The Next Municipal Elections are now only One Year Away and the NPCA 10 Have Got to Go
At Long Last, It’s Time For We the People to Vote Out this Wrecking Crew!
A Commentary by Doug Draper, reporter/publisher Niagara At Large
Posted October 14th, 2017 on Niagara At Large
Niagara, Ontario – Who are the NPCA 10?
They are the 10 municipally elected politicians appointed by a Niagara regional council chaired by Al Caslin to sit on the 15-member Board of Directors of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA).
And according to the NPCA’s recently anointed CAO Mark Brickell and Sandy Annunziata, one of the NPCA 10 and a Fort Erie regional councillor who serves as the Board’s chair, at news conference they participated in this October 4th, the NPCA is doing a great job.
It is a leader among Conservation Authorities across Ontario when it comes to transparency and accountability to the public it has a responsibility to serve and there is no harassment or bullying that goes on inside the walls where the NPCA is headquartered – at least not since 2014 (which happens to be the year of the last municipal elections when this edition of appointed board members – give or take a one or two – went to work), according to Brickell and Annunziata.
That is certainly not the way many other people across the Niagara region see it.
Since the latest firings or layoffs or whatever Brickell, Annunziata and company call it of eight front-line NPCA staff, and the filing of a lawsuit by the NPCA against a former employee for breaking some kind of non-disclosure agreement or gag clause she signed when she left her job – a lawsuit the NPCA brass launched after that former employee spoke out about what she considered to be deplorable working conditions at the NPCA – Niagara At Large has posted news and commentary on those matters, and received a number of comments from Niagara area residents that read like this –
“I hope every voter remembers the names of board members at the next election and don’t vote for them. Let them know they work for us and maybe if they don’t get re-elected other councilors will listen to the people,” said one resident in a comment to this NAL news site.
Other residents, fearing negative treatment of the kind they have witnessed over the past three years when everyone from the CAO of the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce to a young pregnant woman who wants to offer some input on code of conduct rules for municipal politicians, or a couple of Brock University students who offer some suggestions to the regional government about planting trees, preferred to email me with their views on a condition that I would not reveal them by name – a sad comment in and of itself.
Those views came bluntly down to people insisting we need a “purge” at the regional government level. We need “regime change,” was the way one person put it.
Call it a purge, regime change or whatever you want. The status quo when it comes to the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority and Niagara’s regional government has got to go.
We have municipal elections next year and you and I and our neighbours across the communities where we live – ALL OF US – have got to start paying more attention and getting more engages in what is going on with our local and regional councils, and with bodies like the NPCA that our councils partner with and we pay millions of dollars in taxes to.
In the meantime, here are the NPCA 10. Remember them.
So there they are – the NPCA 10.
And from what I have witnessed in recent years of the body they’ve been part of as board members – the letting go of good environment workers, some of the questionable hirings, a lawsuit filed against a respected private citizen in the region who has been dogging the NPCA for answers to concerns many Niagara residents and many local municipal councils and some of our MPPs have raised, the recent lawsuit filed against an equally well-respected former NPCA employee for openly raising concerns about working conditions in this organization, and the way a now former NPCA board member and a highly regarded municipal politician in Niagara, Bill Hodgson, was censured by this organization for reasons that have never been fully disclosed to the public. …..
For all of those reasons and more, I would not cast a vote for a single one of these 10 people to serve another term in municipal government – not even if they offered me a 100-per-cent discount on my property taxes over the next four years.
The next municipal elections in Niagara and across the rest of the province are scheduled for October 22nd, 2018 and Niagara At Large will have a lot more news and commentary on the NPCA 10 and others seated on regional council in the months leading up to those elections.
Doug Draper is a veteran reporter who worked as a full-time environment reporter for The St. Catharines Standard for almost two decades during the 1980s and 90s, receiving several awards, including a life-time achievement award from the Canada-U.S. International Joint Commission, for his coverage of Great Lakes issues.
He also spent many years covering the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority during times when it was, in his view,an uncompromising agent for conserving and restoring what remains of our natural heritage in the Niagara area.
Doug Draper continues to champion efforts by individuals and groups to protect our environment through news and commentary posted on Niagara At Large
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“A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders