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Open government is on life support

Thu, 03/09/2017 - 14:54 -- Chris Cooke

Nancy Wright-Laking and Diane Gould-Brown have something in common.

They both have hyphenated last names. They both are highly paid bureaucrats. And they both forget that their employer is the taxpayer.

Wright-Laking is the former clerk of Sarnia. Gould-Brown is the current clerk of Sarnia.

Wright-Laking left in 2015 after Mayor Mike had issues with her and indicated as much.

Now, we have Gould-Brown who hasn’t any contact with the mayor but apparently fails to appreciate that taxpayers like Margaret Bird just want to know what the Hell is going on at City Hall and how much it costs.

One would view that as an easy question with an easy answer but apparently not so.

“Too much work” according to City Manager Margaret Misek–Evans who blew off Councillor David Boushy after he requested details and asked why Gould-Brown wasn’t responding to Margaret Bird.

We know that harassment lawyer Lauren Bernardi billed $289,000.00 and Integrity Commissioner Robert Swayze got into our jeans for $80,000.00 in the harassment and bullying allegations against the mayor.

City engineer Andre Morin, who likes to dabble in politics and play deputy city manager, provided that information. We suspect he was less than thrilled.

But Bird believes the meter is still running and is attempting to get Gould-Brown, Morin, and Misek–Evans and finance director Lisa Armstrong to provide full disclosure.

Gould-Brown told Bird she would have to use the Freedom of Information Act to get more. Bird is doing just that.

She is focused on all the costs not just what City Hall bureaucrats want to provide.

For political reasons our weak and ineffective Council appears to be disinterested and freedom of information is in jeopardy.

Which brings me to Wright-Laking. In her new position as clerk of Lakeshore (Grand Band and area) she caught the anger of a Councillor James Finlay after he accused her of interference and withholding public information from Council.

What we have here among bureaucrats is institutional arrogance.

Open government is on life support.

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