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Citizens press council for answers

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

A pair of residents, one a former mayoral candidate, had a series of questions and some strong words for a council they believe are flaunting the Municipal Act and not abiding by their policies of transparency and accountability.

The first to speak, resident Jeff Davis, raised a series of issues both current and from previous years that illustrate what he describes as a systemic problem with staff members and councillors not being held accountable for their actions.

Specifically, Davis pointed to the approval of the nearly $10-million LED streetlighting project and the facts and funding options that were left out of the report provide to councillors.

As reported in The Oshawa Express last month, the report withheld from councillors included other options for funding the project, including RealTerm Energy covering up to 100 per cent of the project’s cost.

Davis also pointed to a letter he sent to Mayor John Henry almost 10 weeks ago, where he explains many of his concerns, that has not received a response.

“After nearly 10 weeks, I find it appalling that you, Mr. Mayor, can’t answer the questions of a resident,” he said.

“I’m really quite disgusted that you haven’t taken the time to reach out to me.”

Singling out the mayor, Davis said that it is his responsibility to address his concerns.

Former mayoral candidate Lou DeVuono, who ran against Henry in the previous election, had a list of questions he was looking to have answered, including the LED streetlighting project, changes to Oshawa’s purchasing practices that provide more power for staff members, as well as unanswered questions around the confidential attachment to the controversial auditor general’s report in 2013 surrounding the purchase of 199 Wentworth St. E..

“This council must improve their record,” he said.

Neither delegation received any comments or questions from councillors or the mayor during the meeting.

However, speaking after the meeting, Henry says he does not wish to engage in debates with residents, but respects everyone’s ability to speak their minds.

“That’s the great part about democracy, you have the right to come and say what you want,” he said.

“I’m not going to cross debate them, this council has done nothing wrong.”

Henry said he knows he cannot make everyone happy all the time, but added that issues with Davis have been going on for some time.

“It is what it is. I wish I could satisfy them, but no matter what I say to you today is going to make a difference.”