Opinion: Grimsby council jumps the shark

By Mike Williscraft

It is unfortunate that a term of Grimsby Town Council, which was launched with such wide-eyed optimism and positivity has, indeed, jumped the shark (Happy Days reference).

If you are not sure what that means, simply, it appears council’s ridiculous internal squabbling and pettiness
has blown up into two entrenched camps from which there is no return.

Shockingly, and if you read this space with any regularity you will know what it would take for me to burn any amount of ink on this…but the Bob Bentley council’s
operated better.

Now, as you get yourself together after falling out of your chairs, I will note Bentley’s council’s got things advanced better. The only problem was it was all the former mayor’s way or the highway and that is how we ended up with the problems this current council is still working through.

There have been many factors over many months which have lead to the disintegration of the cohesive bond which brought this vastly new crew onto the scene in Fall 2018.

A key point which has come up time and time again, though, is Mayor Jeff Jordan taking the erroneous view that councillors will set aside their petty differences and act in the best interests of the Town.

Last Tuesday night’s disaster of a council meeting was the latest proof that is just not going to happen. The intense dislike between Coun. Dave Kadwell, along with Coun. Kevin Ritchie and Coun. Reg Freake is now compromising how council operates and even going so far as to put Town staff at risk.

To cut to the chase, boys, I don’t care if you downright HATE each other. That is up to you. But when you are sitting at the council table representing the people of Grimsby, you better perk up, fly straight, set the crap aside and make proper decisions.

Two major motions were approved Tuesday, one to completely overhaul how council operates and another to adopt a code of conduct, which includes a
whistleblower policy.

To be clear, following through on both of these initiatives could prove good for the Town and staff, so no problem with the concept. However, the implementation was absolutely horrid and basically resembled children playing in a sandbox with a colluded majority doing as it pleased with little opportunity for response or input from the minority.

In this space I always try to put every bit of information I have at my disposal so readers are informed and can make their own assessments and form educated opinions.

On this matter, I am going to dance a bit because there are serious HR issues at town hall and it would be unfair to expand on that too much at this time.

That noted, I will say, I have had detailed discussions with councillors Kadwell, Randy Vaine and Dave Sharpe prior to Tuesday’s meeting. When they voted to approve the code of conduct as presented, ignoring concerns raised by Coun. Dorothy Bothwell that no third-party process be included to protect those filing complaints, they essentially sold Town staff down the river.

Freake requested deferral of these items to allow for more time to review the reports, which were being dealt with for the first time.

Nope, no way the detractors would agree with anything he says, so the motion died….part of the pettiness, as delay was needed.

Freake has not been perfect either. He knows he has been too aggressive at times but at least I give him credit for pushing things that are for the good of the
community as opposed to shooting things down or voting against them solely because you don’t like the guy on the side of the argument. And that has happened, not all the time, but consistently over time. The problem is it should never happen.

The change to committee of the whole can be a good thing, but there should have been a roll out, with proper input of council to tweak it, a public meeting to allow taxpayers to understand and ask questions. Nope, couldn’t have that because Freake and Coun. Lianne Vardy wanted that. So screw public input, we’ll stuff it through anyways, right?

Someone must have realize this as the implementation date was pushed back from March 1 to April, says the mayor.

Same for the code of conduct. Of course adopting such a policy is a very good thing. But what came to council was incomplete and premature. It, too, should have had review, revisions, and public input.

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