Another Star Whitewash
By Ian Paulson
(WINDSOR, ON) – I wonder if Eddie Francis can feel his house of cards beginning to crash down around him. His intricate plans, that are detailed plans, probably didn’t include a contingency for failure. Looking at his track record of promising big and never delivering, I would have thought that a detailed plan would include provisions for when things go terribly wrong.
And how about Edgar’s cronies? Are they ready to come forward now that Francis has started down that slippery slope toward disclosure and discovery? Are the sycophants ready to reveal their roles in Eddie’s detailed plans in order to save themselves? As far as the Windsor Star is concerned, apparently not quite yet.
No doubt you have read, or otherwise become aware of, Anne Jarvis’ last few columns. On the surface of it all, she looks like a converted believer, appearing to call out the City over the Auditor General fiasco, but, like so many times before, she fell short and failed the readership by not calling for an audit herself.
Here’s another question. Three years ago, Max Zalev was chairman of the audit committee. He was also CEO of Enwin Utilities, a city-owned corporation which could be subject to a city audit. It was, as people pointed out, a blatant conflict. Today, he’s still chairman of the audit committee and CEO of Enwin. Why? Langlois reported to the audit committee. He had planned to audit Enwin. (A Jarvis, Windsor Star, 8 February 2012)
But that is the track record for Jarvis. With the Tourism debacle she called for the resignations of the board of directors but stopped short with regard to demanding Drew Dilkens step down as well. Then with former Police Chief Gary Smith, she demanded for his head on a platter but failed to address the role of Eddie Francis and the rest of the Police Services Board, who fiddled while senior administration ran amuck.
And now, Jarvis writes an article with the headline “AG Inquiry Needed”, but instead of focusing on the issues she opts to try to draw our attention away from Eddie Francis and shine the light on the City of London, for some strange reason. In another column Anne again attempts to divert our interest from Langlois’ accusations of a toxic workplace and Edgar’s interfering ways, to that of an old issue involving Max Zalev and his obvious conflict of interest.
And now, Jarvis tries to deflect attention away from the main issues of an interfering Eddie Francis toward the red herring of the Integrity Commissioner. In “Windsor’s Priorities Misplaced” a bleary-eyed Annie cries crocodile tears as she tries to infer that the Integrity Commissioner, Bruce Elman, is more interested in leaks from within the City than he is in investigating the Zalev conflict of interest.
The city’s auditor general’s office is imploding. The latest would-be AG, a new, key, highly paid, very public figure, has been fired. Charges of blatant conflict of interest have been levelled again.
But Bruce Elman doesn’t seem concerned about all this. He’s concerned, of all things, that someone on council might have told The Star about it.
It’s The Case of the Misplaced Priorities.
And by the way, the problem isn’t that taxpayers have been told too much. The problem is that we’ve haven’t been told enough.
Elman is “very concerned,” he wrote in a confidential letter to council at its closed meeting Monday, about two stories in The Star Feb. 2. One, by Beatrice Fantoni, reported that the AG had been fired.
The other, by me, reported that council had voted to lease, instead of sell, an environmentally significant woodlot to St.
Clair College as part of the deal to build a new long-term care home. Council had voted at a closed meeting to fire Todd Langlois. A source told Fantoni. A confidential report on the woodlot was discussed at a closed meeting. A source told me about the meeting and gave me the report. That’s what rankled Elman. (A Jarvis, Windsor Star, 10 February 2012)
Jarvis goes on to quote from Elman’s confidential letter, flagrantly announcing that she is above the law. What Jarvis conveniently fails to tell her readers is that Elman cannot act upon the conflict of interest unless there is a complaint from council or a member of the public. As part of his “educational” mandate as provided within the Municipal Act 2001, Elman rightfully addressed the leaks from within the City, as he had been hired to do.
223.3 (1) Without limiting sections 9, 10 and 11, those sections authorize the municipality to appoint an Integrity Commissioner who reports to council and who is responsible for performing in an independent manner the functions assigned by the municipality with respect to,
(a) the application of the code of conduct for members of council and the code of conduct for members of local boards or of either of them;
(b) the application of any procedures, rules and policies of the municipality and local boards governing the ethical behaviour of members of council and of local boards or of either of them; or
(c) both of clauses (a) and (b). 2006, c. 32, Sched. A, s. 98.
Inquiry by Commissioner
223.4 (1) This section applies if the Commissioner conducts an inquiry under this Part,
(a) in respect of a request made by council, a member of council or a member of the public about whether a member of council or of a local board has contravened the code of conduct applicable to the member; or
(b) in respect of a request made by a local board or a member of a local board about whether a member of the local board has contravened the code of conduct applicable to the member. 2006, c. 32, Sched. A, s. 98.
Section 223.4 clearly indicates that Elman first needs a complaint to be registered before conducting an inquiry. As part of the Windsor Star’s proclivity to require its columnists to provide only minimal facts in their columns, Jarvis conveniently misleads the conversation away from Edgar’s actions as accused by Langlois.
Much has been done by the Star in its attempt to protect the mayor, not least of which is the complete and utter absence of any editorial addressing the whole AG/Enwin/WUC/WCUL issue. What role, if any, has Editorial Page Editor John Coleman played in this matter considering his wife Norma’s position in the mayor’s office? Missing in action also is Gord Henderson. Not that his thoughts would be cognizant, but just for interest’s sake. It’s obvious that his old title of “City Hall Watchdog” has been given to Chris Vander Doelen.
But CVD has proven to be a toothless watchdog. His latest articles make one wonder if he more lap dog than pit bull.
Here are just a few of CVD’s misstatements regarding the whole Langlois/Francis debate.
- “There was an audit into the Windsor Utilities Commission that cost $150,000, an audit into construction of the 400 annex at city hall which cost $850,000, and an audit into construction of the WFCU Centre, which was a complete waste of $180,000.” – Untrue, the “audit” of the WFCU Centre was simply a post-construction review, as entitled by KPMG, and uncovered a myriad of improperly conducted transactions.
- “Generally, audits are only conducted if there is a well-founded suspicion that something was amiss with the books.” – Vastly untrue attempt to mislead readers.
- “Subsequent Windsor audits, however, found nothing, nothing and nothing wrong.” – Wrong, wrong, and wrong.
- “As explained in a column last week, Todd Langlois who says he might sue the city’s taxpayers for wrongful dismissal, which would be fun to watch him prove since he signed a contract saying he could be let go at any time if his work was unsatisfactory.” – Again wrong. Langlois (if he decides to sue) will not be suing the taxpayers of Windsor. Also, his employment contract was signed under duress a full month after starting work with the Corporation.
- “Thirteen Windsor officials agreed his work was substandard,” – Again, untrue. Eddie Francis indicated that Langlois did not produce an RFP which has been proven not to be true. There were no other allegations of substandard work.
Vander Doelen let slip that those who question Eddie’s methods and actions are considered to be his “enemies”. This is a very telling aspect of the Francis and Star mindset. All’s fair in love and war, I guess, would explain the Star’s willingness to editorially remain silent while its columnists deflect attention away from the true issues, or willfully mislead readers. The Free Dictionary defines enemy as:
n. pl. en·e·mies
1. One who feels hatred toward, intends injury to, or opposes the interests of another; a foe.
a. A hostile power or force, such as a nation.
b. A member or unit of such a force.
3. A group of foes or hostile forces.
4. Something destructive or injurious in its effects
Eddie Francis must be losing the war for the Star and the writers to be taking such desperate action.
Some people are impressed that Anne Jarvis has “taken Eddie to task” over the AG fiasco. As Square readers, I don’t think it is that easy to pull the wool over your eyes. As you have seen, nothing written by Jarvis is anything more than what her handlers want, while that by CVD has been totally rejected as foolishness, going by the comments on his articles.
Jarvis hasn’t turned a new leaf and Vander Doelen is still factually challenged. With friends like these, who needs enemies?
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