Here’s a submission from the latest issue of the Mud Creek News. This article is by Mr. Becker. We post it as received.
A coup d’etat at Town Hall?
Wolfville’s blackest Monday in 2010
Lutz E. Becker / January 19, 2011
On December 20, 2010 the “old gang” under Brideau/Stead flexed its muscles and showed Councilmen Irving and Laceby the door. The Planning Services PAC (PSPAC), chaired by Irving and the Economic & Community Development PAC (ECDPAC), chaired by Laceby, were abolished and a new super-committee with additional powers was created.
Irving and Laceby were given those important functions after they were elected in 2008. Irving did an outstanding professional job and Laceby tried very hard to achieve measurable results under given Wolfville circumstances. In addition, Irving chaired the Fiscal Sustainability Task Force and produced a final report at the end of September last year. This report took 18 months and concluded on its 87 pages “that Wolfville is not fiscally sustainable on its current path”. For this outcome Wolfville citizens should thank Brideau and Stead and partly members of the “old gang”, who have governed Wolfville during the past up to 10 years while tax payers’ money had been wasted and the current and ongoing financial mess had been created. The “kindergarten game” after Councilman Irving’s presentation at the Fire Hall in early January this year was used as a distraction and did not help to state or clarify who has been responsible for this kind of mismanagement and financial mess.
To me it was absolutely clear that Irving and Laceby were not wanted in power positions any longer. They obviously had asked the right (unwanted and/or inconvenient) questions and at least tried to oppose certain moves of the Brideau/Stead clique and its puppets during their past two plus years in office. This was not appreciated by the “old gang” which had lead Wolfville on a way into bankruptcy (read my article in the MCN in October 2010 – www.mud-creek-news.ca) or from a citizen’s point of view towards drastic tax increases with no end to be seen.
Anyhow, coming back to the motions passed on December 20th, from a power-play point of view it was a brilliant move of Brideau/Stead to ask for the termination of important committees like the PSPAC and the ECDPAC and unite all of them under a new kind of super-committee. I regard it as a fait accompli of Brideau and Stead for they could rely on the votes of the “old gang” to make sure that inconvenient and unmanageable Councilmen like Irving and Laceby would not be in important positions any longer or even members on this super-committee. To me, these planned actions started already before the December meeting when the Brideau/Stead-pleaser Simpson became replaced with the Brideau/Stead-pleaser Mangle as Deputy Mayor. On December 22th the “old gang” – undoubtedly as planned in advance – voted for Councilman and former “Volunteer Theatre Manager” Zimmerman to chair this new super-committee and for Councilman Simpson to play the second required Councillor on board. In the past the same Councillor Zimmerman had the impertinence to ask Council for $25,000.00 in total of tax payers’ money for the Acadia Cinema Coop without any necessity at all, for the Cinema announced in 2009 that it and Just us! intended to fully repay the mortgage in the amount of $359,100.00 in 2011 after making payments for 6 years only (my article in the MCN, July 2009).
And to me it was an additional charade to learn that the other members of this new super-committee were selected in a “private” session (without public participation or knowledge) by Brideau, Stead and Mangle. Looking at the published names I have a clear understanding of the criteria Brideau, Stead and Mangle used to select “convenient and manageable” people only. Top planning skills and experience had obviously not a high priority during the “private” selection process.
Of course, all of these brilliant moves of Brideau and Stead were absolutely legal because the “old gang” voted for them and provided the majority of votes. When I spoke to Councilman Oldham after the meeting with regards to the “blackest Monday of 2010” he claimed that he was unable to understand my concerns or what I was talking about. He had been either sucked in or had his own agenda which may not favour common interests of Wolfville citizens.
Furthermore, I regarded it as an insult to Councilman Irving after the Brideau/Stead/Mangle clique had offered him a position to protect the ground water in Wolfville. Not that this function is not important but I felt for Councilman Irving when he declined such a nomination and asked elected Zimmerman to take that task up as well.
The disinterest of Wolfville citizens of what is and has been going on at Town Hall got “awarded”. As a result I believe that all these maybe unaware but disinterested citizens deserve such a government and the pending tax increases. Regarding the second half of this government term a “dead horse issue” it would be stupid of me to invest additional time and money to try to “beat” this “dead horse”. Brideau and Stead have manifested their power and will be in the remainder of the term and maybe even the next term “untouchable”. My honest efforts for change and for a better Wolfville are over. I wonder, if Stead will provide Brideau with an (in the first instance) illegal letter again on or before March 31, 2011 regarding increases to his already exorbitant salary and huge and out of order contributions to his retirement funds. With this power structure Brideau can expect no questions and no problems on this matter.
Personally, with this article I shall resign from my position as an editor of MCN and it will be up to my friend and lawyer, Mr. David Daniels, to carry on with the bad news.
I regard the political careers of Mr. Irving and Mr. Laceby as councillors in Wolfville as over. It won’t matter anymore what they do or say during council sessions. But staying with the “old gang” will “taint” them and make them part of what the “old gang” has done and/or will do. Hopefully, they will come to the same conclusion. The only way out – as I see it – is to resign on the spot and maybe catch the attention of the media for a couple of days while talking openly about their experiences as Councillors with Brideau, Stead and the other “old gang” members during the past two years in office. Then there is a much better chance that Wolfville citizens will learn something important and when the next election will come up Mr. Irving’s and Mr. Laceby’s bravery (including their losses of monthly remunerations and their losses of fringe benefits as government officials) will not be forgotten. I am absolutely certain that Mr. Irving and Mr. Laceby make top mayor and/or councillor potential.
There is still some hope left for change and FOR A BETTER WOLFVILLE! in the future.