CFN – You just can’t make stuff like this up. The Gong Show at City Council in Cornwall Ontario is trying to compete with American Idol. In an odd twist of events it appears that Veteran city councilor, Andre Rivette, who went public with Le Journal’s Greg Kielec and myself last week with some heavy numbers about $1.4 million dollars spent of tax payer dollars on litigation and settlements.
There’s a consistency of style at City Hall emanating from CAO Paul Fitzpatrick and Mayor Bob “St Hubert” Kilger that essentially is of the style “**CK em!” and then the lies and bullying start.
Diane Shay, Anne Marie Pilon, a few other victims I can’t name, this very newspaper, and now Councilor Rivette himself!
Apparently Mayor Kilger called for an extra in camera session of council. What that means is that it’s hush hush and supposed to be secret from the public. Normally there are strict criteria about what is said in camera or even why to have one.
The city routinely has one PRIOR to every city council session. Usually it’s to rehearse for the cameras prior to the live meetings.
Council had several secret in camera meetings during the Robert Menagh termination.
This week council hit a new low by ambushing councilor Rivette. According to a scoop by Greg Kielec at Le Journal LINK
The interview was added to the agenda by Mayor Bob Kilger at the beginning of a closed session prior to Monday’s city council meeting and then the video of the interview was played for all council members to see.
Rivette said the issue should never been relegated to a closed council session because it was not a personnel issue. And he is livid about the liberties that were taken at his expense during the session.
“That is not the way to be treating any council member if you want to have team work.”
Councillor Leslie O’Shaughnessy flatly said “no” when asked by The Journal if he thought council had acted properly. He said he eventually walked out of the session at city hall “because I just didn’t feel comfortable.”
Mayor Bob Kilger defended the decision to air the issue in closed session. “It wasn’t about an interview . . . it was about an identifiable person,” he said this morning. He would not say whether he thought councillors followed proper decorum in the closed session.
For more, please see next week’s issue of The Journal. Follow @gkielec on Twitter for breaking news. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
So the questions continue to mount. Why is the mayor and council continuing to protect CAO Fitzpatrick who is the key culprit and end of the line guy on the massive amount of dollars spent by the city of Cornwall over the terminations of Robert Menagh, Donna Derouchie, and the Shay and Pilon cases as well as others currently under arbitration and still coming forward?
Is it blind loyalty? Election fraud? Does Mr. Fitzpatrick have some spell cast over this motley crew of city councilors?
In private off the record chats this week I’ve been told that there is a 9 to 2 split. The only way to force Mr. Fitzpatrick to resign or be fired is with the support of 6 votes. The problem with in camera meetings is that nothing can go public. The taxpayer has no chance of knowing what’s going on or being said.
It was pretty cowardly and gutless to gang up on Councilor Rivette for what was said in our interview. Kudos to councilor O’Shaughnessy for walking out. It seems the good councilor is wearing out his shoe leather as this isn’t the first meeting he’s walked out on.
There are some good people on council who simply can’t keep hiding under the guise of of in camera secrecy. It’s just not morally right and their good names are being dragged down with the bullies.
As you can see from Councilor Denis Carr; it’s time for him to probably hang it up. Isn’t it already weird for him to be on the pay roll of Heart of the City and be on Council? City employees cannot sit on council; but HOC is essentially doing work that should be done by the City of Cornwall and was funded chiefly from tax dollars. Again, this agency doesn’t fall under the scrutiny that City Hall does. Remember the parking lot on First? A HOC project that cost tax payers $700,000!
Councilor Murphy, King of the meaningless sound bite and coming so close to graduating from the William Shatner School of Dramatic Acting. “Murph” has been a follower so far on council so it would not be a surprise to see him sit there through Mr. Rivette’s ambush. Could you believe there are some at city hall trying to groom this guy to make a run for mayor?
Syd Gardiner, with those eyebrows and some of the lines he’s been spouting the veteran councilor is starting to seem like an extra from Rosemary’s Baby.
No, it’s time for people like Bernadette Clement, a lawyer by sunlight and I’m not sure what by night and Maurice Dupelle to step up to the plate.
Frankly this is getting really really weird. There seem to be no checks and balances right now at City Hall in Cornwall. It’s as though the people the good voters of Cornwall elected have been kidnapped and replaced by robots made in the People’s Republic of China.
Councilor Rivette was very agitated when I spoke to him for this article. He refused to go on camera and I can’t blame him.
I and the voters of Cornwall though can blame the CAO, Mr. Fitzpatrick, Mayor Kilger, and City Council for putting him through this and causing voters; many on fixed incomes a loss of lifestyle.
2% may not sound like much of a tax hike, but that 2% to pay for Mr. Fitzpatrick’s shenanigans will not be removed next year. Instead council will find something else to spend it on and probably add 2 more percent.
Again, Democracy is like a muscle. It needs to be stretched, built up, strengthened so that when you need it, you can SNAP! it into action.
From the bullying going on in Cornwall Ontario emanating from City Hall it sounds like it’s time that citizens start working their Democratic rights out and taking action; perhaps at the next City Council meeting?
You can post your comments below and here’s a clip from this week’s Gong Show as a bonus!