Have you been to the circus lately?

Monday night, I was at the Circus..or so I thought…and then I looked around, and seeing no elephants, or trapeze artists, I realized that nope, I was not at the Circus at all….I was in fact sitting in council chambers at the Town of Orangeville Budget Meeting! I was all but waiting for the circus music to start.

But lo and behold, the circus didn’t need music…it already had all it needed with the Ring Master himself, Councillor Garisto sitting as the chair of the committee.


In my humble opinion, as the Chair of the Finance Committee, you should at least understand the procedures of the meeting…but instead, almost 30 minutes was spent with Councillor Garisto arguing (in circles) with the Clerk…(now for those of you who don’t know the Town of Orangeville’s Clerk, Susan Greatrix, she is a saint – she is patient (more patient than I could ever be), she is organized (thank goodness for that cause otherwise these meetings would really never end)…and she knows EVERYTHING…seriously, EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING! She is not someone whose facts I would ever put in to question!!! At this rate, and with Councillor Garisto as the chair of this committee, I am seriously questioning if the 2015 budget will actually be approved in 2015!!!

Council Remuneration

One hour was spent discussing this…Yup, ONE HOUR. For those who haven’t looked up the proposed budget, this is ONE page amongst a budget package that is comprised of almost 500 pages….(for those interested and who don’t want to attempt to navigate the Town of Orangeville website, you can find the budget HERE – council remuneration is on page 276)

After some discussion, Councillor Campbell spoke up and said that she would like to separate out two items to vote on separately…honorariums and workshops. When speaking to it, Councillor Campbell said “For Council, I will support not having a COLA {cost of living adjustment}, we are doing our very best to keep our budget as low as possible. But, when it comes to staff, I will not support giving staff no increase” She went on to say “They are our product and they deserve to have an increase”.

At this time, Councillor Garisto spoke up and in the most condescending tone said “Councillor Campbell, let me remind you at this stage we are NOT dealing with staff, we are only dealing with Council remuneration. SO, I would like to remind you to stick to the topic at hand.” Now, I wish that in this blog post, you could hear the tone of voice that was used…it was so unbelievably disrespectful and unprofessional (especially coming from the Chair {aka Ringmaster} of this committee {aka Circus}. At that very moment in time, you could hear a collective gasp from the entire room…the other members of council, the staff, and the gallery all gasped in shock at the way that Councillor Garisto spoke to Councillor Campbell. But, Councillor Campbell, spoke up and said “Mr. Chairman, you don’t have to remind me of anything sir, I simply told you what I was intending to do”.

In my humble opinion, Councillor Campbell deserves ‘The Kudos of The Meeting Award’ for keeping her composure and not using any of the words that I was quietly muttering under my breath in her response to him. Again I must ask the question…Are we REALLY sure that a Code of Conduct isn’t necessary?!?!?!?

So, at this point you can insert approximately 30 minutes of Councillor Garisto not understanding or following the mandated procedures of this meeting and a bunch more talking in circle….and then guess where this item ended up?? DEFERRED!!!! Sigh………


Yup, back to the good ol’ Committee talks…we know how well this went last time! (For those who missed my blog post about the distribution of committees, you can find it HERE)

The proposed budget for committees is almost $300,000 and almost $200,000 of that is community initiatives (Such as $16,000 for Canada Day, $20,000 for First Night, etc.) Mayor Williams put forward a motion to take the $20,000 out of First Night due to the fact that the event is touch and go based on weather (he still wants to keep the event going, just smaller scale with free skates and swims) and move that money into Canada Day. $36,000 on Canada Day is a lot of money for one day and Councillor Wilson’s comment on that was “$36000 for one day seems like quite an amount. Council has been pretty roundly thrashed on social media and traditional media for the $25,000 we’re planning to spend on The Pan Am Torch Run. Even thought that $25,000 is an upset limit and we are hoping to reduce it considerably through sponsorships from the federal and provincial governments. Having said that, the focus of the public seems to be how much are you spending and how many days is this? and canada day is one day $36,000 is more than double what we’ve spent…are we really planning something really doubly big this year??”

So after more talks, Mayor Williams amended his motion to instead move the $20,000 from First Night into a Community Initiative Reserve Fund. Councillor Wilson spoke up and said “The exercise we are undertaking is to get the budget down and get it reduced and to me shuffling $20,000 from the operating line to a reserve isn’t accomplishing anything. If the goal is to get to zero percent increase, we’ve got to start to cut something somewhere and I would suggest maybe this is something we can do without.”

Vote is called….The motion to put the money into reserves passed.

And then, to make a long story short, another hour of talking about other committee budgets. And they actually fully resolved all of them, at a tax savings of…..drumroll please…..zero dollars!

Counter-productive in my opinion, to say the least!


After 3 long Circus-like hours of confusion, arguing and talking in circles, 2 pages of the budget were ALMOST completed. ALMOST.

And I am left with a couple of questions:

1. Is Councillor Garisto the right man to head up this vastly important committee? He lost total control of the meeting which resulted in another waste of valuable time. Time that we cannot afford to waste.

2. What is the cost associated with adding in all of these extra meetings? Are Town of Orangeville staff being paid overtime? Or are they being pulled away from doing the job we are paying them to do in order for them to attend this ridiculous circus?

3. Is there going to come a time at any point in the somewhat near future that personal feelings & personal agendas will be left at the doors of Council Chambers to accomplish anything productive for The Town of Orangeville?

If you are looking to attend the circus, there is another one coming to Town on Monday, February 2nd at 7pm!

As always, leave me a comment…I’d love to hear your thoughts! !!

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