Open government may still be just a mirage

City staff appear to be running the show in Victoria

Re: No more sitting on information, and Our View (News, Sept. 26)

Victoria Coun. Lisa Helps should stick with her initial reaction of being mad at staff for withholding $34 million of information from council for nearly two years.

True, council does not have a policy, but where is the common sense of managers paid upwards of $1,000 a day to keep council up to speed? What were the discussions? “So, there is a $34-million elephant in the room. Should we tell council? No, I guess not, since there is no bylaw telling us to.”

Sounds like the Mulroney scam on why he never mentioned the envelopes stuffed with money because nobody asked. It is a case of coverup or no common sense. We know Fortin and his Dean Team are beholden to the unions and managers, but had higher hopes for the newcomers.

Victoria News and Focus magazine are to be commended for ferreting out these secrets being kept from councillors and thus the taxpayers. We may be naïve to expect that managers and the $600-a-day p.r. types should consider who pays the bills and disclose the information accordingly, but surely the elected councillors should demand some integrity and accountability from the civil service.

There was hope for open city government, but as long as the overpaid staff can run roughshod over democracy, with the acquiescence of council, that shall not come to pass.

Patrick Murphy

Victoria