By Chris Schnurr
(WINDSOR, ON) – Hiring an auditor general would result in cuts to services or a tax increase, apparently.
That’s a little hard to believe, but it’s a great diversion if you’re a politician who betrayed voters.
Council missed another opportunity last night to demonstrate leadership because of either their lack of understanding, or political grandstanding, or both.
In a 6-5 vote, council opted to maintain the status quo of controlling what is audited and how.
With Councillor Borrelli’s sneering betrayal of voters, all eyes were on Ward 2 councillor, John Elliott, to side with colleagues Bill Marra, Chris Holt, Rino Bortolin, Irek Kusmierczyk, and Ed Sleiman, who voted for increased trust, accountability, and truly independent oversight.
Like his predecessor, Ron Jones, who called social media postings his “morning comic”, he seemed more concerned with Facebook postings than giving a critical look at administration’s misleading 24-page report. Elliott voted against an Auditor General; just like his predecessor.
(For an example of a balanced report, have a gander at the Town of Markham’s Auditor General presentation given this past April).
Councillor Hilary Payne, in a CBC interview, said he resented the fact Councillor Marra introduced the motion in the first place.
“He’s saying we need a watchdog over the council and I totally resent that …” (CBC News Online, October 29, 2015).
But then in an ironic twist, Payne supported a motion calling on the Province to create a floating Auditor General, you know, to be a watch dog over council – a meaningless motion since the province is asking cities for their input into possible changes to the Municipal Affairs Act anyway.
And he claims it is “… the public [who] may be confused …” (Craig Pearson, Windsor Star, October 30, 2015).
After Borrelli smirked and bullied his way through the council meeting, he took to social media condemning voters (or “pundits”), who had the audacity to believe his auditor general commitment, as “witch hunters” with a “political agenda”. You know, the ones who helped him get elected and voted for him.
Given the often tumultuous history of the auditor general issue, the outcome is not surprising, and it will end-up costing taxpayers more in the long-run.
In addition to the vast legislative authority and latitude an auditor general has, there are several other benefits including developing and enhancing institutional knowledge, more timely and less costly follow-up audits, lower cost per hour to conduct typical audit functions, providing an in-house resource to administration, staff and council to assist with financial decisions, and finally, building and enhancing the trust of the investment and business community.
As a taxpayer, the fact four municipalities have an auditor general is testament to the impressive level of economic development and activity in these same cities.
While strides have been made in Windsor, we need every tool in our arsenal to turn Windsor from the unemployment capital to the employment capital of Canada.
And now we sit, just $286,000 away from even more service cuts or tax increases with Councillor Borrelli lurking on Facebook seeking witches.
Perhaps that’s what he meant when he said he was focused on jobs.