"You can't handle the truth" or is it "Can you handle the truth" RM #3 et al.

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"You can't handle the truth" or is it "Can you handle the truth" RM #3 et al.

Oct 5, 2019 | 05:22 1 Well lets consider the hot off the press Ombudsman Saskatchewan findings and recommendations aimed at helping the Council understand their responsibilities under the Municipalites Act to provide good government,and to understand the conflict of interest rules and what steps are required in a matter before the council.

Guess what was given to RM council members (months ago) in June 2019 and then to go on to second guess what might be the council reaction.

Well, as of yesterday's beginning of the release of the findings and recommendations to the public at large; the facts are coming out. The Summary of Investigation is promised to be placed on the Ombudsman web site.

Just for clarification the Final Investigation reports of the Ombudsman states "We determined that it is in the public interest to make the summary public and we will be putting it on our web site"

And just to get the facts out before the "spin" begins; readers will find that the now released June 2019 RM#3 resolution from the official minutes reveals (and make abundantly clear"); that the passed and recorded motion completely rejected all Ombudsman recommendations. This Council decision; and the seven page summary report; make it abundantly clear how errant a path this entire council has followed and will continue to follow into the foreseeable future. What was found were instances of self-interest being served. The details are provided in the summary; along with an unpalatable potential remedy that coulld/would fail because of inexperience and "honest mistakes".

My conclusions coincidentally seem to align with what the Ombudsman found on the ground. Meetings to discuss council business in private; excluding staff from proceedings; not following legal advice; instances of council enabling self interest to prevail; thwarting release of documents and the opportunity of electorate to become meaningfully involved; and council rejection of suggestions that would seem to be imminently appropriate to any reasonable persons etc. etc.

The Ombudsman report appears quite clearly to not have sole applicability to this one RM. And that allegation keeps showing up as complaints directed to the Ombudsman's office.

So... HERE IS A SERIOUS QUESTION
How do the readers interpret quotes such as:

" This RM, like many others does not seem to understand what constitutes a conflict of interest...... "


And

This case does, however, highlight that some members of the RM Council do not understand and fully appreciate the vital importance of each of them fully and wholeheartedly embracing the ethical principles underpinning the municipal conflict of interest rules in theMunicipalities Act "

Perhaps all it takes for evil to prevail is for the electorate to do nothing. Lots of that going around??? Reply With Quote
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  • Oct 5, 2019 | 06:31 2 Thanks for posting this. I was on Rm council for a number of years and I decided to step down this past spring. I watched a reeve with a personal agenda sway council repeatedly for nothing more than his own self serving interests, made decisions on RM business with the help of a few "well oiled stooges" usually before the meetings were held , only to spring it on the rest of the council and get his way in a vote in the end. When you have a councilor who rents the Reeve's farmland, a councilor who rents the Reeve's pasture , a councilor who went on numerous winter holidays, and a couple of councilors that want to put a stop to all of it but can't win in a vote , you do not have a functioning council at all! On top of that we also have a contract grader operator who is in control of the roads , not the councilors in each of their divisions, and most of the secondary roads never getting graded because of a "personal agenda" with a Reeve backing him every step of the way.

    This is what happens when people are on these organizations for waaayyy too long , and it is probably like this in a lot of communities. As far as I am concerned , amalgamation can't come soon enough. A pissant RM of 9 townships like we have in my are can / could be absorbed into the neighboring RM's and the expenses would be cut down dramatically.

    These are my thoughts, and after what I experienced , I am sticking to them. Reply With Quote
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  • Oct 5, 2019 | 07:24 3 The only reason we didn't go to a county sustenance was that the NDP suggested it....

    It's time to look at the option again.... Reply With Quote
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  • farmaholic's Avatar Oct 5, 2019 | 08:02 4
    Quote Originally Posted by GALAXIE500 View Post
    This is what happens when people are on these organizations for waaayyy too long , and it is probably like this in a lot of communities. As far as I am concerned , amalgamation can't come soon enough. A pissant RM of 9 townships like we have in my are can / could be absorbed into the neighboring RM's and the expenses would be cut down dramatically.
    What's the answer? Two, three or four terms and you're out?
    There might be an unwillingness for new people to serve.
    The pool of people to draw from is generally small in some cases...especially rural.
    So you're stuck with the same crew even if you think they're doing a poor job.
    In most cases, there isn't enough work or money to pay councillors enough to make it their sole job.
    I bet Voter/Ratepayer base has continued to shrink, therefore fewer people to draw prospective councillors from and each representing fewer people. (Read p.s.)

    But none of that speaks to the reason the tread was started inn the first place.


    p.s. our RM consists of 12 townships, 6(2 township) divisions. "From the outside" I suggested 4 three township divisions.
    But in all honesty it ISN'T a huge added cost to have two more divisions.....councillor remuneration isn't that great here.
    The savings would come from fewer office staff and a road crew spread over larger amalgamated RM's. But we are doing quite well the way we are, we don't rely mostly-solely on Agricultural land as the only tax base. Reply With Quote
    Oct 5, 2019 | 08:05 5 Govt corruption increases the closer you are to it.

    Feds - bad
    Province - pretty Bad
    City and towns - Really bad
    RMs - holy f Reply With Quote
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  • Oct 7, 2019 | 20:11 6 Open your eyes; especially once the Ombudsman report is posted. There are things that are very,very wrong; and not just with one or two individuals. ENTIRE COUNCIL's CAN BE THE REAL ENABLERS with no one understanding or admitting what they are doing is equally as bad as any US political situation.

    Today it was learned that the reason every last shred of previously available RM web site minutes were taken down because council members decided they shouldn't have to suffer what they consider is inappropriate repeating of the minutes word for word. It wasn't so much a cost issue as was first claimed.
    And for those willing to pay a hundred or so bucks a year for the minutes; it was mentioned that all references to names would be redacted. WHEN questioned about including the attached monthly financial pages and list of disbursements; it was very uncertain answer about it being a council decision and La FOIP kept seeming to be brought up as a reason to be very concerned about any release.

    I sure hope any smart kid given the Council and democracy speel (which I've seen always includes an openness and public accountability speech given to 4-H and Cadets) would be seen as the sham it is within the next few minutes of sitting in the gallery.

    But don't worry; I'm confident that municipal advisors; and even provincial government departments; and Privacy Commissioners are at the stage of saying "I hear you". You'll soon see the Ombudsman summary posted (because it has been determined to be in the public interest to do so). Im just waiting for someone to repeat the June council decision about how receptive "our" particular body remains to the Ombudsman recommendations.

    Sometimes justice is best served cold to those smug enough to over rule their own legal counsel advice; commonly defying the laws they are obliged to adhere to; and offending their electorate; and listening only to their own echoes within otherwise empty chambers and public meeting forums dealing with local issues. Self-interests and close business and family associate should get offenders the 12 year layoff from any elected service. The excuse of an Oxymoron like "honest mistakes" and rookies inexperience should be limited to one or less true brain farts under only stressful emergency situations. Are there ever actually meant to be any consequences even when told time and time again that some behavior is absolutely avoidable??
    And the regulators are beginning to say so more than once in a conversation; and one day; there will be changes because so very few people (both the good ones or the very corrupt ones) have done much; if anything; about the numerous egregious situations that get proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Reply With Quote
    Oct 7, 2019 | 22:37 7 And did I mention a tax bill that is about 40% larger (for identical farm land assessment) compared to the adjacent RM.

    Poor business skills have their costs. Example:
    Accepting a road tender that was tendered to include the applicable taxes ....and then paying out 11% more because of an "error" in contractor's tender has to cost somebody. Or was it just a gift at the expense of the ratepayers. Imagine how the other companies felt about losing out to someone who got more due to what really ended up being a higher bid?
    And $20,200 for that Ombudsman identified promotion of a self interest wasn't paid out of any councillor incompetence fund. Which subsequently lead to another 10G's that was not expected; not requested nor asked for and was told that clearly all money should be returned.

    How would anyone ever find out if the auditors noticed such "honest mistakes"

    Just for your info...anyone outside council trying to have any conversation with council's legal team...or their auditors will find that their professional position is that such information/approach is totally inappropriate and you will immediately be told who hires their services; and to whom they will answer. Reply With Quote
    Oct 8, 2019 | 10:25 8 I have served 3 terms on council and never again after I finally learned my lesson. Getting involved to counter those with self interests seems a noble effort but when you wrestle with pigs everyone ends up covered in mud. Reply With Quote