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Staff scolded by mayor at committee

A desire for accountability was council’s guide at Monday’s committee meeting as they voted to adopt a new Accountability and Transparency Policy for the city.

The policy includes guidelines on how the city should deal with financial matters, internal governance, public participation and information sharing. The city was required to enact such a policy by Jan. 1, 2008, under the provincial Municipal Act.

While approving the policy, council also held Heather Wilson, Vaughan’s director of legal services and the report’s author, along with city manager Michael DeAngelis, accountable for errors in the document.

Councillor Tony Carella caught an incorrect date, while Councillor Alan Shefman pointed out councillors Sandra Racco and Joyce Frustaglio were not on the committee, as the report stated.

Laughter burst out when Shefman drew attention to a mistake in Racco’s last name, saying that “Yeung Racco” was not hyphenated, as it appeared in the report. Mayor Linda Jackson, however, was not amused.

“Members of committee, we have this wonderful staff and we expect them to write reports properly,” Jackson said before turning to the city manager. “I just don’t understand, Mr. DeAngelis, how a director of legal services could totally mess up.

“You’ve put your signature to a report written by a director and the director can’t even get the right names.”

Though he acknowledged the error, DeAngelis defended himself and his staff saying it was “an honest mistake that just wasn’t caught”.

Not satisfied with the answer, Jackson retorted, “We don’t pay directors of legal services to make mistakes.”

Jackson’s comments come on the heels of several recent departures of high-profile city staff, including former city clerk John Leach and former director of engineering services Gary Carroll last month.

Vaughan Today
Online: December 9, 2007 [link]