15 minutes away from Cayuga, why was the Minister not formally invited to Council!

(3) If this was Official County Business, what was CAO Bill Pearce thinking when he left this until Sunday afternoon to "invite" the Mayor?

(4) If this was Official County Business, shouldn’t "all" of Haldimand County Councilors been invited?

Well all said and done, this was obviously "not" County Business. This was an "election campaign photo op"! This was "personal business"! CAO Bill Pearce also had no "excuse" to leave his "high paying post", to attend a personal function! So my concern, what business did Councilor Sloat and Councilor Dalimonte have leaving their duties, mid afternoon, in the middle of a "council in committee meeting", to attend this function?

Was this a "priority" for these Councilors? Well obviously it was! I say, it was not their "business" to go and stand beside Lorraine Bergstrand for a photo op for "her" campaign for the Liberal Party! This is an "outrage" that our tax dollars paid these members of council to attend this function!

Now I am sure that you are wondering how I would come to the conclusion that this was "personal" business? Well that would be simple! Lorraine Bergstrand is not an "official" of any kind! Lorraine Bergstrand is a "candidate" for the Liberal Party for Haldimand Norfolk for the upcoming election in October 2007. So in saying that what "official" business would she have had with any council member, or the CAO of Haldimand County? No more than you or I would have!

Actually I will need to correct myself here, it seems that Lorraine Bergstrand does have some "pull" with certain council members, and the CAO! These same "2" council members voted against allowing us to speak on the resolution at hand, but they took the time out, left behind their County Business, to stand beside her and take pictures!

Wednesday August 8th, at 1:00pm there were "12" people in council chambers waiting for the resolution to come up for the "vote". Well it seems that the County Lawyer had sent a fax to members of council, advising to defer this vote until Monday August 13th, 2007! Apparently the lawyer needs some background information!

So for the "third" time we will be at Council, to see how this all turns out!!!!!! I am thankful that there are residents out there that have the time to keep coming back! Hopefully there will be a "FULL" Council there, and it won’t be deferred for a "third" time!

I would like to finish with a few quotes;

This one is from the movie "Vendetta"

"People should not fear it’s Government! The Government should fear it’s People"!

This following statement is from a very dear friend of mine, who wants to remain anonymous!

A lot has been said recently about our rights as citizens to hold our elected officials responsible for their actions. To quote George Orwell from his novel Animal Farm "All animals are created equal but some are more equal than others". It is fundamentally important that we all remember at all times that our citizens' rights are only valid when the powers that be wish to recognize them as such because you see, without their approval and recognition these so called rights have no authority.

15 comments:

  1. I don't even live in Haldimand County, and I am upset at your council.

    Something needs to be done for sure.

    As far as this Councilor Sloat, I would certainly kick up a fuss with the O.P.P. if they refuse to lay a charge.

    This is not the behaviour that should be tolerated by anyone from an elected official.

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  2. This comment was sent to me via, Mark Vandermaas from Voice of Canada. Thanks Mark, Donna

    I wasn't able to attend yesterday's meeting nor am I able to attend today.

    If I wanted all the councillors to know what I am saying in my emails to the Mayor then I would have a copy of the email sent to them. Last I knew, Freedom of Speech is still in this country.

    Since when does someone tell me who I can pass messages on to?

    I have never sent any emails to our councillor Mr. Dalimonte because he has never shown any interest in us. He has never even come to our home during election time.

    If anyone should be sending emails to everyone it is the councillors to all the taxpayers of Haldimand.

    I tried sending this through the blog on Caledonia Wakeup Call but it wouldn't go through. I give permission for this email to be taken to the meeting today and vote for the Mayor to keep email to only her if that will help.

    Wish her luck from me.

    Sincerely,

    Chris Dudych

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  3. This council should be ashamed of Buck Sloat.

    I urge the police to lay the charge. He should know better.

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  4. Every so often every society reaches a crossroads.

    We have reached a crossroad in Haldimand County.

    Our future direction is in front of us with choices as to which direction we go.

    Option 1:
    Without action by the taxpayers of this County the current elected council certainly will move in a direction of nepotism and self interest with no regard for the electors and taxpayers of Haldimand County.

    Option 2:
    With a concerted effort by the taxpayers and electors of this County we can move this council to respect our wishes and deal with business in a way that respects the taxpayers and electors of this County ahead of their own interests.

    Option 3:
    The taxpayers and electors of this County put so much pressure on the Provincial Government for a forensic audit of the County that they cannot refuse. This is a local election issue and the Liberal Candidate is part of the problem not the solution.

    We cannot stand by and let this council off the hook. They have shown they are corrupt to the core with self interest. We need to ensure that they spend the rest of their term in office looking over their shoulders for us the residents to whom they are accountable.

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  5. Thanks Lisa for your comments.

    I will choose Option (3)!

    I have been called a "watchdog" by a few people, but in saying that, believe me I am not well liked or respected by "certain" members of "council".

    Why do I know this? When I attend "council meetings", and I have been there quite often, there are members of council that won't give me the time of day! The only two members of this current council that have even talked to me is Mayor Trainer and Councilor Boyko.

    The only councillors that spoke to me on the last council was Mayor Trainer, Councillor Boyko and Councillor Cole. My track record is not too good!

    Some Council Members seem to be missing a fact or two, I have the right!

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  6. Donna has anyone heard yet if the OPP laid the charge against Sloat?

    They should have found him by now!

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  7. My sincere thanks to you Donna for your apology but please be assured that I do not hold the citizens, the Mayor, or the Council to blame for what happened on Wednesday.

    There is only one person who can and must be held accountable for the actions of Buck Sloat and that person is Buck Sloat.

    Having met countless Haldimand residents in my time in Caledonia, and now Cayuga I can honestly say that they are some of the most upstanding human beings I have ever met and I have formed what I believe will be life long friendships with some.

    Unfortunately I am unable to comment any further for now on what happened because it is under investigation by the OPP and he is entitled to the benefit of the doubt.

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  8. Jeff, thanks for the comment.

    It would be interesting to find out why it seems to be taking the O.P.P. so long to investigate this ordeal.

    It seems to me the way the law should work is this; you were assaulted; their was a witness to fact that your were assaulted; and is it not up to a Judge in a Court of Law to decide?

    Thanks again for your support Jeff.

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  9. What a can of worms, but that recording of County Councilor Buck Sloat posted at Mc Hales garrish web site is priceless in exposing Bucks deeply rooted arrogance and rank political stupidity.

    Imagine that, a public official who actually thinks he has a God given right to privacy whenever he wants to play low ball politics with his Peers on Council?

    Is this guy for real or just brain dead?

    Talk about shooting yourself in the foot, but County Councilor Buck Sloat has somehow managed to shoot himself in both feet this time.

    If the issue wasn't such a serious breach of ethics it would be laughable.

    Instead I would venture to guess it has drawn the ire of every other level of government trying to resolve the Douglas Creek Estates stand-off with the People of Six Nations and the Traditional Council.

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  10. Hi Donna,

    I seem to recall reading an apology from you on behalf of Haldimand for Councilor Sloat's assault on this Jeff Parkinson guy. I think you also called on the mayor to apologize on behalf of Council.

    I do appreciate the sentiment, but it wasn't you or the mayor who shamed Haldimand by attacking someone on the steps of the county hall - it was Buck Sloat. And it is HE who should apologize.

    Let's also not forget that he also insulted a Korean war vet who asked him a question. I hope the people of Ward 2 remember his arrogance and temper come next election.

    PS My bet is that he doesn't apologize.

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  11. Thanks for the comments MAW and anonymous.

    History will only repeat itself here, Councilor Sloat has been in "situations" in the past when the public has "demanded" his apology, but all is ignored!

    I happen to be proud to live in Haldimand County and my apology "stands" on behalf of myself and I am sure many others, as this will probably be the "only one"!

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  12. Well it seems Donna by the silence that Sloat got away with assault!

    This is not right!

    I for one am curious as to how this man can get away with so much!

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  13. With everything that is wrong with Haldimand County, we can just add this to the list. These are symptoms not the disease itself. Incompetence starts at the top and has become the culture among county employees. To cure the disease we must (as the public) decide to change the culture and elect new officials that understand the problems go much deeper than merely the members of Council.

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  14. Hi, well be sensible, well-all described

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