We Deserve A Niagara Regional Council That Puts The Needs Of Our Communities First
A Brief News Commentary by Doug Draper
Posted September 21st, 2018 on Niagara At Large
It is just one alarming revelation after another around the conduct of Niagara Region’s CAO Carmen D’Angelo, the Region’s Chair Al Caslin and a cast of characters playing senior roles in and around Caslin’s office.
All of it – the revelations over D’Angelo’s hiring, Caslin’s unilateral decision to extend the length of D’Angelo’s contract and furnish him a golden parachute should he be forced to leave, and on and on and on – is eating up countless hours of regional council time that should be spent on building a healthier, more prosperous Niagara for present and future generations.
And God know, how many hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars it is continuing to us in high-priced lawyers and consultants, and staff time.
This September 21st yet one more revelation was posted online, thanks, once again, to excellent investigative reporting by The St. Catharines Standard and award-winning journalist Grant LaFleche, who members of Caslin’s cabal on the regional council have been doing everything they can to try to discredit with insulting, Trump-like garbage.
This time, the story is about an internal communications audit done on the Region more than a year ago – an audit that we, the residents of Niagara paid for with our taxes – that was cancelled because it contained some comments critical of D’Angelo’s performance as the Region’s chief administrative officer (CAO).
“According to sources with knowledge of the audit, the criticisms upset D’Angelo and he and (Jason) Tamming (formerly Caslin’s communications director and now the Region’s director of communications) wanted them removed from the report,” says The Standard report.
“Before the work could be completed,” continues The Standard’s report. “D’Angelo and Tamming also wanted to take the project away from Sevigny (an outside expert hired to do the audit) and turn it over to Peter Wadsworth, the then newly hired director of human resources.”
“It was the most outrageous interference of a third-party audit by corporate leadership that I have ever seen in all my years in government and communication,” said former regional communications employee Darrell Neufeld, who was part of the project team.
Neufeld said he “strongly objected” to giving the audit to Wadsworth, since the point was to get unvarnished staff comment about the Region, which may include comments about senior staff.
“That is why it has to be a third party audit,” he said.”
You can and should read the entire story by Standard reporter Grant LaFleche, and I will post a link to the story below.
But before I do, I will leave you who are my fellow citizens in this Niagara region with this,
Enough is enough!
We have people across this region looking for decent jobs; we have people with health problems who need long-term care;, we have families lined up for affordable housing; we have home and business owners who deserve to have their household waste picked up on time; we have people who need accessible transit services; and we have neighbourhoods and communities that have been waiting for years to have roads and other infrastructure built or repaired.
And the list of things that need to be done and the challenges facing our region goes on and on.
It is time for a majority of our directly elected councillors and mayors who sit on the Region’s council – and not just the same brave few – to finally show more respect for the people of Niagara.
It is time for them to hold an emergency session of the council as soon as possible, and agree to exercise every option available to fire – with cause so taxpayers are not left holding the bag – D’Angelo and any other senior member of staff involved in all of this backroom, self-serving crap we have been learning ever more about in recent months.
It is also time for the rest of us in Niagara to take full advantage of the upcoming October 22nd municipal elections to fire all those on the regional council, staring with Caslin who is a candidate for a seat on the council in St. Catharines, who have been playing lead roles in supporting all of this garbage and in attacking others, including fellow councillors and members of the media and public, who have been trying to get to the bottom of what is going on.
If you are wondering who some of those who have in various ways, have supported or enabled this mess and are running for another term of office, here is at least a partial list.
In no particular order, those who should be fired by the voters include St. Catharines regional councillor Bruce Timms, Niagara Falls regional councillors Bob Gale and Selina Volpatti, Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati, Fort Erie regional councillor Sandy Annunziata, Grimsby regional councillor Tony Quirk, West Lincoln Mayor Doug Joyner, Niagara-on-the-Lake Lord Mayor Patrick Darte, Welland Mayor Frank Campion, Welland regional councillor Welland regional councillor Paul Grenier and Pelham regional councillor Brian Baty.
(I apologize now if I left one or more others who should be on this list out. Others who would be on it but are not running again include Niagara Falls regional councillor Bart Maves, Port Colborne regional councillor David Barrick and Wainfleet Mayor April Jeffs.)
The good news is this.
There are good candidates running for mayor or a directly elected seat in every municipality across Niagara.
Please do yourself and the future of our Niagara region a favour, and do some homework in the days and weeks ahead to find out who they are.
Now here is the link to The St. Catharines Standard story posted online this September 21st and ready to be published in the paper version of The Standard this Saturday, September 22nd.
Please read it and share it with your friends and neighbours, and do everything you can to support local news media.
Oh yes, here is the link to The Standard story – https://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/news-story/8917602-regional-survey-critical-of-d-angelo-buried/ .
Just a P.S. – Contact your mayor and directly elected members of Niagara Region’s council and demand that they do whatever is necessary to put an end to the garbage going on in regional government now.
Some members of the council may argue that they can’t hire or fire a senior staff member now because it is too close to an election …. it is a “lame duck” council. Don’t take that for an answer. Tell them that you want to see them do whatever they can to address this mess anyway.
Tell them that you will be watching and you will be voting.
Here is a link for the contact information for your mayor and regional councillors – https://www.niagararegion.ca/government/council/profiles/default.aspx .
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“A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders