A well-intended gesture by Mississauga city manager has been targeted by a saboteur who in the process may have become target. The simple act of forwarding an internal memo to the media constituted a breach of code of conduct and justified an investigation according to Councillors Pat Mullin and Jim Tovey. Can Mississauga city council flush out the person at the centre of the malicious act?
It started when when Mississauga city manager Janice Baker sent a memo offering for the city to pay for $350 tickets for Mayor Hazel McCallion’s 90th birthday celebration for a total cost to taxpayers of $10,000. McCallion had committed proceeds from the celebration to be contributed to Sheridan College in Mississauga, what most people would consider a worthy cause.
In itself such an offer does not fall outside the custom in many government and corporate organizations, but is it the right thing to do? Given the length of term that McCallion has had as Mississauga Mayor and the extra-ordinary results she’s achieved as far as being a mayor certainly demands recognition of some sort. The woman political leader who has fought and won many battles and modernized a city is by any definition an inspiration to women everywhere. Her practical and competent decisions and management style are precisely what are needed in city hall. So from a social engineering perspective alone we should acknowledge and celebrate this leader’s 90th birthday. We should treat our best with the respect and acknowledgement they deserve.
From a financial perspective, an investment in an educational institute within your city and supporting the success of a big ‘bash’ will bring money into the city. It will also set an example of the calibre of events that can be held in Mississauga. Since Mississauga is so close to Toronto, it suffers from the shadow of the giant complex. People look to the light of Toronto for their high profile events and overlook nearby cities like Mississauga. What better way to show the event planners that they can have a great event in the city than to show them a great event?
The reason I’ve mentioned this is to point out that if anyone had Mississauga in their best interests they would be supporting the event, rather than trying to criticize something positive the city manager tried to do. Instead a memo was maliciously released in an attempt to sabotage city council…and it may have worked. However, the attempt may have worked so well that the saboteur may have made himself or herself a target.
During a council meeting this past Wednesday, Councillor Katie Mahoney asked for an investigation into who forwarded the memo, “I would ask IT (the department that manages internet communications) to come do a search of all my equipment in my office and my home.”
Makes sense to me. You find that there may be a saboteur within your organization so you investigate – right? Well, Councillor Adams doesn’t seem to agree. Councillor Eve Adams commented “To me this seems like a very bizarre discussion. We’re not addressing the meat of the issue.” I’m not sure what Adams considers to be the “meat” of the issue, but apparently she may not believe that sabotage is the issue.
Councillor Ron Starr commented that “It becomes a toxic environment because we’re looking over our shoulders the whole time.” Starr makes an excellent point and I myself would ask how can an organization run effectively if individuals are worried some opportunistic saboteur is going to use memos and correspondence out of context to try and manipulate situations to their own agenda?
The cost of having a saboteur within your organization is much greater than any cost of finding and removing that individual. The sooner they find this person the sooner council can go back to focusing on their business and running more efficiently.
If Mahoney pushes ahead with her investigation I predict that she will find much more than just a saboteur. She’ll probably also find a lot of things taking place that the Mississauga taxpayers wouldn’t agree with and which may also be detrimental to the re-election of specific councillors. It would certainly be a step towards having a cleaner council.