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There’s truth and then there’s truth

The majority of decisions of council are unanimous, not 4-3 votes. That’s a fact.

It’s what councillor John Hill told the museum board as recorded in the minutes of the Jan. 21 meeting.

I did not attend that meeting, but I did attend the January meeting of the Ridgeway Business Improvement Area at which he said the same thing and much more.

So when I read the minutes of the museum meeting recently, my thought was that he trooped to every board and committee to which he is appointed and trotted out the same speech.

He said it to correct information in a letter to the editor, presumably in the Fort Erie Times.

If you include adoption of minutes and motions to adjourn, the overwhelmingly vast majority of decisions of this town council are unanimous.

But it’s the important ones that matter: the decision to reopen the Bay Beach condo zoning after the OMB  endorsed it, the decision to conduct the operational review, the decisions surrounding the hiring of the CAO, the pool, the lighthouse, dissolve the EDTC, and more.

It’s not the fact that these were split decisions. It’s the fact that the splits — like a Thanksgiving wishbone, fractured, separated and irreparable — favoured the daft, idiotic and downright insane options.

My personal favourite series of 4-3 decisions are the ones that have the four councillors, Hill, Paul Collard, Don Lubberts and Bob Steckley, headed to court to defend themselves in a conflict of interest legal action.

Let’s itemize the blindingly stupid 4-3 decisions they made for which they have been called to account in front of a Superior Court judge.

1. The four had problems with the Town solicitor stemming from her refusal to throw the Town into a million-dollar lawsuit by unilaterally breaking the agreement on the Bay Beach condominium plan.

2. The solicitor, Heather Salter, complained to her boss, acting CAO Ron Tripp, about “harassing behaviours” on the part of councillors.

3. The four refused to investigate her complaint.

4. The four then fired her.

5. The four paid her 18 months salary plus $50,000 to relinquish her claims against them personally for the harassment and wrongful dismissal.

5 (repeat, but translated) Salter threatened to sue some of the councillors personally. They responded — in a series of closed meetings — by paying her $50,000 of Town money to keep themselves from being sued.

My very favourite decision of the four was the one to hire a lawyer to threaten me to get me to shut up about the Salter situation, or as I like to call it, the Solicitor Sacking.

Anyway, the bald fact of Hill’s speech to the museum board, the BIA and to whomever else might listen, is correct. But the truth lies elsewhere.

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