Thursday, October 22, 2009

Haldimand "Healing Bruised Egos and Next Years Election"

Grice Speaks on Motion
Donna Pitcher
Dunnville Chronicle Staff Writer
October, 21, 2009

“This motion has less to do with cohesiveness and the messaging that Council provides to Provincial and Federal officials, than it does with healing bruised egos, and next year’s election”, said Councillor Craig Grice in an interview with the Chronicle last Friday.

Grice was speaking about a motion that was narrowly passed by council last week that puts in place protocol for Council members in regards to meetings with Provincial and Federal Ministers and their staff. The motion requires that all formal meetings with Provincial and Federal Government Ministers or their staff include an agenda of issues and that the meeting be arranged through the Mayor’s office after first being sanctioned through resolution by a majority vote of Council. The resolution also requires a verbal report to Council.

Councillor Leroy Bartlett who was not in attendance when this motion was debated at the previous Council meeting had a concern about what happens if they are in a meeting with a government official and the discussion leads to something that has not been previously sanctioned by Council. Don Boyle, CAO of Haldimand County answered Bartlett’s concerns by saying that a Council member can only discuss what is on the agenda, they cannot report any personal opinions. Councillor Buck Sloat stated that this motion moves Council forward on a united front with a united voice and shows that they are working as a team.

Councillor Lorne Boyko asked for clarification on the meaning of a formal meeting, Mayor Marie Trainer’s response was that a formal meeting was one that is arranged through the Mayor’s office.

Boyko asked for an amendment to the motion in reference to a verbal report to council, to read a written report to council. Boyko said the amendment does not create a paper trail for current and future councils, we have way to many verbal reports now. The motion to amend the amendment was defeated.

“We are a board of directors” let’s start acting like one, said Councillor Tony Dalimonte during council’s lengthy debate. Boyko later said in an interview with the Chronicle that he disagreed with Dalimonte’s statement. A board of directors meets with their stakeholders usually four times a year, and bottom line is a board of directors is dollar driven.

As far as Grice is concerned each Councillor has a job to represent his or her constituents and that's exactly what he will continue to do. “The argument that Council speaks through resolution is non deniable, but to say a Councillor once a vote is taken is no longer allowed to speak in opposition is not only wrong, its arrogant”, said Grice.

Grice is of the opinion that the motion as passed is seriously flawed. What happens when a Councillor has an immediate opportunity to meet with someone in authority? Any meeting now would be against Council resolution, no matter how well intended. A County’s approach or view is not always the same as wards views or needs. Some issues are not of countywide concern, therefore this motion could be seen as removing the autonomy of ward representation which the Municipal Act currently authorizes. In the end the local voice could be lost or altered as the intent of the original meeting request is forced to change to gain approval, said Grice.

Council passed the resolution with a vote of 4-3, Councillors Boyko, Bartlett and Grice voted against it.


  1. Donna excellent news story, keep up the good work!

    At least we have three members of council that still have some intelligence.

    The next step is for council to hire that communications officer so that reporters like yourself can no longer write stories like this one.

  2. Dalimonte said that we are a board of directors? Well there you go that is the problem, they are acting like a board of directors instead of elected officials!

  3. I learned with dismay that the motion presented by Councillor and deputy Mayor Tony Dalimonte passed on a 4-3 vote. This motion is removing the voice and representation of the individual ward constituents by gagging their representative. This motion is prohibiting local councillors from speaking with Federal and Provincial officials without first, obtaining permission from Council by majority and then, forcing them into a mandatory script of what they can and cannot say which has to be pre-approved by Council again by majority vote.

    The main thrust of this motion comes from Dalimonte and Sloat, which would be a matter of amusement if it were not such a blow to the voice of the constituents as a whole. It is amusing that Mr. Dalimonte states that this provides cohesiveness and clarity and yet Council has not provided either for the duration of their tenure here. Mr. Dalimonte is the ward Councillor in which EVERY SINGLE illegal smoke shack in Haldimand County operates, Mr. Dalimonte also happens to be the ward councillor for a majority of residents on 6th line who have been caught in a vaccum of policing and perception since the beginning of the Caledonia debacle.

    I would ask what clarity and/or cohesiveness has Mr. Dalimonte provided on these issues?
    I would ask where has his voice been in speaking to these issues, these
    people, which sit so clearly within his ward boundaries?
    I would ask why Mr. Dalimonte is trying to hamstring Councillor Grice when he should be standing firm with and supporting the consistent success he has had with arranging meetings with various Government officials?
    I would ask which one of you, Mr. Sloat or Mr. Dalimonte, feel that by
    implementing this ridiculous motion (which has nothing to do with the
    betterment of the County or help in resolving the issues which primarily
    centre on Caledonia) will provide you with your much desired ammunition to try to use to run against Mayor Trainer in the upcoming election and propel you into the Mayors office?
    I would ask you why you both of you think that by trying to silence at
    worst or control at best the voice of the local elected representatives is
    such a stellar idea?
    Does it come into your thoughts at all that each councillor is
    democratically voted into each of their wards on the premise that they
    will speak and act on behalf of their electorate, and while they operate
    in the best interests of the county as a whole it is the voice of their
    electorate that they are duty bound to represent first and foremost.

    I believe that this is a blatant attempt to consolidate power and control
    in preparation for one of the two biggest proponents of this motion Mr.
    Sloat or Mr. Dalimonte to take a run at becoming the Mayor while the other sits in the Deputy Mayor position. Silence your opposition, set the table for failure and then seize power by playing on the failure and blaming the one currently holding the position you covet... Now does that sound about right to you?

  4. I hope the above poster sent his letter to the editor of the local papers, hell send it to the Spec as well, well said, so true. I'll bet that Sloat and Dalimnonte don't have a clue as to what the public think, in fact they don't give a damn as to what we say. It has been a long time since a good letter to the editor about the games that these councillors are playing, it is time to let them know! If they are campaigning so can we!

  5. The motion is simply wrong!!! Let's squash a voice, and if its heard lets provide guidelines. Council is a board of directors according to Dalimonte. I contest that the only board of directors that a Councillor is responsible to is to those he/she represents.
    I have yet to hear of any Minister that has ever complained or even questioned a Councillors desire for a meeting. The question is;
    Could they simply not turn him/her down? If not, they must feel that the councillor has something of substance to speak on.