By now I'm sure that word has gotten out to the rest of Canada about how much of a circus the St. John's City Council is. Regular meetings consist of endless arguments and personal attacks. To be honest, I fail to see how they ever even get anything done.
I don't think anyone on council can claim innocence here. But without a doubt, the worst instigator seems to be (in my opinion) Mayor Andy Wells (I have to be careful here, because Andy is by no means afraid to litigate when his reputation is on the line. This is the kind of guy that would make even WK step back and say Seriously, man. You've got to chill out)
. Wells has been accused of being a bully on council and councillors have often taken issue in regards to denigrating statements he has been accused of making (note my careful language).
Recently, Mayor Wells won a lawsuit against former councillor Paul Sears, who suggested that Wells was "bought" by certain developers who wanted to build a supermarket on the site of the old Memorial Stadium. I should point out that this was a contentious enough issue for area residents without the addition of a defamation of character lawsuit
. In the end, Wells was awarded $40,000 in damages, all the while knowing that it would be paid for by the city's insurance policy - in other words, the taxpayers. Classy
Wells isn't the only guilty one here. Councillor Sears had a chance to avoid this lawsuit by simply retracting his statements
. This would have saved city taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars in legal costs in addition to the settlement awarded to Wells. Although he replaced the word "bought" with the word "favours," (how nice of him) Sears refused to retract anything else he'd said - leaving city taxpayers to pay for this clash of egos.
Sadly enough, this isn't the end of the whole sordid affair: Wells is now appealing the court's decision because he wants more money
for his troubles. If you're feeling a stinging sensation right about now, relax - it's just the salt in your wounds.
I didn't vote for a mayoral candidate in the last municipal election. After Vince Withers, my preferred candidate, dropped out of the race the only other mayoral candidate aside from Wells was a man who was caught vandalizing the election signs of someone who wasn't even running against him
- misspelling the word "liar" in the process. Damned if you do...
Yeesh. There are no winners, here, people. It's not a pretty sight.