Sunday, June 23, 2024

At AFLC Meeting He Shouted at the Mayor, You Work For Me

On April 14, 2015 during the Special Council Meeting for the Aurora Family Leisure Complex (AFLC) renovation issues, an angry AFLC member shouted at the Town of Aurora Mayor, “you work for me.” I am not sure if I agree with him. Perhaps in principle the Mayor is working for us. Maybe from a different perspective.

This incident from the AFLC member reminded me of a few power-driven moments during my university schooling. I paid my university tuition. Did that mean university professors worked for me? Maybe in principle they did. Perhaps, I didn’t think that way. They were there to educate and prepare students for future careers and hopefully many thought the same.

“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” ~ Henry Ford

Often, the ‘old school‘ professors applied their own strange rules we often disliked. “You are late, please leave the class,” the professor demanded. The student did. He filed a complaint against the professor. He had a good reason, the public transit was late. It never happened again. Students tried hard not to be late and the professor kept the door open. Nobody wanted to experience that uneasy moment again.

Please take off your hat in my class,” the professor demanded. The student didn’t. The professor snapped and left the class. He was punishing the whole class for one person’s doing. The professor decided to come back. It was just a scare tactic. The student kept his hat on. Perhaps that day he had a good reason. It was very common to have sleepless nights and bad hair days in engineering school. None of the students wore hats to his class till the end of the term. Again, nobody wanted to experience that ‘theatrical‘ moment again. We lost a good half hour of education, for what, stupidity? I thought it was.

None of the students in either situation yelled at the professor, “you work for me.” In both cases professors made up their own rules. Rules that were not exactly fair, and not faculty rules. However, there are rules by default to maintain order in each class. As a student it never even crossed my mind that my professor worked for me. The professors worked for the university. I paid my tuition to the university. The university paid the professors.

A similar scenario applies to our Town of Aurora Mayor. We pay taxes to the Town of Aurora Corporation. Then Town of Aurora Corporation pays salaries to those who are employed with the Town, including our Mayor. I like to think that the Mayor was elected to work with us and not for us. To be more clear, ‘for us‘ is also theoretically correct just not the way it was shouted at the Mayor.

For Town meetings to remain in good order everyone has a chance to speak. The public is allowed to voice their issues. Council listens. When Council starts the meeting it is a very formal procedure. The public can no longer comment or shout from the audience when the Council meeting is taking place. The Mayor didn’t come up with these rules.

Regardless of the circumstances, example being the Aurora Family Leisure Complex (AFLC) renovation issues, sticking to the facts works better than throwing phrases at each other. I think as a community we should work together with the Town and engage in healthy conversation instead.

The point is that those who voted have given our Town Council certain authority and responsibility. Let’s hope that Council along with the Mayor make decisions that are right for the community. In my opinion all sides around the table need to continuously strive for a win-win situation and engagement from the public is just as important as Council decisions. Community continuous feedback, input, comments and views are very important. Often, perseverance and extra work is required. Darn!

Saying “you work for me” does just the opposite, it chokes the system unnecessarily. It may be a fact but it is an irrelevant fact. Yes, let’s stick to the facts that matter, to resolve issues and to influence Council decisions. Perhaps – synergy. Shouting and pointing fingers at each other creates unnecessary tension, even though I am starting to get used to it.

Anna Lozyk Romeo
Aurora, ON


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