Compounding “conflict of” interest

Karaoke

In 2009 Sher St. Kitts (of St. Kitts Music) was elected to the position of “Special Events Coordinator” for the Aurora Farmers Market (and Artisan Fair).

The Aurora Citizen is reporting that she has recently stepped down from that position : http://auroracitizen.ca/2010/04/20/news-flash-sher-st-kitts-resigns-from-farmers-market/

It is now unclear as to what role, if any, Sher will have at this year’s Farmers Market.

For the past 2 years the Aurora Farmers Market (and Artisan Fair) has used the bandstand at town park for special events.  It has done so by contracting with St. Kitts Music, an outside for-profit company. 

In any other professional business environment a special events coordinator that uses her own companies services presents a conflict of interest, but somehow here in integrity-void Aurora this is ignored.

In the council meeting from April 14th 2009 there was debate regarding fees being waived for special events coordinated by the Aurora Farmers Market (and Artisan Fair).

You can watch the video here, starting @ 2:02:00:
http://www.rogerstv.com/option.asp?lid=237&rid=70&mid=52&gid=61385#38_120_3103

Councilor Buck raised the issue regarding the Farmers Market asking for fees for the bandstand being waived for 11 special events.

An approximate cost was given of $300 / event.
This would be ,as the mayor put it “the cost for the bandstand to a person off the street.”

11 events would bring the total revenue loss to the town at $3300 per year.

St. Kitts Music is a private venture, and as far as I am aware The Aurora Farmers Market is a private venture.  However Councilor Gaertner referred the Aurora Farmers market as a “Committee of Council.”

So which is it? 

Am I the only other citizen that believes, like Councilor Buck, that if a private venture wishes to use the service of the Bandstand then they should bloody well budget for it and pay the user fees?

Councilor Buck emphasized that her question was if the $3300 was the Farmers Market budget, to which the answer was no.

It seems as though there was extensive planning for events that made use of the bandstand so how could this fee not be in the Farmers Market Budget?   

How can such an oversight be made?  Did St. Kitts music just assume that these fees would be waived?

Councilor Evilina said that the fees should be waived simply because the town benefits , she then goes on to stating that it would be worth 20 x the amount.  Councilor MacHeckron therefore evaluated the 11 special events at $66,000!

That without consultation with the public, and that you should pay for it.

If Councilor MacHeckron seriously believes that the Aurora Farmers Market (and Artisan Fair) is as she claims “the envy of other municipalities”, and that in part is due to 11 special events that she would be willing to spend $66,000 of town money to provide then she needs to seek therapy.

Also Councilor Gaertner seemed to be convinced that these events are “All for the benefit of Aurora”.  

I guess by Gaertner’s logic St. Kitts Music doesn’t benefit at all from these events and should not be asked to participate in the cost. 

Whatever.

The conflict of interest only gets compounded.

In 2008 Michael Moran proposed the “Aurora Arts & Music Festival (AAMF) to the LSAC comitte.
It was a comprehensive plan including professional Emcees from a prominent radio station, 12-15 music acts, performances by the St. Andrews Scottish Dancers, Miss Teen York Region and the Aurora Classic & Custom Car Club. 

See The Auroran 2008 – November 11th page 15.

V09N04P15.pdf
Download this file

It was an event that would surely be of note, yet strangely the proposal was rejected.

Interestingly St. Kitts Music proposed something called “Aurora Music & Art in the Park”.
They were contracted to provide entertainment for special events at the AFM as well as the newly created “Aurora Jazz festival”.

It is apparent that there are several parties interested in contributing to the musical arts scene in our town but are unable to do so with St. Kitts music dominating the format.

One wonders who owns the Town’s Band Shell, the taxpayers or St. Kitts music?

Can a special event be coordinated in Aurora that includes music not provided by St. Kitts music?

Aurora has always had a rich cultural scene.  One that is not serviced by a private company monopolizing it under marketing-speak of a “renaissance”.

Like all Aurorans who were promised a new era of openness and transparency in the last election, I doubt that anyone would have expected this to mean that corruption would be flaunted out in the open for all to see.

A conflict of interest indeed.

Let’s hope to see some positive changes at this year’s Farmers Market, it’s only a couple weeks away.

 

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