Trustees take the pledge agree to act with the highest level of integrity. Really!

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 30, 2014



Here’s a rich one for you.

Three candidates for the public school board have signed a “pledge: to: “act with the highest level of integrity”.

Doesn’t one just do that when they run for public office?

Trustees - OLiver, Dilly, Shuttleworth

School board trustee candidates Joanne Oliver, Mary Dilly and Margo Shuttleworth hold a copy of the pledge they signed.

It sounds like a groom saying to his bride at the altar that he won’t cheat on her.
Joanna Oliver, Mary Dilly and Margo Shuttleworth are all running for seats on the school board where the honorarium is at the $15,000 range. Dilly who has been a school board trustee in the past is using election signs asking people to “re-elect” her – a tactic which some see as miWe’re hoping everyone keeps the best interests of kids in mind, and not their own agendas.sleading.

To sign a pledge to be transparent and act with integrity while demonstrating the opposite in their campaign does not set a good example to the students they are vying to represent.

“We’re hoping everyone keeps the best interests of kids in mind, and not their own agendas,” said Mary Dilly, a former trustee who is running again in Burlington. She created the Halton version of the pledge with Joanna Oliver, running in Oakville, and Margo Shuttleworth, vying for a seat to represent a different Burlington ward.

“We wanted to make the type of pledge that anyone who is running to be a trustee would want to sign, something open and transparent,” added Shuttleworth.

Looks like an advertising gimmick. Why not talk about the way you will represent the students and their parents should you get elected as a trustee.

There is a reason for calling these people trustees – you are supposed to be able to trust them.


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16 comments to Trustees take the pledge agree to “act with the highest level of integrity”. Really?

  • Stacie Dunlop

    Sheila, I implore you to reconsider your thinking. Integrity should be a natural given and not an ad-on. To put it another way to aid in everyone’s thinking on the matter: how would you react to an employee who want to hire who has to express and promise to you that they are either professional or even punctual? Wouldnt you think to yourself that punctuality and showing up on time should be a given and not someone we applaud? Similarly, INTEGRITY should be a given, not the sole possession of the few unique folks who are running and sign a pledge to that effect.

    On another note, how can someone mislead the public so badly as Lynn has outlined. Is Dilly REALLY that desperate for the additional $15k / yr?

  • Sheila Deane

    Justin, what I meant was that with so many stories in the newspapers this past year involving self-interest, lack of transparency and even corruption on the part of city officials (look to the north and east of Burlington) there is growing cynicism amongst people. It would be nice if the values these candidates are pledging to uphold could be taken for granted, but I don’t usually see evidence of that. So I’m glad that they’re upfront with their values and optimistic that they will follow through.

  • Lynn

    I agree the “re-elect” is misleading. That’s the tip of the iceberg. Dilly is also campaigning in Ward 2 telling people at the door that she believes that Burlington Central High School is closing, that the Board will choose to close that school and she is campaigning to save it. It is is not. She says that Nelson has been “taken off” of the list of older schools that the School Board is studying for possible closure or boundary changes. It has not. She is telling people our house prices will fall when Central closes, that when she was a trustee years ago the Board wanted to close Central and spoke of it all the time, etc. etc. I wonder if she tells her ward 1 audience that Aldershot is the school that is closing? There is no integrity in trying to get votes by misleading people and saying things that are completely untrue. She could affect Central’s ability to keep enrolment numbers up (fact: Central’s numbers increased this year, one of only 3 high schools in Burlington that did). I think it’s disgraceful. Voters would be well advised to look at the Halton District School Board website for factual information on the study being undertaken regarding the 6 Burlington schools, or speak to a current trustee (not the one pretending she is a current trustee).

    The Halton District School Board should be very concerned about the things she is saying at the door, as should Burlington Central High School (and Burlington Central Public School – she said they would be closing too).

  • Stacie Dunlop

    This is so pathetic. Posters who claim neutrality should be honest that they are supporting one of these people.
    Who really NEEDS to pledge honesty and integrity? That should be a given – not a new add-on.
    And for signs, its misleading. Implies you are there now. So its dishonest. Its kinda like saying I didnt steal the other kids test, I just read their answers from over their shoulder. Do you not see the distinction here? Saying you’re the incumbent is DISHONEST. Its not just a word indicating experience as some have said. In fact, it shows how desperate some people are to get back into office. Clearly these people NEED the pledge, but I wouldnt trust them if even after they signed it.

  • Justin

    Sheila, I’m told that Ms. Dilly owns a newspaper too.If you are evaluating integrity in jobs, newspapers won’t always do that.Conversations and opinions go the way of the author. You shouldn’t always believe what you read.

    Editor’s note> Ms Dilly does not own a newspaper – she does however sell advertising for snapped.

  • LJ

    These three candidates should be applauded for their willingness to be open minded and proactive about the upcoming election. If this were meant for political gain, would they be offering the pledge up to other candidates? One would hope that all members in a political position would in fact: “act with the highest level of integrity”. However, we have all seen otherwise in past elections at all levels of government. Respectable journalists would interview many candidates and find out the real story before jumping the gun and publishing something I would find in the tabloids. I am surprised to see this in the Gazette.

  • Margo

    I felt compelled to write as I am so disappointed that something so positive can be seen in such a negative light. In signing ‘the pledge’ it was seen as a personal pledge, something that I would, and do, hold myself accountable to. This is a document that simplifies the true positive intentions of, I would hope, any trustee.
    I entered into the decision to run for School Trustee thinking that my experience, knowledge and understanding of many areas of the education system would be a positive asset. Inspired by the document Jennifer Story from Toronto began, the pledge was a personal pledge for what we as trustees would hold ourselves accountable to and what I would think has been an unwritten pledge for many past and present trustees who have advanced the needs of children in the selfless giving of their time, effort and dedication throughout the Board’s history.
    It is regrettable that a pledge clearly and transparently explaining exactly the behaviours one should expect from this position, is spun in such a negative way. Thankfully, my interactions throughout my career have left me with faith in the positivity of students, parents and educational staff.

  • Sheila Deane

    And anyone who thinks “integrity” is a given in these jobs hasn’t been reading the newspapers this past year.

  • Sheila Deane

    Well, re-elect just means to elect for another term of office; it needn’t have anything to do with incumbency. And the word re-elect lets you know the candidate has had this specific experience. Isn’t this a bit silly nit-picking? And inviting vicious slags like what you just got, which degrade the intelligent discourse that ought to characterize civic elections?

  • Catherine Dilly

    To Stacie Dunlop and Mr. Parr. Mary Dilly is my mother. To call her “Dirty Dilly’ is shameful. You don’t even know her. Name calling is 101 under bullying. We don’t put up with it with our children and now adults are doing it on the internet. My mother may not be perfect but she has, all her life, tried to help people. She is running again (the EXACT role she held in 2006 – 2010 – thus “re-elect”) to help kids and parents. Shame on you. Mr. Parr, maybe you need to get a dictionary and look up the word “integrity”.

    Editor’s note: The Gazette did not use that kind of language to describe Ms Dilly

  • JQ Public

    As well-intentioned as this pledge may be, the time to do it is between elections, by the current trustees. This coming out now during an election, from a small group of candidates running, seems to generate free press coverage that their adversaries might just take exception to. They would have a point.

  • Leslie Welch

    I had the pleasure of reading the Toronto Star article about the Toronto Students First Pledge originated by Jennifer Story. It was a wonderful article and I commend Jennifer for writing a very positive pledge that all Toronto trustee candidates have signed. I also appreciated Charles Pascal’s comments about the importance of voting for trustee – a position that is often overlooked on the ballot – but has great significance for the education of our children. There is no surprise that this story has generated other similar pledges – in Halton as noted in this news story, and also the Niagara Catholic Board candidates. All of these candidates have the best of intentions and that is what the pledge is about – it comes from a good place and brings a positive lens to the role of school trustee. Hopefully as a result of these pledges, more people will pay attention to the trustee role, maybe research the candidates and make a more informed vote. This is all positive. That is why I find it very disheartening to see this newspaper and other candidates try to turn this into something negative. It only serves to look poorly upon those making the negative comments.

  • T V

    I am so pleased to see that Candidates are taking a pledge to put my child first, if I could vote for all three of them, I would! My child has been put last for the past 8 years (her entire school career). Don’t believe it? Spend one day in her over-crowded school, where there is no room to play outside because of portables, where there is no computer class, and where renovations are set to take place DURING the school year. If all Trustees (current and running) are putting students first, then shouldn’t their initial response to be sign the pledge and put it out there publicly? I am extremely disappointed to see this type of response, from a media outlet, for a pledge that was created only with the best intentions of Halton children in mind. Guess I should think twice about everything that I read in the Post from now on.

  • Stacie Dunlop

    Dirty Dilly. Not a complimentary double-d I might add. You are not currently an incombent, therefore its entirely misleading to campaign on re-elect. Off to oblivion with you.