Unless you have been living under a stone for the last couple of weeks, then you know the story about the Dwight-Lite Library credit card scandal. I have no intention of going through it again in this Article.
Frankly, it is inexplicable. He has confessed. His admission of wrongdoing is public for everyone to see. The amount of money is significant. So far it is around $15,000. More importantly, the cover-up by Dwight-Lite was even worse. The contradictions as facts came out just made him look more and more guilty as the days went on.
To be honest, I think he has gotten off too lightly so far. I am sure you understand what I mean by that. I can imagine what would have happened to a City or Library employee who was in the same circumstances. They would have been long gone from their job and even worse.
I take with a huge grain of salt the suggestion being made that the Councillor was in a fragile emotional state that required professional counseling. There is no doubt whatsoever that he needed counseling but not of the psychological brand as far as I am concerned. There is no doubt in my mind that he did receive professional counseling that told him to keep his mouth shut for once except for the few times that he still felt the urge to go on Facebook or to re-Tweet.
Events have resulted in him being protected: deferring his Council meeting attendance, the salvage job type columns, the involvement of the Integrity Commissioner, the backing off of Councillors, pointing the finger of blame at others, the lack of a forensic audit, the inability to hold Library Board meetings.
While certainly not part of this, the deferral of the Windsor Police Services Board meeting and the lack of attendance by the CEO at the Tuesday Council Meeting are certainly fortuitous happenings for the Councillor.
I expect that the Councillor won’t resign. He certainly is giving every indication of that. Oh we will get the usual apologies and the promise to do better in the future. That transcript can be written with one’s eyes closed these days. I will be very disappointed in the Councillor if he plays that game but I expect that he will.
He can resign from the Library where he made the mess in the first place. He can resign from the Catholic School Board even though he did not use their credit card knowing that it would be “wrong.” He can resign because it would be a distraction for those Organizations. However, he will NOT resign from Council. I wonder how he can explain that considering that it will be the biggest distraction of all if he remains.
In my view, not resigning would be political suicide for him, even worse than resigning. I do not expect the howls against him to cease after Tuesday night if he decides to stay on. I expect them to intensify. Look for more YouTube videos too if he decides to stay on.
He really will be a “dead man walking” politically because he will not be a member of any Council Committees and who on Council will support him for anything, especially for improvements in his Ward. After their comments, the Councillors would be obliged to shun him or they will look extremely hypocritical. Ward 10 residents would crucify him during the next election after years of negativity that will be directed to him. In effect, his constituents will have been disenfranchised for two years.
Let us assume that Dwight-Lite still wants to be on Council and wants to prove to everyone that he has learned his lesson and that he wants to be the best Councillor ever. How can he do that? In my opinion, there is only one way.
Dwight-Lite needs to say at Council on Tuesday that he will resign. However, there has to be one big “BUT.” He needs to say that he will resign only if Council agrees before he does so to hold a by-election in his Ward for his replacement as soon as possible.
Forget the scare tactics of how much a by-election would cost. There is a price to pay for Democracy. And if it is only $70,000, that is peanuts. Perhaps if the Mayor could use the telephone or Skype with video rather than flying everywhere in the world, we could recover that amount fairly quickly.
The Councillor should say that he will NOT resign if Council decides to appoint someone to replace him. He should say that it is the wrong thing to do.
That should earn him a few kudos. He would be effectively saying that he is not prepared to have Council appoint someone from the Old Boy/Girl Network to replace him. He should say that he is not interested in having another rubber stamp on Council.
If the Councillor is as confident as I think that he is that he could be re-elected, then he has absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain. If the people of Ward 10 decide to re-elect him, then the electorate has spoken. He would no longer be able to be blackballed by his colleagues. They would have to put him back on Committees whether they wanted to or not.
If on the other hand, Council won’t go along with him about a by-election, then he could win in two years from now. He would remain on Council and would be able to blame them for him being there. He could point at them and call them anti-democratic for two solid years, gaining credibility as they lose theirs. Moreover, they have the risk that he will not be quiet and will start talking about matters at City Hall that bothered him.
The last thing Councillor Maghnieh needs right now is to listen to professional counselors who are going to destroy his career and him with their advice. He needs to deal with what he has done and act in the best interest of Windsorites if he really is serious about having a political career in the future.
The only way he can do so is by resigning with a big “BUT.”