(WINDSOR, ON) – After following the latest auditor general saga, it hit a few pundits on the head, like falling debris from the Ambassador Bridge or the Paul Martin building. In a flash, they knew why the city does not now need an Auditor General and why its first was let go under dubious circumstances.
As the local paper reported on February 9, 2012, the surprising dismissal of the city’s first auditor general happened, “… 13 days after he filed a three-year work plan that called for a wide-ranging investigation of municipal departments and agencies.”
But, the tipping point for Todd Langlois was him having the temerity to consider carrying out a, “… risk assessment of the $78-million downtown aquatic centre.”
It did him in.
Langlois, reported the paper, confessed that city management tried to steer him away from, “… things that are important …” and this included the now money-losing aquatics centre. He was continually told, “… it’s too premature to look at the aquatics centre. Well, no it’s not. I was doing what I was hired to do and that’s protect taxpayers.”
He was gone simply because Eddie Francis, the city’s then failed mayor, seemed to want no one to arrest his ascent to the world stage by hosting the minor event known as the International Children’s Games. Francis was living a life in dreamy Technicolor in which he was worldly significant and might even have believed the world was coming to Windsor.
A clear and present danger was Langlois exposing all the flaws in that unbalanced dream, including the pool not being needed for the Games and that the world, particularly its media, was not coming to Windsor.
Neither were world stature athletes.
Under Games rules, each child, some as young as thirteen, must participate in three events each, even if they were not qualified in the sport.
Langlois, no doubt, would have found the odds of primetime competitive world swimmers arriving in the city, and needing an Olympic pool, being quite low. Games participants are most often from towns and villages rather than major metropolitan centres, and do not represent their nations.
Swimming, if carried out, could have been staged at Adie Knox. If the FINA swimmers, expected here next year, are content with a 25-metre temporary pool, at the east end arena, surely the kids could have splashed at the Knox and saved Windsor millions.
Langlois would also have found out that much of the information about the Games was pretend and, no doubt, he would have advised the city to reconsider being associated with an organization extremely lax in correcting misinformation.
Such pretence included the Games being the largest youth gathering in the world. The Youth Olympics holds that title.
Another is the stretched myth the Games are sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee. The fact is, the Committee only recognized the Games organizers with a pat on the back.
With Langlois out of the way, Francis could proceed on his reckless path.
This was more than confirmed when he ignored the wishes of taxpayers. More than 40 attended the council meeting to approve the pool. They earnestly tried to convince him to slow down and do proper due diligence.
They were ignored and so was democracy.
Not much has changed. The city must now steamroll forward to build a new city hall to honour Francis. Most likely, although this is speculation, it will be christened the Eddie Francis Municipal Centre.
The Francis Council wants no one to interrupt its wasteful plan to erect yet another monument. Unquestionably, this is why it wants no Auditor General, now.
An Auditor General could delve into why Essex solved all the problems Windsor’s old doll faces by spending $6 million to revamp its municipal centre, and not the $70 or $80 million Windsor will lavish on a not needed new hall.
But, here’s the brilliance of the council’s plan.
Just before the next municipal election, and well after the hall project can be stopped, it might reverse its Auditor General decision and promise to, if re-elected, reinstate the AG. It will be a promise to ignore if re-elected.
Robert Tuomi can be heard at 8:30 pm every Monday evening and noon every Wednesday co-hosting Talkin’ ‘Bout Windsor on CJAM 99.1 FM. Listen on demand to previous episodes or catch the discussion live and join in. Talkin’ ‘Bout Windsor is broadcast every Monday and Wednesday to the Windsor and Detroit listening area and streamed online at CJAM.