By Mike Williscraft
Gotta say, it is a tough ask for anyone to feel sympathetic toward anyone in the G5 these days but please, good reader – if you want to feel the pain many feel who have had to watch the goings on at Grimsby council – watch the 20 second or so clip from Monday’s meeting at the 1:22:35 mark.
It is another snapshot of why the limitation put on the mayor by the G5 braintrust has hamstrung how council should operate and allows the inmates to run the prison…as it were.
You can experience the greatness of the situation. I am not going to relive it. I have to drive by this accident on an all-too-regular basis, I don’t want to experience it again if I don’t have to.
However, let’s just say, Coun. Dave Sharpe began to wander into some story about a dental hygienist somehow while trying to explain his oversight in noticing a financial conflict of interest he found himself in.
It was minor. Anyone reading the Integrity Commissioner complaint or viewing the council meeting would surely have understood that. But Sharpe time and time again, through many comments and anecdotes wanted to make sure all knew he made a mistake, did his best to correct it after Coun. Dorothy Bothwell pointed it out, and it was a small issue. Yes, we got it!
So when Mayor Jeff Jordan had seen and heard enough as we got the dental office analogy, he halted Sharpe’s veering from the topic and moved onto to Coun. John Dunstall (who, ironically just wanted to call the question as he had had enough as well).
Well, of course, Sharpe doesn’t like being directed…not unlike a five-year-old who doesn’t want to go to bed.
The wheels come right off.
What I would like for you to experience, good reader, is the sheer pain exhibited by Coun. Dave Kadwell.
He knows what is coming, just like the rest of us.
So at 1:22:51, let’s go around the horn of what you see on the youtube screen.
Dunstall: Enough already.
Jordan: Again? Really?
Coun. Randy Vaine: Vacant screen, similar impact of any input of late.
Coun. Dorothy Bothwell: Oh, my!
Coun. Lianne Vardy: We’ve seen this meltdown before.
Coun. Reg Freake: C’mon, man!
Coun. Kevin Ritchie: You go, Dave!
Sharpe: Doing his Heat Miser impression from the old Christmas classic, “The Year Without a Santa Claus”.
Integrity Commission Michael Maynard: They’re not paying me enough to sit through this.
But Coun. Dave steals the show. Exhibiting all the classic signs of utter embarrassment and frustration, he tucks his head down, deep scalp rub, right on the edge of straight up plugging his ears.
That right there is what everyone wants to do, but simply cannot.
Council’s decisions, the policies they set, the taxpayer dollars they spend are simply too important to turn a blind eye to but it was clear, again on Monday, even those around the council Zoom table would have loved nothing more than to hit mute on Sharpe and move on.
It is easy to understand Sharpe’s interest in wanting to ensure the public knew there was nothing devious in his conflict error. It was an error of not doing his due diligence on an agenda item, but not something done to deceive and he did do what he could to mitigate things once he knew, so good on him for that.
The mayor was correct at that point in the meeting, Sharpe was getting into seriously repetitive territory having made his point several times already to that point.
Sharpe tried to make the point that the mayor cuts him off habitually and he does not do that to Vardy, for example. But if you dare to watch the entire proceeding, Vardy had started to make a comment, Ritchie noted she had already spoken twice as per procedural bylaw. Jordan cut her off and they moved on.
There is no logic, collectively, with this bunch and nobody should expect any.
After committee of the whole, in the fourth and final meeting of the night, Vaine attempted to explain how the minority four is more of a block than the G5.
“Over 90 per cent of the time, four councillors vote together. Whereas the five, the Grimsby Five as they are called, only vote approximately 65 per cent of the time together. So, I think if we are going introduce statistics and start telling everyone how disappointed we are and whatever else, that’s a fact that should be known,” said Vaine.
First, it is hilarious to picture Vaine sitting in front of his computer counting all the votes or going through minutes. Second, what matters is the key votes, major issues, hirings, firings, making information public. That is where the G5 dominate, unfortunately.