CORNWALL Ontario – Apologies for not writing as much as I normally do for the last while. I was in mourning.
My beloved dog Melly passed away a week ago Saturday.
She was one of the greatest relationships in my life. She was always there, and always will be. Sadly she succumbed to Cancer in her 14th year. It was a beautiful day and she’s now buried under a marble angel.
Losing a loved one always helps put things into a better perspective. At least for me. There’s a lot to put into perspective in this wacky town.
Honestly how can we ever expect to attract good new business and talent to Cornwall when we run our affairs as council is doing at City Hall.
You have the Brock Frost drama. Todd Lihou, late the circus, wrote a piece about Frost leaving. As usual he missed the boat writing about Frost moving to Ottawa when he didn’t realize that Frost didn’t live in Cornwall to start, but Long Sault. Todd’s not big on facts or fact checking. He appears to have missed what would be front page news in 100% of the cities, the Mayor and two councilors being served with papers for being in Conflict of Interest.
The irony is that Lihou has written about Mayor Leslie O’Shaugnessy’s bizarre complaint at the last council meeting about rumors of resignation; something that this media or any other news outlet had not suggested that he had ever stated or shared.
Here is a quote from an article that included an interview with Mayor O’Shaughnessy that appeared in the Freeholder.
“Contacted immediately after Monday’s meeting, O’Shaughnessy said he would be making a public statement on the complaint.
Later on Wednesday he explained that he had solicited a legal opinion on Tuesday, and was seeking a second opinion on Thursday, with the intention of holding a press conference for “selected” media that would not include Gilcig, the owner of the Cornwall Freenews.
O’Shaughnessy also said that any legal expenses incurred as a result of his potential defense would not be billed to city taxpayers.”
That was an odd mess to shart to the media. First off, do you really get a second opinion if you are happy with the first?
Did Mayor O’Shaughnessy or any of the council consult with the Ontario Commissioner for Conflict of Interest? The answer I believe would be negative because the website of the commissioner clearly has examples that would show that it would be conflict to participate or influence in a financial decision related to a body that is asking council for cash.
Also, the city wasn’t served by myself, but the individuals. Why should tax payers foot the bill. Likewise if for some reason Council decided to pay for any legal services for Les, Elaine, and Cari, then shouldn’t they foot the bill for myself?
Friday I was served a nasty letter stated WITH PREJUDICE from David Sherriff Scott of the City’s law firm, BLG.
This is going to be an expensive rodeo that you will be paying for.
When emailed asking to confirm if he was representing the city or the individuals writing the cheque Mr. Scott clearly refused to answer with a yes or no. I actually wrote to him that if he was billing the city that I would hope the series of emails from Friday would not be billed!
The letter confirmed some facts which I had either missed or were never related to the public.
Akwesasne apparently didn’t kick in a dime to the first Benson University study. It was only the city, the counties, and the EOTB run by Denis Thibault who back in 2013 stood up as a councilor supporting this initiative.
THE EOTB is run by provincial tax dollars. While not in conflict it certainly feels incestuous.
That study, which was not delivered after one year, or two, but three did not deliver. But the group came back with a new plan and again asked for hard cash.
And at that council meeting Councilor David Murphy recused himself as he works for Benson’s. Carilyne Hebert recused herself clearly stating that she was on the steering committee, only to be dissuaded by Mayor O’Shaughnessy who spoke to the matter about his own voting and Councilor Elaine MacDonald who said that she didn’t perceive a conflict because people would never volunteer for these groups otherwise.
There are choices we make. All three of those people made the choice and decided to be in clear conflict.
Does it make sense for City Lawyers to drag it out at great cost to tax payers when we can’t even support our 33 year old public art gallery?
You can’t make this stuff up. It’s all on the city’s own video.
The Municipal Act is a very weak piece of legislature. For a member of the public to have to risk great cost and get nasty threatening emails from huge law firms is not the way to administer justice.
It needs to be amended, but at the end of the day our elected officials take an oath to put the best interest of the corporation first as opposed to petty personal vendettas and mayhem.
Another question is if BLG is representing the elected officials personally would that in of itself be a Conflict of Interest as it’s council that decides who gets the legal contracts? Did BLG or the City consult the COI Commish about that one?
For a man that condemned former Mayor Bob Kilger Leslie O’Shaugnessy is rapidly climbing the rankings for the Hypocrite of the Year Award.
Mayor O’Shaugnessy, and the councilors need to do the right thing as much as Brock Frost needs to do the right thing.
But mostly the tax payers of Cornwall Ontario need to do the right thing and demand that these folks stop wasting money that could be better spent.
And of course none of this would have transpired if Gerry Benson, the Kanebs, and others who have greatly benefited from our fair city had kicked in the cash themselves instead of parasiting it from the public. Of course that could be why they have more cash than the average city resident in the first place.
While some are stating that those on the steering committee don’t benefit the reality is that the fame from a successful project helps get people re-elected and last that I checked elected officials earn cash; in the mayor’s case probably much more than he made in real estate.
What do you think dear CFN viewers? You can post your comments below.