So, I’ve decided to move most of my comments from eBrandon to this blog. At least here I am not feeding the trolls as much.
So, it seems that there is nothing to see in our fine city. At least this is according to the lawyer hired by the city to review the actions of our mayor, Shari Decter Hirst, in her role as part of the Renaissance Brandon organization. The councillors voted by majority that they would accept the verbal opinion of legal council, put this behind them, and move on.
The Brandon Sun concurs.
I’m afraid both may be wrong.
The first reaction of course came from the aforementioned eBrandon. Some people are pissed. It is obvious that some are pissed because it is about SDH, for some strange reason, they just hate her. Oh well, they are allowed their opinion. That being said, there is something here.
First, those that say that she should have known better are right. Her husband is part of the Strand Project board. She, as mayor, is on the Renaissance Brandon Board. She also owns property across the street from the Strand. The Strand Project was asking Renaissance Brandon for money.
With what little knowledge I have of the job of a politician, I do know that even at the slight appearance of a COI, you recuse yourself. Regardless of intent, it was a boneheaded move.
The thing is, it is now known that it went beyond that. Murray Blight, last night on CKLQ radio was interviewed and said, “Yes, there was a conflict of interest…” He goes on further about how they believe it was an honest error and therefore did not want to pursue it. Really? Do they even have that option? If there is a conflict, is it not the Court of Queens Bench who has the sole responsibility of making that decision, not council? I would think that if the lawyer said that there was a conflict of interest, it should be forwarded to the court. If for no other reason than to avoid the appearance of a private club looking to protect one of its own.
In politics, appearance means everything, and council missed this one completely.
As for the Brandon Sun, I mostly agree with today’s editorial. However, it is the right of any elector of the city of Brandon to apply to the court on this matter, so saying that they should respect the council’s decision is hogwash. I for one do not think council has the right to make this decision (I’m not a lawyer, so I could be wrong), but I do know that a judge does.
I generally support Shari Decter Hirst. I, like the Brandon Sun, believe that she is “the right mayor at the right time” for our city. My only real bone to pick with her was the whole Sportsplex issue. I believe that it is a waste of money. However, I also understand that she made election promises to support the Sportsplex. On the whole, I believe the city is in better hands than if the incumbent had won.
She has done something not so smart. Unintentional or not, it has possible legal implications. Had council thought about this, the correct conclusion would have been the following statement. “After careful consideration, we, the remaining members of Council have reviewed the legal opinion of legal council and have determined that our Mayor is possibly in a conflict of interest. While we do not believe that there was any improper motive, we have instructed the city clerk to seek a declaration from the court so that we, and the Mayor, can put this matter behind us, and our city.”
This needs to be reviewed by a judge, or SDH will always have a cloud hanging over her. Hopefully, a judge rules in her favour, or we lose a good mayor. If we lose a good mayor, she has only herself to blame. The air needs to be cleared.
This needs to go to a judge.