OPINION: Personality clashes hinder council

In the words of Kermit The Frog, “It ain’t easy being green”.

Apparently, it is not easy being an elected official in Grimsby, either.

For those of you who have not been playing along, Grimsby’s council playlist has gone from You Can’t Always Get What You Want (meaning no matter how much they tried, the biodigester was never going to work for them) to Send In The Clowns.

Personal agendas significantly out of step with current fiscal realities and, at times, reality, have taken over from a group which collectively stuck its head in the sand but kept their front-row seats while 18.5 million taxpayer dollars got torched by the bio-disaster.

It feels like The Daily Show when they started the 2020 election countdown two years ago. How many days is it until Monday, Oct. 24, 2022?

As of Thursday, Sept. 17, there will be 767, so start counting down, good reader.

Before you read another word here, if you have not coasted through the copy on Page 10, pause here and go back, read that from start to finish, then return to this spot….I’ll wait…..

First, my apologies.

With each passing week I really hope we will have seen the last of the boorish behaviour of the Grimsby 5 – which I might add is looking more like the Grimsby Four-And-A-Half of late as Coun. Dave Sharpe is showing signs of following logic as opposed to the herd.

Remember a few meetings ago when Coun. Kevin Ritchie got up and spoke so eloquently about how it was time to turn the page, look forward not back, and work as a team, blah, blah, blah?

Well on Page 13 you can see exactly what Coun. Ritchie’s words are worth.

Similar to the biodigester situation, aside from the actual mismanagement of that situation, the willingness to go along with it and complicate conduct of council is just as troubling as the actual acts themselves.

The same is happening here.

Coun. Ritchie brings up the Code of Conduct. Yes, he should be an expert by now with the number of integrity commissioner complaints of which he has either filed or been a subject.

Go back to the original point of discussion, the planned open house for the twin towers to be built at the Casablanca Inn site – a massive project with huge impacts on that area.

The Town should absolutely be planning a public access open house – with proper social distancing – just as other municipalities have done. The current regime has taken far too many liberties with the COVID situation to limit information going out to the public.

The 5 climb all over the minority on council whenever they attempt to elicit even a simple rationale from staff, heaven forbid they ask for any information or clarification. Don’t bug staff, run everything through the CAO. Then when that’s done, there must be another problem to create.

There was never an issue with this before. Even Coun. Dave Kadwell knows there has always been a cordial and professional relationship between council and staff. It was always routine for council members to chat up staff to get a better understanding on files at hand.

Coun. Lianne Vardy followed what the 5 have pushed for: “By copy of this memo I am asking our CAO Mr. Schlange to follow up on this suggestion,” she wrote.”

“I also agree that it is inappropriate for planning staff to advocate on behalf of developers. As with the federal public service the staff is there to implement the will of elected officials, who represent the public.”

For that she gets, in part:

“In my perception of this email I am asking you to apologize for accusing staff in acting as supporters of the developers.  This is an attack on their integrity and any comments that attacks ones integrity goes against our code of conduct,” from Ritchie.

Vardy states a Motherhood issue, “it is inappropriate for planning staff to advocate on behalf of developers” and Ritchie still disagrees saying this comment is an “attack” on staff?

As for Vaine’s comments, he is creating things which simply are not there.

A fully accessible, public access open house should absolutely be set up and there is no reason why a safe meeting for all cannot be planned: make the meeting all day, limit crowds any time, social distance, all that.

Council as a whole should be pushing for an open, public access meeting. The 5 won’t because they want total control. So one sticks her neck out, and we can all see the result.


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