The Road to Transparency and Accountability is Paved with?

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Newly paved Brookview Cres.

In the mid-1980s, New Zealand was faced with an economic crisis, the incoming government had little choice but to bring in radical and far-reaching  changes both at the macro and micro levels.

One important change was the requirement for all village, town and cities alike to implement GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) as well as complete reports available to citizens on all projects so that when you began comparing performance you were comparing apples to apples so to speak.

Saint John doesn’t currently have GAAP in place. Remember the Frontier Groups review of 133 cities in Canada  (2008) that placed Saint John in last place in terms of financial transparency and accountability?

Perhaps if we were to have in place measures similar to those deployed in new Zealand at the height of their crisis we could avoid the following situation.

The attached  is a correspondence forwarded to me by Brian Stone  regarding the recently paved Brookview Cres on the West side that strongly suggests, anecdotally a lack of transparency and accountability.

Mayor Mel & Councillors. Attached are copies of my original email plus the 2 page reply to you from Bill Edwards.

My response is:
1. This ‘circle the wagons’ & ‘shoot the messenger’ reply is about what I expected.
2. I do not know Mr Thibideau. Have never met him. Know nothing about him.
For Mr Edwards to imply that I had some personal motive in raising this matter is beyond the pale.
I am proud of my reputation as an honest, forthright, straight shooter. I take grave exception to the questioning of my motives and the unfounded and wilful attempt to besmirch my character.
I am simply a citizen doing his duty and should not have to tolerate such treatment.
Be assured that, unless I receive a prompt & unequivocal apology & retraction I will not hesitate to pursue this matter legally.
3. Mr Edwards states that citizens do not normally request ’disciplinary action’ in regards to perceived problems.
That is probably right because they know it is a waste of time. When was the last time any member of city management was ‘disciplined.’

4. If the criteria for a full repaving job on Brookview Cres was that, as Mr Edwards states, it had‘deteriorated to such an extent that pedestrians were subject to tripping hazards,’  this would apply to 90% of the roads in the city.
Most of them are significantly more highly travelled by the general public than this purely residential street. It strikes me that the major hazards that occurred was from the residents’ falling over themselves to thank Mr Thibodeau, as he has been prone to brag about to all and sundry.

5. I have it on good authority that this street was way down on the paving priority list and due to have some patching work, but was suddenly raised to the top and totally repaved. (This, I am sure, can be substantiated by looking at the records)

6. I am quite aware that the city has over 600 employees, incl management. I never suggested that all work done to the roads on which they live is ’innapropriate.’ That would be stupid. Doesn’t that, in fact, attach more credence to the concerns in  this particular case.

7. Ask City employees. You will find that, increasingly and with good reason, they have little respect for their management and thus are highly de-motivated by situations they witness daily.8. Mr Edwards’ cynical response goes to the heart of the management problems that have long existed. It was and is the fervent hope of the citizens & employees alike that, at last, THIS TIME we have a council that will act in their interests..
 Quite frankly, I never expected any action other than this carefully crafted response so it comes as no surprise.
However, I reiterate that a prompt apology is expected as above.
Yours respectfully, Brian Stone 886 Millidge Ave 
On the issue of “Transparency”:  Given the nature of Mr. Stones letter the first question the popped into my mind was: Is a  list of priority streets to be paved available with any time and date stamps to indicate changes and why?
Such a list would go a long way towards clearing up any suggestions of “favouritism” based on position or pull wouldn’t it?
I have attached a picture of Brookview Cres. taken within the past few days as well as a picture taken prior to the repaving.

Brookview Cres. before repaving

I have also attached a picture of Albert Street in the North end, one of the many streets in the City that are beyond patching.
If you were making the decisions which street would you say is in the greater need?

Main and Albert St.

PlanSJ’s objective is to encourage redevelopment of areas such as the Old North End, what is the likely hood of infill development in the north end in the absence of infrastructure investments and improvement by the City?
It’s a rhetorical question, the answer is NONE.
Your thoughts and opinions are welcomed.
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One response to “The Road to Transparency and Accountability is Paved with?”

  1. harmony

    How right you are.

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