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Opinion: Say it ain’t so, Lincoln…

By Mike Williscraft

As stated last week when I clearly outlined how Grimsby Councillors Kevin Ritchie and Dave Kadwell would engineer things to ensure they both got a spot on the Grimsby/Lincoln Joint Fire Services Committee – before the meeting happened – I am sad to report I was correct.

Despite the weakness and bias of those particular candidates, there are worse aspects to those fellas acting “in the best interests” of Grimsby on that committee.

The carnival that is Grimsby council was in full flight with multiple cymbal clanging monkeys hard at work through much of the proceedings. I lost track on Points of Order, shouting down of speakers and general chaos. Typical.

For this expenditure of ink I can going to boil a whole giant pile of dung to two key points:

1) The matter of the mayor being one vote at the table, and;
2) The scary slope of Lincoln gravitating to Grimsby levels of operation may have already started before the joint committee even meets.

So, Ritchie – during fits of red-faced agitation – has stated on many occasions the mayor has no special powers at council and, indeed, is just one vote around the table. One of his G5 mates went so far as to call the mayor’s chair a figurehead position. I think that gives all a good indication on just where the five amigos stand in terms of respect for the mayor’s seat.

Here is a little info for the maniacal manipulators.

In the 2018 municipal election G5 members garnered the following votes:

• Ritchie – 1.023
• Kadwell – 1,692
• Randy Vaine – 1,072
• John Dunstall – 852
• Dave Sharpe – 1,485

This totals 6,079.

Now, how many votes did Mayor Jeff Jordan get?

That would be 6,344.

So tell me, of “expert” Grimsby Five who assume they are the greatest thing since sliced bread, who represents more citizens of Grimsby by elected mandate? You all combined, or the mayor?

Aside from all the crap and bafflegab those guys throw at the wall, that is the heart of the issue when it comes to the mayor having more sway than a lowly member of council – and I say that tongue in cheek, as most town councillors are not lowly at all. It’s just Grimsby seems to have more than its share.

The mayor is one vote, but carries the mandate of the entire Town. NOBODY else on council does. Full stop.

When a proposal as important as merging fire services comes down the pipe – and it will only come once – you should be pretty darn sure your most important elected official, the only one on council who carries the ball for the entire Town, is an active, voting member of that committee.

The fact both the Lincoln fire chief and Grimsby’s acting deputy did not even mention past experience when citing what were important characteristics for possible committee members speaks volumes.

Their #1 criteria was an ability to think strategically.

“This should be more of a strategic, higher level policy role vs getting into the nuts and bolts of everyday matters. We’re looking for good leadership and to look at the best interests of council as a whole,” was Chief Greg Hudson’s comment.

Without getting into the mental acuity of Grimsby’s three successful candidates, let’s leave it at other members were far better suited to the position than that trio.

Enough said on that.

On the second point, Lincoln Council, your motives may have been slightly more honourable in allowing for an open vote on the joint fire services committee but you were horribly ill-timed and bass-ackwards in your thinking on this matter.

As noted last week, this matter is a crucial, Town-wide matter. I would love to debate anyone who thinks the mayor should not be an active, voting member of this committee. It is just a horrible look and clearly NOT in the best interests of the council (as the chief put it) or the community as a whole.

By agreeing BEFORE either meeting to fudge the terms of reference to take mayors off as automatic – as noted by Vaine during the Grimsby meeting hours before Lincoln’s special meeting had even started – Lincoln has lowered itself significantly and unfortunately also as I predicted when I heard the matter of a pilot merger was to proceed.

Give your heads a shake, people. Grimsby councillors won’t, but someone in Lincoln should step aside and allow Mayor Sandra Easton a voting position.

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