An Apology isn't enough: a full, complete explanation how city Staff produced a newsletter with decisions that had not yet been made is required

By Pepper Parr

December 16th, 2021



Delivered to citizens on the 14th with budget decisions that had not yet been made.

It was less than a fulsome apology and it does beg a number of questions:

Who wrote the article that appeared in City Talk?

Who signed off on the content ?

When did the material go to the printer and when did it get sent to the delivery people ?

All the possible answers suggest City Talk was in one level of production at least four days before it was delivered on the 14th – which suggest that the material was written on the 9th – the day the Budget Standing Committee passed a recommendation that went to Council.

Did the Mayor get her way again – at the expense of the City Manager ?

It also suggest that the Mayor was involved. There is precious little information coming out of the mouths of the other members of Council but it appears that they did not see what was being sent out.

The information sent to citizens was purely political – Staff have no business getting involved in the political drama that pervades the Council Chamber even though as a Council they don’t meet there anymore.

City Manager Tim Commisso

This is no small matter. Anne and Dave Marsden made the point when they wrote us to say: “We find it very difficult to understand why Burlington taxpayers seem to have no understanding of how serious an issue the City Talk issue is. “Correct Anticipation” and “Mountains out of Molehills” leaves one wondering what the Gazette has to do to expose things like this which should have the City up in arms!

How the City Manager let this one take place defies rational explanation.  He knows better.


Related news stories:

The City Talk Newsletter

The City Apology:

The recently issued copy of City Talk, which is managed by City staff, was inadvertently sent out and delivered earlier than anticipated. City communications to residents about Council services and initiatives, like the City budget are never sent out prior to formal City Council approval. As much as possible, City staff work on communication materials like City Talk in advance, however, information isn’t shared till approvals. We apologize for the error.

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6 comments to An Apology isn’t enough: a full, complete explanation how city Staff produced a newsletter with decisions that had not yet been made is required

  • Greg S

    I have no evidence of this, but I wonder if behind closed doors senior City staff boast about how councillors are their puppets.

    • Maggie Riley

      If you have no evidence then why say it? That is irresponsible. If I was to accuse you of some wrong behaviour or inappropriate act without having any evidence to back up my accusation you would be very aggrieved, and rightly so. Please do not spread unsubstantiated statements.

    • How right was Terence October 3, 2020 comment. on “I thought it wax funny etc.” :

      “I have concerns about the current “City Hall” (BCH) approach since in my mind most of tbe “democratic” decisions seem to be pre-determined. Appears from the 2022 budget decision and City Talk Terence might be the one to go to before placing any bets

  • Maggie Riley

    Yes, in a comment to the original Gazette story, I said “correct anticipation” and “mountains out if molehills”, but unlike the Marsdens received no recognition. I assume because it is a contrary position to that of the Gazette and the Marsdens.

    The Gazette on a number of occasions has published a story only to take it down, or has had to publish a correction, because the story initially published was incorrect.

    Businesses and governments routinely prepare different versions of draft press releases to be prepared and to reflect different potential outcomes. Could it not be that someone just did the equivalent of hitting “send” by mistake?

    The subsequent release explains the advanced preparation and that the release was published prior to approvals being received. There is also a clear apology contained.

    This is looking more and more like another Gazette led witch hunt against the Mayor !

    • Tom Muir

      You are sounding like an apologist for the Mayor and the City. The Mayor doesn’t really need anymore. And the City is not really accountable. Don’t expect a fulsome apology or explanation.

      And you use tactics you say others use, in attacking them here – lack of evidence-based facts, just vague accusations of unprovable but irrelevant motives without providing specific examples of guilt.

      This is fallacious argument, called ad hominem – attack the speaker, which you do to everyone else mentioned in the Gazette article. Instead of addressing someone’s argument or position, you irrelevantly attack the person, or some aspect of what they say that you don’t like, or on someone’s character or your assertion of their imputed motive rather than attempt to address the actual issue at hand with evidence of fact.

  • Penny Hersh

    This apology about inadvertently sending out City Talk early is NOT the issue. What is the issue is that budget information that was not approved by the Council was deemed as passing and put into City Talk days before the council met to vote on the budget.

    Those of us who were watching the council meeting knew that the budget vote did not take place until 4PM, and at the same time had in their hands a copy of City Talk indicating that the budget had been passed at 1PM on the same day, December 14th.

    What would have happened if council had not passed the budget? Some people at city hall were very sure that this would pass. Who are they?

    Nothing happens at city hall without it going through a myriad of departments to make certain everything is correct. Where does the buck stop?

    The excuse given by the city is lame and insulting to the intelligence of residents. The mayor and the councillors should be demanding who was responsible for publishing this information days prior to the budget vote, and sharing this information with the residents of Burlington.

    Their silence speaks louder than words. In fact it is deafening.