| Jun 26, 2008

Feature Article - June 26, 2008

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Feature Article - June 26, 2008 auditor Happy With County: North Frontenac mayor Not So MuchBy Jeff GreenThe annual visit from the county auditor, Vicki Leakey from KPMG, was filled with numbers and talk about reserve reserve funds (there is such a thing), but mostly Leakey came to sing the praises of the county finance department.

“There is nothing in the audit that is of any concern to us,” Leakey said, “it was a clean audit”.

County council did not get much time to bask in the glory of their audit, however, earning the scorn of one of their own over a seemingly innocuous housekeeping resolution. The resolution was necessary for the county to receive $38,500 from a provincial fund to help finance a community consultation process as part of the development of a county-wide Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP).

Faced with a resolution “... the County of Frontenac confirms its commitment to develop a community sustainability plan which will include a sustainable community vision and sustainability targets”, North Frontenac Mayor Ron Maguire proposed an amendment which would have added the clause, “in consultation with local First Nations” after “County of Frontenac”.

Maguire, who is a retired federal bureaucrat with the Federal Indian and Northern Affairs department, and the mayor of a township that has been mired in a year-long dispute between First Nations and a uranium mining exploration company, said, “This is the kind of consultation that is necessary today; you don't come up with something and then present it for comment by First Nations after the fact.”

Mayor Janet Gutowski said, “First Nations are included in the consultation plan, they will be part of the process. I don't think they need to be part of this resolution, which is only about applying for a grant.”

“First Nations are not just another group; they are equal partners,” Maguire said.

When asked by County Chief Administrative Officer Liz Savill to comment on Maguire's amendment, Dianna Bratina, the Manager for Economic Development, said, “It would be a little too narrow to add only First Nations to the motion; it should probably say in consultation with the four constituent municipalities as well.”

The amendment was defeated, and Maguire voted against the resolution when it was passed in a 3-1 recorded vote a few minutes later.

There was no reference during the relatively short council meeting to the fact that, upon Maguire's urging, North Frontenac Council has decided to explore the feasibility of leaving Frontenac County.

Perhaps as a further sign of his disenchantment with the county and the three fellow mayors on the council, Maguire did not vote to support County Warden Jim Vanden Hoek in his quest to be appointed as a member of the Board of the Ontario Municipal Association when a motion to that effect was proposed near the end of the meeting.

The motion carried in a 3-1 vote.

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