By Tim Stewart
(WINDSOR, ON) – As a proud Windsor born, lifelong Windsor-Essex resident, and current Ward 4 constituent, I wish to address the subject of reopening the Auditor General office discussion. It is my sincere hope that each of you will remember what you said during the most recent election campaign.
Many of you committed to supporting the reinstatement of the AG office.
One said he would not stand in the way if the majority supported the AG office.
One of you made the statement that the AG office would save money in the long run and today that same individual is suggesting they require more information to make an “informed decision.” So, those comments during the campaign can safely be called uninformed?
That sort of bafflegab and doublespeak is truly unbecoming of our city councillors.
I’m not here to single anyone out of the group. Each of you know the positions you took during the election campaign. Your constituents expect you to honour those pledges.
One or more of you have tried to frame this as a discussion about your individual integrity and the honesty of the group. That statement is little more than political rhetoric.
This conversation is about long term savings and efficiencies. This isn’t about conspiracy theorists and naysayers.
Suggesting that, because a majority of other municipalities don’t have the AG position then we should follow suit, is also a very weak argument. At any other time, during almost any other discussion, our mayor and councillors talk about us standing out from the crowd as a municipality. Those cities that have the AG office seem to statistically save money in the long term.
Why not follow that example? It seems the wiser choice.
Mistakes have been made by previous mayors and councillors. The 400 Building was erected with no thought to growth or the future, while we now propose to build a new city hall with a continually escalating price tag.
The WFCU arena was built while leadership suggested it would not lose money. Today, it loses hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. Adventure Bay is losing nearly 2.5 times more than was projected.
Mistakes are understandable. We need not repeat these mistakes.
An AG office would likely prevent such mistakes by conducting value for money audits on capital projects, large and small, unfettered by council or administration. Transparency cannot happen when those being examined have control of the investigators’ access to information.
Those of you who have studied law, you must understand the concept of the perception of justice. That theory can be transposed to this situation. You can tell everyone that there is transparency or you can demonstrate, by your words and actions, that transparency exists.
We the taxpayers deserve nothing less.