Letter to the Editor – Re: Time to wipe the slate clean

Filed under: Opinion |

Re: Time to wipe the slate clean, June 1, 2017

It is not often I read an article in any of the various papers and feel the need to respond. I’ve been told by several very experienced politicians not to get into a war of words in the press, that in most instances the general public will read between the lines and know there are other influences behind the story that are not being told.

Last week, the Essex Free Press printed an “opinion” article by one of its freelance reporters. In that article, he stated that Essex Town Council is, “No longer capable of governing this community,” in his opinion. But what exactly makes him an expert in knowing this? The fact that he has been to a handful of public Essex Council meetings? Maybe one or two budget meetings?

For the most part, not all, but most councillors spend many of their evenings sitting in meetings with committees of council, special meetings for council, and other various committees throughout our Town in order to make our community a better place. And, in many instances, councillors are making decisions with the ultimate goal of having the Town of Essex operate and move forward in a direction that Council was elected to do.

There’s not one councillor who would ever purposely try to bring down the Town of Essex. I would go as far as to say that ALL councillors I have ever had the pleasure of serving with have been very passionate about our community. Not all have agreed with each other in which direction the community should move, but ALL have a passion to see our community become a better place.

Decisions made by Council are not done on a “whim” or by “knee jerk” reactions. All the I’s must be dotted, All the t’s must be crossed. Before I was on council, this frustrated me and was part of my decision to become a councillor. I wanted the red tape cut out. But now that I am part of Council, I see the reasoning.

As a member of Council, you must research to ensure you are making the best decision possible, search out expert advice. Council members are NOT experts in every field (just as reporters are NOT experts in every field). Council expects administration and consultants to bring forward the best information possible in order for the correct and best decisions to be made, as Council is responsible to taxpayers for this.

Reporters are always hounding council members for information, and in some instances for information that we as Council members are NOT allowed to divulge, for reasons of protecting an individual’s rights and privacy, and for reasons which could potentially put the Town at a legal disadvantage. The situation with the dismissal of our CAO happens to be just one of many decisions Council has made that falls into this category. The decision was not made on a “whim” or by “knee jerk” reaction. There was a process that was followed and the conclusion is known.

Stories are often written to make the topic more interesting to readers. Facts are sometime stretched, assumptions are sometimes stated, but what I can say is that a large majority of Council made the decision to make a change in our management in order to ensure the goals of our community are being met. End of story.

Richard Meloche
Deputy Mayor