Opinion: Grimsby 5 shooting in the dark

By Mike Williscraft

When I coined the term Grimsby 5 it was not without a lot of forethought.

It was not done to demean those who are part of “the gang”. It was really just to try to show that there was a group on council which sticks together although logic and, sometimes, fact would dictate they should be on the other side of a vote – in my opinion.

When there is a question or issue which arises and any member of council chooses to voice an opinion, more power to them. I may not like something, residents may not like something, other members of council may not like something, but tough luck.

Love them or not like them very much, this is the crew who got elected and everyone hopes they will do what is best for the Town and its residents.

That warm and fuzzy review noted, there have been many, many examples where none of that took place. It is true, through fits and starts this bunch has stumbled and bumbled its way through to accomplish a few things, but even the accomplishments need to have an asterisk beside.

A quick example there is the Code of Conduct, which was force fed to council with no prior reading, staff report or even request for it to show up directly at a council meeting about this time last year. The Town of Grimsby definitely needed one – and sooner than later – but what came to council lacked any whistleblower policy to allow staff to file a complaint with an independent third party.

Now, anyone paying any attention at all will know there was a major bruhaha with the Town’s CAO. As it was presented, and to this day, if staff have an issue, they have to file a complaint with the CAO or the human resources director, who reports to the CAO.

Now I may not be that bright, but something seems amiss there. However, a year has passed and nary a word has come to council with any progress on rectifying this glaring oversight.

But back to Monday night.

How many times have you read in these pages, councillors in the posse of cinq, lecturing the Grimsby 4 (as Coun. Dave Sharpe) about the dangers of ignoring the advice provided by “experts”. I use quotes on that because “The 5” deem just about anyone who comes to speak to council as an expert….except when they disagree.

Coun. Randy Vaine has said repeatedly, he basically relinquishes his vote to the opinion of experts, whatever they say, that is how he votes.

Monday, he threw out his long-held view to fall in line with Coun. Kevin Ritchie’s petty pursuit of something, anything he could use to hang something on Mayor Jeff Jordan.

Ritchie, Vaine, Coun. Dave Kadwell and Coun. John Dunstall all noted the need to lower, specifically, legal expenses as part of 2021’s budget allocation.

Ritchie tried repeated paths to get Integrity Commissioner Charles Harnick to trip up and give him something he could leverage. Harnick saw him coming and didn’t budge, going right back to his baseline of information – yes, Jordan did release some information which was covered in a closed session, but it was “trivial and of no consequence”.

How does any sane human being look beyond that, to ignore the advice of council’s paid EXPERT, and put another report onto the CAO and clerk to bring back to council.

Ritchie is the one racking up the wasted costs here.

If he gave a rat’s butt about the residents of the community, maybe he might be asking, “Hmm, someone seems to have hacked the mayor’s email account. Maybe that’s an issue I should be supporting the mayor to get to the bottom of this egregious invasion for the betterment and security of the Town?”

No, not the Grimsby 5.

Monday night was just another black and white example of the “do as I say, not as I do” attitude of a cast of characters who have brought significant and ongoing embarrassment to the Town of Grimsby.

As of this edition’s publication date, Feb. 4, there will be 627 days until the 2022 municipal election.

Tick, tick, tick.

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