The council's retreat from denying the public the right to speak on the matter of backyard chickens was not the only reversal on Monday evening. Although I was not there for the second one, I have it on pretty reliable authority that Barry Wells, twice rejected for appointment to a sub-committee in favour of someone who was picked out of the gallery, is now the newest member of the sub-committee charged with trying to find a home for the Guy Lombardo speedboat.
I dealt with this issue in two previous blogs detailing what happened in committee and how council handled the matter. The process was embarrassing to say the least.
Since that time, more details have emerged.
The treatment of Barry Wells became the subject of much debate at the next London Heritage Advisory Committee (LACH) which had originally proposed that council appoint two members of the general public to assist with the task. One of the members of LACH, Greg Thompson, resigned in protest. The chair of the committee was adamant that, since the council had failed to appoint two members as requested, LACH should recommend an appointment when it next reported to council. The nominee would be Barry Wells.
I had also learned from Derrick McBurney, the non-applicant who was appointed by council, that he had in fact applied for a position on this subcommittee at one time but had requested that his application be withdrawn because he had too much on his plate. And it was not Steve Orser who had approached him about a last minute appointment to the sub-committee but Bud Polhill.
Then he mentioned something else that I had also heard earlier, that Wells could not be appointed because he was involved, or about to be involved, in a lawsuit with the city. I couldn’t believe it. The only thing I had heard about a lawsuit was last summer when Orser had ranted about suing Wells’ now deceased mother because of the nasty things Wells was saying about him on his webpage.
But apparently, he has had a change of heart about these matters. Late on Monday evening, just prior to an in camera meeting from which the public and media would be excluded, Orser made a motion to re-consider the motion that led to a tied vote, the motion to appoint Barry Wells to the committee. The reconsideration, which requires a two-thirds vote, was unanimously approved by council. The motion to appoint Barry Wells to the subcommittee was also supported by all in attendance.
Good for Orser. It’s time for this council to put aside petty differences. There’s work to be done. Find the best people to help you do the work and don’t let personality differences distract you from the task at hand.
Congratulations, Barry. And thanks for volunteering your time, your knowledge, and your effort.