When there is a messy issue - get in front of it and be candid. Burlington didn't manage to do that on Monday.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

February 4th, 2020



Getting city hall to just be up front and open is very difficult.

City car 2

The vehicle had city markings – the parking spot was clearly marked.

Someone screwed up. A city vehicle was parked in a handicapped spot at Costco.

The city issued a statement over the weekend and later the Director of Transportation issued a written statement and then was interviewed by CBC radio.

It could have gone like this:

The city contracts some of its parking enforcement work to a third party. The city provides a vehicle with city markings.

When we became aware that someone had used the city vehicle improperly we immediately investigated and asked the third party to take their employee off city work.

Burlington will not tolerate this kind of behaviour.

But that isn’t what the city did.

Director of Transportation Vito Tolone said on CBC radio:

Vito Tolone, the city’s director of transportation services, said in a statement Monday morning, the officer involved is “no longer” working for the city.

“He also says the city is following up with the contractor to ensure the same situation doesn’t repeat itself and adds all parking tickets issued by the officer are being reviewed.”

Much of the parking enforcement work is done by the Corps of Commissioners who have high standards. The Corps tends to hire former Armed Forces personnel.

People screw up – fess up and move on.   The email traffic and the telephone calls on this issue must have been wicked Monday morning.  The city might think of appointing a spokesperson who does the radio interviews – it is easy to get confused when you know you are on the air and you might be live.

Vito Tolone Dir Transportation

Vito Tolone, the city’s director of transportation services.

For the public it is a matter of trust; ‘can I believe what they say?’  We the city reverts to that “Best city to live in line …” trust gets a little thin.

Print is a little different – there is usually more time and you can follow up.

Heck of a way for Vito Tolone to cap a career – he has been with the city for 30 years – public speaking isn’t one of his strong points.

Related news stories:

The Gazette original story

The city’s first statement.

The city’s second statement

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2 comments to When there is a messy issue – get in front of it and be candid. Burlington didn’t manage to do that on Monday.

  • Charlie

    Agreed the City should have a media relations officer/communications spokesperson.

    Editor’s note: There are several people who do communications for the city – and there is a Senior communications manager. No spokesperson however.

  • Perryb

    The point her is…?