Peter Kelly – Take Responsibility

The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.
– Ray Kroc – founder of McDonalds

Today has been another day full of media and discussion.  Many memorable moments, talking about the issues raised and the meaning of the concert scandal report delivered by HRMs Auditor General.

Listening to Peter Kelly today, I was struck over and over again by the incoherent almost rambling defence he is mounting.  Others have written about this, at the Coast, and the Herald.

My view is simple.  We elect the Mayor and Council to protect the public interest.  The Mayor’s job is to lead council, and to recommend measures to improve the finances, administration and government of the Municipality.

The AG’s report is clear.  The Mayor took a leading role in approaching and securing concerts.  He was in the meetings and copied on the emails where Metro Centre advanced money to the promoter to pursue these shows, operate these shows, and cover losses.  Peter Kelly was active promoting Halifax as a major concert destination two months before council passed a motion to allow him to do so, and his actions far exceeded the scope of what Council had empowered him to do.

To be clear, the report says:

the following persons at a minimum, were directly involved, to various degrees, in the  decisions around the handling and advancement of funds: Mr. Anstey (who has publically admitted his involvement) and Mayor Kelly who both had access to information and the opportunity to raise concerns through a variety of policies and business practices.

It is our thought, given the level of experience and involvement of Mr. Anstey and Mayor Kelly in the public sector, each of these individuals should have known something out of the ordinary was occurring and should have asked more questions to determine if what they were contemplating and/or doing was appropriate, especially given the method of arranging for payments to be made to Power Promotional Events.  – p 70-71 Auditor Generals Report

So, the Mayor knew, and did nothing, and in fact actively broke the Halifax Charter, the policies and procedures of HRM in doing so.  He was an active participant in this scandal.

Anstey has resigned.  Trade Centre Limited can and should be dealt with.  The Mayor refuses to accept responsibility, and again and again urges us to focus on “moving forward.”  He refuses to step down as Chair of Council, controlling debate where his own fate and future should rightly be debated.

What is most upsetting and shocking at this point in this scandal is that the centre of the story, the man elected to represent us and protect our interests, still denies that he personally has failed us all.  Instead, he blames staff, and attempts to mislead the public by misstating the findings of the Auditor General, still minimizing his involvement and culpability.

For this reason, this ongoing denial, this refusal to take responsibility, even more than for the scandal itself, Mayor Kelly should resign. 

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