LETTERS: Cities need strong CAO

Hire a fully qualified CAO; one that will deliver high standards of integrity; transparency; accountability from senior staff.

Prior to the 2008 civic election developers had grandiose plans for the downtown SuperValu lot; a green state-of-the-art high rise incorporating a grocery store. Seven years later this keystone facet of a revitalized downtown; lies in limbo.

One city fines developers $5,000 a day for missed deadlines. Brampton, Ont. part of the GTA is engaged in a scandal over alleged staff mishandling of construction contracts and the mayor making secretive decisions without consulting council. There was an uproar in April when councillors wanted to know why staff recommended excusing $1.4 million in penalties that a developer was supposed to pay after a controversial downtown project fell more than a year behind schedule.

“It looks like we have settled for $520,000 when in actual fact the penalty should have been closer to $2 million,” Coun. Elaine Moore stated, questioning staff about the reduced amount charged to Dominus Construction.

The developer was over a year behind schedule. Former mayor Susan Fennell, drew up a new agreement last year; (withheld from council) allowing Dominus to pay just $520,000. Brampton councillors are demanding answers to allegations in a lawsuit that city staff spent — and lost — $480,000 to secure land for a developer’s planned $500 million downtown redevelopment project, without informing council.

The controversy came to light with the release of damning court documents last summer in a $28.5-million lawsuit against the city by another developer who claims he was disqualified from the project’s bidding because staff and Fennell were biased in favour of Dominus.

Hire a fully qualified CAO; one that will deliver high standards of integrity; transparency; accountability from senior staff. He/she should be non-political; respectful of all taxpayers; immune to collusion with elected officials; fully cognizant of the municipal act and governance under that act. Get rid of the one employee only policy that muzzles senior staff and removes adequate checks and balances on honesty and integrity. Integrity starts at the top of the food chain. The balance lies with the voter.

Elvena Slump




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