There were other issues and discussions on Monday night, but let's just get to the last act of this dramedy and talk about Paul Collard's request that the new Acting CAO and the new town attorney take a look at the MOU and a couple of by-laws regarding the Economic Development and Tourism Corporation and its difficult relationship to town council. It is evident to anyone who pays attention to these things that there is a problem between the profane and egotistical head of the arm's length separate entity known as the EDTC, Jim Thibert, and certain members of the current council. It goes back a long way - way back to the previous council when then Ward 6 Councilor Ann Marie Noyes asked for certain updates and information from the EDTC but was denied. She eventually took it to the Freedom of Information Tribunal, lost then won the right to certain documents, some of which are still outstanding.
Council, under a new balance of power, once brought the EDTC issue to the forefront, but eventually backed down using the tough economy as the reason for not attempting any changes. Jim Thibert took the lame duck period between the election and the installation of the new council to initiate a tax-payer-paid lawsuit against me for slander. He has since been quite involved in the Conflict of Interest lawsuit against four councillors and initiated a recent one against Councillor Don Lubberts.
It only stands to reason that the Memo of Understanding and certain by-laws be examined to ascertain whether Thibert was acting in good faith as the corporation's general manager when he initiated lawsuits against his perceived enemies. It would also seem that Thibert is riding a thin line because of doing double duty as the CEO of the Fort Erie Race Track.
Questions that do need answers as well as the need for the EDTC to report regularly to council with its financial information. It was mentioned that Bob Gaye famously challenged to Niagara Parks Commission to open its meetings to the public. The fallout from his complaints caused many changes in how the NPC does business, including meetings open to the public.
Of course, I and many others would like to see Jim Thibert fired for a number of reasons, but he believes he is invulnerable and well-protected from scrutiny or accountability. He operates in his own world of playing golf in the afternoons followed by cocktails at the Tiki Bar at the racetrack.
Nice. Too nice for the taxpayers to have spent close to a million dollars each year to support. How many jobs has our Development Czar brought to Fort Erie? He did manage to save the race track for another season, probably its last, at a cost of over $5 million to the taxpayers topped off with a $500,000 gift from the town's taxpayer's Reserve Fund, built up of tax savings.
If anyone out there just accepting the carefully crafted bovine excrement coming from Jim Thibert's fevered imagination, they need to take a good look (if they ever get the opportunity to do so) at the financials of the EDTC.
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