Are the Burlington Best awards as transparent as they should be?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

February 27, 2015


City hall has announced the closing date for nominations for a BEST AWARD. It is April 7, 2015

There are a number of categories  – all have merit.

What the awards don’t have is an acceptable level of transparency which tarnishes what is an important program that recognizes individual effort to better the community.

Last year there were a number of nominees whose names were put forward by either their spouses, partners or parents.

This is what fan clubs do.

Burlington flagsAn award given by a community with the nomination coming from people who have taken the time to think about who they want to recommend is a true award. When Mom fills in the form and sends it in – it just isn’t quite the same.

The prestige behind the award is paramount to its usefulness. To be a true award with value there can and perhaps should be years when an award is not given.

This city keeps telling anyone with two ears that we are “the best mid-sized city in Canada” There is an opportunity with the Burlington Best awards to begin to behave like one.

There have been comments in the past about people who have “’gamed” the nomination and used the award to start a political career.

In 2011 a small group of people had gathered in the foyer space outside the Council chamber at city hall to talk about John Boich’s health. It was not good and he died several weeks later.

One of the group said to the others” I want to nominate John for an award – the rest of the group immediately agreed and collectively they put together the documents.

John was named the Citizen of the Year several hours before he died in 2011.

The terms of reference for the Awards committee appear to have a sunset date of 2006 – they need an update.

The following are the awards given by the city.

ARTS PERSON of the Year: An individual who has contributed to the arts in Burlington as an artist, patron or advocate including but not limited to, visual arts, media arts, musical arts, performing arts and literary arts.
Citizen of the year: A person whose volunteer activity has made a significant and sustained contribution to the vibrancy and wellbeing of the Burlington community.
Junior Citizen of the year: A high school student, 18 years or younger who has made a significant contribution to the Burlington community.
Senior Citizen of the year: A person, 55 years or older who has advocated on behalf of seniors and/or made a significant contribution to the Burlington community.
Environmental Award: An individual or group that improved and/or protects Burlington’s environment.
Community Service Award: An individual or group whose volunteer activity has contributed to the betterment of the Burlington community.
Heritage Award: An individual who has demonstrated a commitment to the preservation of Burlington’s heritage, and has volunteered their time in an effort to support the preservation of Burlington’s heritage.

There are people who have done some incredible service for both the city and its citizens.  Forms and background on the procedures can be found HERE

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