Thanks Grassroots Guelph…

March 1, 2014

No really, thank you.  Any group of citizens who care about the city — its people, its programs, its prosperity, its future, and its finances — who have a concern and bring it out into the open, it is a favour to all of us.  That is the essence of civic engagement and accountability.  It provides the city with an opportunity for true transparency and brings public attention to an issue that might otherwise be overlooked or ignored.

Grassroots Guelph submitted a petition to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs requesting a full independent audit of the city’s finances.   After meeting with the Grassroots group leadership and city officials, the Ministry responded that they feel no additional action is appropriate.  Read the Letter from Minister Jeffery here.

Although the Minister indicated she felt the matter was in good hands, and I have full confidence that the city’s finances and economic future are in excellent shape, the health of our city is still worthy of a robust discussion.

The petition of the Grassroots Guelph group got people talking. This group is not really my cup of tea, as their mandate to date seems narrowly focused on curmudgeonry.

But I like to see the bright side of things.  In this case, kickstarting a community dialogue on the state of the city’s books is a good thing.  I urge the Grassroots leadership to take up the city’s offer to meet and address any outstanding questions and to offer full transparency on Guelph’s finances and financial management policies.  Please….look at our books, ask questions and dig deeper if you don’t understand.

More importantly, if Grassroots Guelph comes up empty and all their concerns and questions addressed, it will be most telling to see if they are able to overcome their political agenda to publicly declare “the financial management of the City of Guelph is in good hands”…..