Re: December 4, 2012 Council Agenda (2-51)

The pdf version of the full agenda package is at:

https://southbrucepeninsula.civicweb.net/Documents/DocumentList.aspx?ID=51943

An Html version is at:

https://southbrucepeninsula.civicweb.net/Documents/DocumentList.aspx?ID=51941

Following are comments on a few select agenda items.

——————————————-

Agenda Item 8.3 CLOSE08-2012 Ontario Municipal West Conference

Of the proceedings at the November 16th Ontario Municipal West Conference, John Close indicated:

“some facts came out load (sic) and strong”.

One of the facts, according to John, is that:

“Municipalities can pass by-laws to assist in the operations of a BIA”.

That’s not really true.  The law is fairly constraining.  And it is constraining so people like John Close don’t rename the Chamber of Commerce as the BIA and then raid the treasury to assist in the operations of the BIA (Chamber).

Residents should watch for something to come down the pike regarding giving more of our tax dollars to the Wiarton Chamber of Commerce (disguised as a BIA).

You’re being watched, John.

Another “fact”, according to John, was that:

“Speakers also talked about the CAVE people (Councillors Against Virtually Everything) and how this hurts your community, council and staff relations.”

This is presented as a fact.  I don’t believe that any of the conference speakers would actually say this.  Unfortunately the presentations are not yet up on the conference website, so I can’t check.  But when they are posted, I will check and report.

It appears to me that opportunist John Close is using a stupid buzzphrase (CAVE people) to take an oblique shot at Councillor Jackson.

John Close can’t refute her arguments, because they are too solid.  So he goes after her by characterizing her, by subtle innuendo, as a bad “Councillor Against Virtually Everything”.

Councillor Jackson is the only council member who takes her oath of office seriously.

Councillor Jackson is the only council member dedicated to the people of TSBP.

Councillor Jackson is the only council member who consistently puts the public interest ahead of her own.

Councillor Jackson is the only council member with the guts to stand up to John Close.

Far from being “against everything”, she is “for everyone” and “for the public good”.

The things that Councillor Jackson is against are John’s nefarious schemes to cheat the people of the town, and his skullduggery, and his dishonesty.

In fact it is John Close, not Councillor Jackson, who is a member of the group “Councillors Against Virtually Everyone” (CAVE).

And as long as we’re on the acronyms, let’s have a group called RANS (Residents Against Nefarious Schemes).  Or how about Residents Advocating Some Honesty (RASH).

(Sorry John Close, but applicants will have to qualify to be accepted, and with your record you would not qualify for either group.)

Agenda Item 8.15 CLK145-2012 Indemnification By-law

CLK145-2012 proposes an insurance by-law that would make the town the insurer if council members, staff or committee appointees accidentally cause harm.

Sort of self insurance.

The only problem is that the town already has purchased insurance (from a real insurance company) that protects council members, staff or committee appointees if they accidentally cause harm.

And the coverage is virtually identical, at least on paper.

Claims under the Municipal Conflict of interest Act are not covered by the proposed by-law policy, just as they are not covered by the insurance company policy.

Claims arising from an act of intentional harm are not covered by the by-law policy, just as they are not covered by the insurance company policy.

It would be crazy for a small community like TSBP to replace their purchased insurance with self-insurance.  Because one big claim could bankrupt the residents.  That’s why we purchase insurance.

But what is being proposed is not to replace the purchased insurance with the by-law self insurance. What is being proposed is to have both.  What is being proposed is duplication.

Why would any municipality want to do that?

Why would council want to do that?

It’s really very simple.

It’s because the by-law insurance is not really the same as the purchased insurance at all.

The by-law insurance is really to cover something completely different than the purchased insurance covers.

The words in the by-law policy indicate that only consequences of accidental harm are covered.

So the by-law says the town shall indemnify against claims arising from an act if:

“(a) he or she acted honestly and in good faith with a view to the best interests of the Town;

(b) he or she had reasonable grounds to believe he or she was acting in accordance with any applicable policies of the Town; and,

(c) he or she had reasonable grounds to believe that his or her conduct was lawful.”

In other words, if the “act” that caused damage was unintentional, they’re covered.

That’s fair. So far so good.

The problem is that with the by-law policy, it’s the same people wanting to be covered (council members) that decide whether the act is intentional or not. And this is a conflict of interest.

If a group of councillors wanted to remove a vocal resident from the picture, and decided to do that by deliberately using malicious slander and libel to discredit and shame the resident, and then one councillor (or a friend of a councillor) willfully and intentionally slandered the resident, and then that resident successfully sued that councillor for a million dollars, then the insurance company (the purchased insurance) would refuse to cover either the legal costs or the settlement (because the damage was wilfull).

But the fact that the purchased insurance would not pay would not be a problem for the councillor.  Because all the slandering councillor would have to do is to tell his council buddies (with a wink and a nod) that the slander was unintentional, and council would declare by resolution that the slander was unintentional, and council would declare that the settlement costs are to be covered by the by-law insurance, and then all legal and settlement costs would be paid out of the treasury.

And the malicious guilty councillor would walk away without any consequences.

But the resident would be bullied out of the picture.

We already have perfectly adequate purchased insurance that covers accidental harm.  Self insurance is completely unnecessary if we have purchased insurance.

The by-law self-insurance is really just another crooked scheme for council to go after anyone who criticizes.

Like Rhonda Cook’s stupid lawsuit.  Which council also paid for with your money.  (For fourteen months anyway.)

The insurance by-law is proposed solely for a sinister purpose.

The insurance by-law would be a license to steal from the treasury.

The insurance by-law would encourage councillors and appointees to do bad things to any residents who oppose them or who oppose council.

The insurance by-law would encourage slander and libel.  Or even worse.

The by-law must be defeated.

Clerk Cathrae’s report says:

“Our solicitor has indicated that it is standard in his practice to see that municipalities, local boards, private business, industries and interest organizations have indemnification by-laws for the protection of their employees and volunteers.”

This is a lie, a misrepresentation at best.  Because in the context of the draft by-law, the report implies that “municipalities, local boards, private business, industries and interest organizations have indemnification by-laws”, in addition to purchased insurance, “for the protection of their employees and volunteers”.

It’s the implied “in addition to” part that is the lie.

No private business, industry or “interest organization” would ever purchase insurance and then exactly duplicate it with self insurance.

The only municipalities that would duplicate coverage are those with sinister intentions.

The solicitor who prepared the draft by-law has a serious conflict of interest.  If this indemnification by-law goes through he automatically gets more business. Lots more business.

Note this in the draft by-law:

“Town shall have the right to select and retain a lawyer to represent a person referred to in s. 3 of this by-law. The Town shall advise such person of the lawyer representing him or her, and shall advise Council of the disposition of the matter (in camera, if aplicable).”

The insurance by-law will encourage bad acts, which will lead to court proceedings, which will mean lots of lawyers, which will mean lots of legal fees.

The lawyer who wrote the by-law that will encourage the bad acts will get rich because of the by-law and the bad acts that the by-law will encourage.

It stinks.

Why can’t council understand this?

Agenda Item 10.5 By-Law 138-2012 Being a By-Law to Regulate Dynamic Beaches in the Town of South Bruce Peninsula

I have two concerns about this by-law.  First it declares the dynamic beach by-law ineffective between fifth and sixth streets at Sauble.  This will mean that there will be cars on the beach, along with environmental damage, and a hazard to beachgoers, and especially children.  And the change is supported only by a ridiculous concocted report from the same lawyer who developed the self-insurance by-law scheme (Steven O’ Melia of Miller Thomson).

Residents, and especially Sauble residents, should know that their councillor Bowman is wholeheartedly supporting gutting the dynamic beach by-law so as to allow cars on the beach.

Secondly the amended by-law allows dogs on the beach during the summer between 6 pm and 9 am.  This will mean lots of dog poo on the beach.  This will mean children at risk of serious infections from parasites.  The policy and by-laws should protect the children, not put them at grave risk just to satisfy the demands of dog-owners.

The by-law needs to be defeated.

Craig

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