Mike, that’s transparency!

An open question to Mayor Gibson

 

Dear Mr. Gibson,

During your electoral campaign you mentioned to me and to pretty much everybody in Kirkland that your goal is to make the work of the Council transparent. In particular, you were promising to make sure that proper minutes are taken during the Council meeting.

What is the status of this promise? I am sure you know that at least the questions must be documented, as stipulated in the Cities and Towns act.

I would appreciate an update from you, preferably at the next Council meeting, on April 7, so that all interested citizens could have the same information.

Sincerely,

S. Brovkin

P.S.: I am sure you remember your promises and your declarations. Many of them have been recorded. For example, on October 15, 2013, on CBC, you had the following memorable dialogue with Mr. Meaney:

Michel Gibson: John, we do not even take the Question Period minutes!
John Meaney: Of course we don’t!
MG: But you don’t want to. Why not, John?
JM: We never had!
MG: That’s transparency!
JM: Mike, you were there for 22 years…
MG: Yes.
JM: … and for 22 years you never once mentioned the comment about why should we …
MG: I did mention it to you!
JM: Oh, go play in traffic.
MG: Okay.

Also, if it helps, the Cities and Towns act, article 322, says the following:

Every question must be filed in writing with the clerk of the municipality. The latter shall, upon receiving it, enter the question in a register which forms part of the records and which may, furthermore, be examined during the sittings of the council.

The Mayor or the chairman of the executive committee shall answer the question at a sitting of the council, either orally or by filing with the council a reply in writing which is entered in the record.

Hope the answer will be given to all the citizens at the meeting and recorded in the minutes.

Posted in elections, Minutes, Personal Opinion | 2 Comments

Hey Kirkland, here’s a solution for you

by Victor Schukhov,
The Montreal Gazette, 15 March 2014.

Sometimes, West Island headlines are so close together that one can’t see that they are solutions to each other’s problems. You know, like telling the trees from the forest.

Take Kirkland, for example, the silly no-left-turn-on-Henri-Daoust-Street town with a deep-rooted desire to outdo Beaconsfield in wonky local laws. Take, for instance, the anal K’s deep-sixing of a local citizen’s group attempt to open a seasonal farmers’ market. A long-in-the-tooth bylaw prohibits the sale of commercial goods in public parks, industrial areas and commercial zones. (If you can’t sell commercial goods in commercial zones where can you sell them?)   Read the entire text here.

Posted in BCA, cross post, Market, Traffic | 1 Comment

From The Gazette, by Cheryl Cornacchia, 11 March 2014.

Plans to open a farmers market in Kirkland were dashed again this week even though the town is now reviewing an antiquated bylaw that could pave the way for the sale of fresh fruits and vegetables outdoors. Continue reading…

Posted in cross post, Market | 1 Comment

Kirkland on CBC Daybreak (with AUDIO)

Shawn Apel reports for CBC Daybreak.
He has worked as a civic affairs reporter and investigative reporter. He reported previously on Kirkland cross-connections issue.

You can listen or read his latest piece on Kirkland here.

 

Posted in cross post, KCA, Meadowbrook | 3 Comments

Council’s 20% pay raises ‘reasonable’: Kirkland mayor

Another article on the pay raise – by Albert Kramberger, The Gazette, 18 February 2014. You can read the entire text here.

The fact that the first noticeable decision of the new Mayor is about paying himself and his buddies 20% more is not a surprise, but the rationale for the hike given by the new Mayor is just – lovely. According to M. Gibson:

–          it is “well deserved”
Although we are yet to witness any promised improvement in the Council activities (e.g., more transparent voting results, minutes taken during the questions period), the Mayor thinks that it is time to get a raise, especially after he has resolutely abandoned the car allowance.

–          they are not paid extra for sitting on the subcommittees
Does that mean that now they WILL BE paid for sitting on the subcommittees? If the nature of work requires a lot of sitting, and that becomes a health hazard after decades of doing what they have been doing, they might need those special pillows. But could you perhaps buy some cheaper ones, available at Jean Coutu?

–          they will be dealing with upcoming rezoning issues and potential redevelopment projects
They will be? So you mean this is an advance payment? That’s a novel approach.

–          the new levels should be good for the next five to seven years,  “not including cost-of-living increases.”
Somewhat confusing… Should that mean that instead of voting for a reasonable 2% increase every year, the mayor decided to avoid these unpleasant comments and play it safe for the next seven years? That’s efficiency, exactly what we want to see in the Town Hall! But wait, could the “not including cost-of-living” clause mean that 2%-a-year increase will follow on top of the present 20%?

–          these new salary rates were determined after considering what fellow mayors and councillors were paid in neighbouring West Island cities.

There was a compilation of West Island’s municipal salaries in The Gazette. True, Dorval civil servants are paid better. But to beat them, we need to build an airport in Kirkland. Or you intend to get ahead just with the salaries first?

Overall, a whopping pay raise of 20% is a good sign: the Town budget is solid and the coffers are full. Would that mean that the Council will find the way to reimburse to the citizens 100% of the costs related to the cross connections, including legal costs incurred by some unwise citizens who had to be disciplined by the Council?

Way to go, M. Gibson! Indeed, it is time to increase the salary of village politicians: eventually it may attract competent people, and our investment will pay back.

Let’s make sure that we hear the answers from the Mayor’s mouth at the Council meetings – on Monday 24 February and 3 March. See you there!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Kirkland plans 20 per cent salary hike for mayor, councillors

By Rhonda Massad
The Suburban, Wednesday, 12 February 2014

At its Feb. 3 council meeting, Kirkland announced that at its next gathering in March, it plans to vote on increasing the salaries of the city’s mayor and councillors by 20 per cent.

The mayor’s salary will increase to $46,617, and each councillor will receive $16,398. The province of Quebec also requires the city to give the mayor and council an expense allowance that will also increase, based on a set formula.

In an interview following the council meeting Kirkland Mayor Michel Gibson stated that the salary of a city employee and that of a councillor are not comparable.

He said that council salaries have been outpaced by inflation and are long overdue for correction.

“This will bring brings Kirkland back in line with neighbouring cities of similar population” he told The Suburban.

Gibson noted that councillors must sit on municipal committees and attend many meetings in addition to the monthly city council. He said that they also meet new residents each month and make sure that all complaints are addressed. “It is a time-consuming job, and this increase reflects that,” he said.

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

At least we beat Beaconsfield

We do it with cities and countries. We do it with universities and sports teams. Now, after numerous planned surveys and comprehensive data collection, all of which I never got around to doing, here is my ranking (1 being tops, 10 being bottoms) of 10 West Island towns. Continue reading…

by Victor Schukov, The Gazette, 23 November 2013.

Posted in cross post, elections, Meadowbrook, Traffic | Leave a comment

News from Neighbours

An article in The Gazette, by Cheryl Cornacchia, 19 Nov. 2013.

While cross-connected sewer pipes continue to be a divisive issue in Kirkland, the same problem, first detected in Pierrefonds-Roxboro in 2010, has been handled quietly through a city of Montreal-run program. Continue reading…

Posted in cross post, Meadowbrook | 4 Comments

Next Council meeting is on Monday, November 11.

Let’s see the new Mayor in action!

Posted in Minutes | Leave a comment

CTV: Off-island and suburban Montreal mayoral results

Nov.3, 2013: For the first time since the 1970s John Meaney will not be representing the city of Kirkland. Having served as councillor and mayor, he was defeated by a mere 500 votes Sunday by Michael Gibson, who had been a councillor for 22 years. (Read more and watch… )

Nov 4, 2013: CTV News at 6 covered Kirkland (at 10:10).

Posted in cross post, elections | 2 Comments