Thursday, March 08, 2007

More Fireworks In Montague

Well, I missed the last council meeting, unfortunately, so this little rant will be based on the reporting in Smiths Falls This Week. Apparently, Don Page has written to Council and asked them to pay an addition $7,500 in legal fees he incurred in the infamous lawsuit.

Council began to discuss this letter, but was interrupted by Bill Eckersley, who reminded them of the resolution passed at their first meeting, which stated that Council would put the matter of the lawsuit behind them and would "not initiate further action or discussion... unless legal proceedings dictate otherwise."

This now leaves Council with two problems. The first is a question of logic. Don Page's letter requires a response, whether 'yes', 'no' or something in between. How can Council reach a decision on the response without discussing the issue, and how can they discuss it when Mr. Eckersley's ill-thought out resolution has painted them into a corner? We may be treated to the ungainly spectacle of Council resolving themselves out of a resolution. A productive use of time, no doubt. Still, there is a silver lining in all of this - it is a first for Mr. Eckersley to prefer few words of discussion to many... many... many... many.... many...

The second question is what Council's response should be. I'm not in favour of Council paying Mr. Page any more legal costs. Firstly, the court decided that the $15,000 he already received was a reasonable amount; for Council to pay more would be to disregard the outcome of the lawsuit and the verdict of the court. Second, Mr. Page's friends mounted a legal defence fund for him at the time; we'd need to be sure that this fund was included before his out-of-pocket expenses were calculated. Third, while I think Mr. Eckersley's resolution was poorly worded, I agree with its spirit. The matter of the lawsuit is closed and should be laid to rest. Fourth, as a taxpayer, I feel that the previous council's blunders have cost us enough.

Having said all that, the next meeting of Council promises to be interesting. And on a final note, if I were Lita Richards, I'd be feeling that I peaked way too soon with that letter to This Week. She'd have had another piece of ammunition if she'd only waited a few days....