Vote Dick Carpani for Mayor
  Sarnia Ontario Canada

Two votes for the price of one

I've never seen it before.

At Monday's meeting, city council voted to deny approving a five-year lease for dictaphone equipment for the Sarnia Police Service and then, without a single objection from the floor, calmly changed its collective mind.

At issue was that the equipment was leased late last year by police administration and was only being presented to council for its approval well after the fact.

Following the initial vote, Mayor Mike Bradley interjected, offering his opinion that by turning thumbs down on a lease already in place, council might interfere with the successful efforts of our fine police force because the existing lease would become null and void.

With that caveat on the record and sensing some sober second thoughts, the mayor called for a subsequent vote from council where the result was radically different and, as chair of the police services board, undoubtedly more to his liking.

He ended up breaking a 4-4 tie allowing the motion to succeed.

Despite describing their feeling toward the situation as unhappy, clearly not impressed and not thrilled, the majority of councillors decided not to rock the boat.

But, not Councillor Bev MacDougall.

Although, she didn't speak up as a result of the call for a second vote, she later expressed to the media her anger about the turn of events and accused her colleagues of "choking" when it came time to send a clear message to the police department.

MacDougall said the need for a rap on the knuckles came about because police staff .upgraded failing equipment with a new lease, worth $18,095 annually, without considering all other options, including issuing a request for proposal (RFP) for the equipment and repairing the failing system, as well as the aforementioned exclusion of council in the approval process.

If council is truly serious about finding savings for the ratepayer in city-run departments, making a statement to police administration would have been a huge step forward.

It's also intriguing to note that there were no members of police staff available to council on Monday evening to either answer questions or offer any explanation.

Were they too busy? Or, did they just not want to be caught in the crossfire?

Either way, if my accountability were under attack, I'd be the first to the podium to defend it.

This council, many of whom were elected on a fiscal responsibility platform, missed an opportunity to take a stand this week.

They bought into the assertion our police department would be brought to its knees, if they didn't approve a small cog in a multimillion police department wheel.

If that's the case, we have much larger problems than even the most staunch critic of our police department ever imagined.

(By Barry Wright Sarnia this Week 2005 03 23)


Date This Page Was Last Up-Dated:  October 08, 2006