Updated: Aug 14
Jeff Davis has spent the past 9 years honing his research skills on the processes of the City of Oshawa, particularly with respect to decision making that led to the purchase of 3 properties to build the Consolidated Operations Centre in 2013. Some might remember the infamous report AG-13-09 in which the city’s own Auditor General questioned the decision making process and suggested that the city might have over-paid for the property acquired from Durham College at the time. Long story short, the City of Oshawa would refuse to renew the Auditor General’s contract, the City Manager/CAO at the time would depart a year before his contract was finished, Council hired a not so independent municipal lawyer to investigate the report (but not the actual spending or decision making processes), and eventually the city would be forced to release more than 6000 pages of documents relating to the tainted Consolidated Operations Depot project.
Many things were revealed in those 9 years of Freedom of Information filings, appeals to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, and repeated denials by the City. Staff affidavits were later proven false or misleading, failed processes and defiant delays, distractions, denials, and deflections used to thwart Accountability and Transparency, as mandated by the Municipal Act, 2001 and MFIPPA were uncovered.
Members of Council over the past three terms have refused to acknowledge the failures of the City in that decision making process. They have refused to engage with the questions and accusations. They have refused to support the quest for a greater level of Accountability and Transparency to the citizens of Oshawa relating to their stewardship of public funds – tax levies.
The process to win appeals at the highest level meant delving deep into the City’s policies, procedures, and practices. It meant understanding the purchasing policies, the chains of command of decision making, the procedures for records retention, the city’s legal obligations under MFIPPA and the Municipal Act, the city’s own by-laws and research techniques of the city’s website when staff refused to cooperate.
And win we did! The City was forced to release more than 6000 pages of documents relating to the land purchases for the Consolidated Operations Depot. Many senior staff exited the City of Oshawa. We won a precedent setting appeal that granted us access to a Councillor’s private emails as she was deemed to have been completing ‘city work’ from her personal email account. Our work brought about many changes, improvements, and upgrades to city processes.
It was a huge learning curve, a formidable challenge, and a great educational experience.
With the newfound knowledge of the city’s website, I was able to gather considerable information, insights and techniques that would later allow me to assist many residents and businesses experiencing difficulties with city policy, by-laws or programs.
After more than 8 years of FOI requests and IPC appeals, it was clear that we would never get the full answers to our questions and we would never change the decisions that built the Consolidate Works Depot at 199 Wentworth Street, so we wound down and exhausted our appeals. The purpose was to prevent further transgressions of decision-making power without proper due diligence for taxpayer funds.
I am proud of the accomplishments of a small group of concerned citizens that took an active interest in the workings of the City of Oshawa, questioning the processes and not accepting of the political responses instead of true answers.
I am pleased to have been able to assist a variety of residents and businesses to successfully navigate sometimes challenging city processes.
But more needs to be done to improve Accountability and Transparency and build confidence in our City administration for the taxpayers.
I feel it is time to use my acquired knowledge to assist more residents and businesses, on a larger scale, to understand the processes of the City of Oshawa, to have their collective voices heard, to effect more positive change to the City and citizens.
We need responsible decision making. I can offer that with a willingness to ask the tough questions, to seek the answers and to ensure the due diligence rather than rubber stamping the recommendations.
We need the interests of the citizens to be foremost in the decision-making process. I can promise to be your ear and your voice, open to your concerns and comments, and will advocate for greater public consultation and engagement with the voters. I will answer your phone calls, emails and questions and get you the answers you deserve.
We need a council committed to serving the people. I can promise you the time to devote to the issues, to read the reports, to attend the meetings and to vote with good conscience for the people of Ward 4 and Oshawa.
Why run for Regional Councillor rather than City Councillor?
I have spoken to many of the candidates running for City Councillor, Ward 4, and I believe that in most cases they are aware of the additional time constraints to being a Regional and City Councillor. I have the available time to commit to the position of Regional and City Councillor that some may not. My experience gained over the past 9 years researching the city of Oshawa includes time spent researching and following the actions of Regional Councillors, and I feel confident in my ability to learn quickly and advance my knowledge base at the upper tier level. The processes are nearly identical. Rather than complicate the vote at the City Councillor level, I believe we need a great deal of change on Council and I welcome and thank those candidates who have put their name forward for the Local Council position.
Please let me know the issues you have, where we need to focus and what we need to accomplish in the next four years of Council. I need your feedback in order to best represent your views. Contact Jeff Davis, Candidate for Regional and City Councillor, Ward 4 firstname.lastname@example.org