What is the true mark of leadership? There is no easy answer as it can depend on what the organization needs at the time. The captain of a hockey team plays by a different set of rules than the CEO of a major company, but generally their make-up is fairly similar.

During a candidates information session in April, North Dundas Mayor Eric Duncan was deliberate in his point that a great councillor, deputy-mayor or mayor must be willing to work with everyone at the table, including municipal staff. You are only one voice and in order to get anything significant accomplished you need the co-operation and buy-in of everyone involved.

It’s safe then to assume that the mark of great leadership is the ability to retain highly skilled people and to make teammates or co-workers feel valued in their position. If that is indeed the case then this edition of South Dundas council is a rudderless ship devoid of a captain on the precipice of a mutiny championed by a league of rats with personal agendas.

Their inability to make cohesive decisions or to take priorities of the residents of South Dundas into consideration is staggering. They lack decisiveness and have the mentality of a high school clique.

For proof one only needs to look at the exodus of respected municipal staff.

In May of 2015, Nicole Sullivan announced her resignation as the economic development officer, reportedly to take on a position closer to home with the City of Ottawa.

That was followed by the departure of chief administrative officer Stephen McDonald, a position that he held for nearly 10 years. According to a statement by South Dundas at the time, “they mutually decided to part ways.”

In February of 2016, fire chief Chris McDonough tendered his letter of resignation after almost seven weeks on a leave-of-absence.

In August of 2017, Chris Bazinet made an unexplained exit as director of public works and once again the municipality issued a statement saying they have “mutually parted ways.”

The latest to jump ship is landfill supervisor Gabriel Lefebvre who had presented council with an extensive report detailing the shortcomings of the South Dundas waste management plan and outlined a thorough plan to bring it up to snuff. Much like the outgoing staff before him, councils’ inability to make concise decisions or their unwillingness to listen to lengthy reports about their own shortcomings most likely led to his burn-out and eventual resignation.

What’s the old cliché? Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. South Dundas council’s inability to work with skilled intelligent staff wreaks of an ineptitude that can cripple a municipality and residents that deserve far better.

The only thing left to do for the fine people of South Dundas is to head to the polls and conclude that it is time for this edition of council to “mutually part ways” and move forward.
– T.S.