York Region Taxpayers Coalition made our first deputation to York Council this morning to present the following:
• Appoint an Ombudsman to address the complaints of residents and investigate when government policies are not being followed or when services are being denied unfairly.
• Establish an Integrity Commissioner to develop a Council Code of Conduct and create a lobbyist registry. York Region Council oversees a $2 billion annual budget but has less oversight than most of its member municipalities.
• Appoint an Auditor General to protect public funds against fraud and waste. Part of the Auditor General’s duties would be the creation of a fraud and waste whistle blower hotline to allow York Region
staff and citizens to report instances where public money is not being respected.
We didn’t get to finish the deputation though, because York Region Chair Wayne Emerson interrupted our request for additional time with a resounding “no”, limiting our opportunity to speak on our members’ behalf to a mere 5 minutes.
But Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti did have something to say. He wanted to know about an expense that was approved by the town of Newmarket’s CAO issued last term when York Region Taxpayer Coalition’s president, Maddie Di Muccio, served as a councillor. We’re not sure why Mayor Scarpitti spent over five minutes questioning an expense item Di Muccio had or why he had so much interest in a municipality that he has no jurisdiction in – especially because in today’s meeting the mayor admitted he didn’t realize his own council was bailing out Toronto’s TTC mismanagement to the tune of $60 million with our tax dollars.
At that same meeting, Mayor Scarpitti, who rarely tweets to his constituents, bizarrely took to his Twitter to attack York Region Taxpayer’s president Maddie Di Muccio. “It was unbecoming and frankly embarrassing that a mayor of York Region’s best cities attacked the integrity of our organization,” said Di Muccio. “Our organization is non partisan and seeks to better government. We already represent thousands of members. It’s disappointing to learn that York Region Council refused to welcome our group – but rather reacted to its formation with great hostility.”
Today’s item discussion in York Region Council bailing out the city of Toronto with your money on TTC cost overruns appeared on a revised agenda after we issued our press release announcing our outrage last week- and our members demanding action as a result of that.
“We are thrilled that after today’s deputation, our members contacted us with great willingness to help. York Region Taxpayer’s Coalition is seeking donations to help restore accountability for our overburdened taxpayers,” said Di Muccio.