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Justin Altmann: Presiding over Chaos

All is not well in Whitchurch-Stouffville if we are to believe the Toronto Star.  

Tuesday's front page splash by Noor Javed paints a picture of a dysfunctional Council with a "CSI-style" wall in Mayor Justin Altmann's office washroom

 "that displayed dozens of photos and names of fellow and former councillors, members of the public, and town staffers who have either been dismissed or resigned from their jobs in recent years."

Maybe the Mayor has trouble remembering names and this is his own - admittedly unusual - aide mémoire.

More concerning perhaps is the way the Town is going through staff. The turnover is unbelievably high. I had no idea the former Chief Administrative Officer Marc Pourvahidi has been on administrative leave for over a year and is on an eye-watering salary of $447,289.

It makes Newmarket's Bob Shelton - who gets $247,641 - look like a poor country cousin.

I am quiet and like to listen

From time to time I see Justin Altmann at York Regional Council. He says he is a quiet man who likes to listen. In fact, he contributes even less than Tony Van Trappist who snoozes through meetings, totally oblivious to what is happening around him. 

Personally, I expect more from our representatives than being mute lumps of lard. The members of York Regional Council get a "stipend" of  $54,337. For this, I expect them to be active participants in debates, not gawping spectators.

Of course, politicians have a duty to listen to their constituents and to others. But they cannot shelter in silence, like Newmarket's Tony Van Trappist, unwilling or unable to express a view.

At first I thought Mayor Altmann was a deep thinker, weighing the pros and cons before pronouncing. But when he refused to pronounce on anything I pretty much wrote him off.

Torrent of questions

Then there was a remarkable contribution last November when Altmann unleashed a torrent of questions about housing on the unsuspecting Chief Planner, Valerie  Shuttleworth - all in one go. She couldn't possibly answer a dozen questions all rolled up into this humungous omnibus question. And she didn't try to.

At the time I thought, how strange. It was more than a stream of consciousness.

It was like the dam had burst. And after months of bottling-up his contributions and saying nothing it all came cascading out.

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Update on 8 July 2017. Saturday's Toronto Star has more on the Mayor's "creepy" washroom.


 

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