The theme throughout the month of March at the Town of Orangeville Council meetings has been early campaigning. The nomination period for the upcoming municipal election hasn’t even started yet, but already the campaigns are in high gear.
At the meeting on March 5th, Councillor Garisto put forward a motion stating that the Deputy Mayor position should be removed from the election ballot and instead, the Councillor candidate with the highest number of votes in the election becomes the Deputy Mayor. His alternate suggestion was that the position of Deputy Mayor be appointed by the Mayor going forward. Thankfully, those motions failed – in fact, a legal opinion was sought and it was determined that this change couldn’t be made in time for the upcoming election anyways.
The first contentious issue during the meeting was a motion to elect the new members of the Orangeville Hydro Board. The first motion was to elect Mayor Williams into another 3-year term which failed. A new motion, to elect Don Kidd into a 3-Year term was put forward by Councillor Bradley. Mayor Williams voiced his concerns about this motion stating that it just doesn’t make sense to appoint someone new to this very technical board with the election so close. Despite the Mayor’s concerns, this motion passed 4-3 with Councillors Wilson, Bradley, Campbell and Kidd all in favour.
Advertising on Town Buses
During question period, resident Trevor Castiglione asked when business owners would be given the opportunity to purchase advertising through Orangeville Transit. According to Mayor Williams, there was a delay in the beginning because one of the buses was a ‘loaner’ bus as well as the wait for a new Orangeville Transit Logo. (There is currently a contest running to design the new logo!)
Councillor Bradley stated that she doesn’t want to have moving ‘Chicken Buses’ going around – she feels that these buses are extremely professional in appearance and she wouldn’t want them to be littered in advertising.
A motion was put forward to have staff look into the advertising and come back with more information at the next meeting. This motion passed with only Councillor Wilson voting against.
New Business Drama
“New Business” appears to be the new term for Gong Show….During this portion of the meeting seems to be when Council deems is appropriate to publicly share their disdain for one another.
During the ‘New Business’ portion of the meeting, Councillor Garisto felt it necessary to bring back an item from the March 5th meeting. During that meeting, Councillor Wilson brought forward a motion to appoint alternate members of Council to attend Dufferin County Council Meetings in the absence of Mayor Williams & Deputy Mayor Maycock. At that meeting, Councillor Wilson was appointed to take the place of Mayor Williams in his absence and Councillor Kidd was appointed to represent Deputy Mayor Maycock in his absence.
Councillor Garisto felt as though it was a ‘Conflict of Interest’ and that it was unfair. He was also upset that he wasn’t given the opportunity to put his name forward. He implied during the meeting that they had made a “deal”.
Mayor Williams stated that Councillor Wilson put himself in a “difficult position” by being the CAO of Wellington County and an alternate member of Dufferin County Council which Councillor Wilson took exception to. “I would ask that you and Councillor Garisto be more circumspect when you’re suggesting that people have a conflict of interest. You know that our meetings are televised and I don’t think that it is fair to me in any way that it be suggested that I have a conflict of interest. Most people are aware that there is a conflict of interest act and to suggest that I am in violation of that, impugns my reputation and I do not appreciate that. I am not in conflict of interest. What was done by this council in an open vote was to follow the new terms of the Municipal Act and appoint alternates.”
New Business….the Drama Continues
Councillor Bradley expressed her concerns during new business about a motion that occurred during the February 12th Council meeting. During that meeting, Councillor Garisto put forward a motion to explore the amalgamation of some services with the County, such as police, fire, etc. This motion did not garner enough support to continue – in fact, only Garisto and Mayor Williams supported this motion.
Councillor Bradley’s concern was that despite the lack of Council support, the headlines in the next newspaper read “Mayor Williams Exploring Options for Amalgamated County Police Service”
Beyond that, Councillor Bradley was concerned at the Mayor’s remarks in another article regarding the vote to change the way that a Deputy Mayor is chosen stating that he would like to choose a Deputy Mayor who saw eye to eye with him.
“I’m perplexed by the comments that you are making publicly about being collaborative and working together with the county and cohesiveness and all this kinds of stuff when it not a reality. It’s almost like campaigning, grand-standing, misleading the population.” Councillor Bradley said.
“I don’t think you have a serious concern, I think you are just trying to throw mud at me.” Mayor Williams replied stating that he has done nothing wrong and that his role as mayor includes having conversations with people.
The Next Few Months….
If there is THIS level of campaigning already, when the nomination period for the next election hasn’t even begun, I am seriously concerned about the upcoming months. In my humble opinions, Council Chambers is meant to be a place to conduct official Town business and is NOT an appropriate place to begin your campaign. What do you think?
The next meeting of Council is on Monday, April 9th at 7pm. Hope to see you there!