THE DEMOCRATIC REPORTER
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Mississauga News - Apr 24, 2008 - By Joseph Chin, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mayor lectures critic on excessive e-mailsA vocal City Hall critic has had her knuckles rapped for allegedly wasting the City’s time with her constant queries.
Ursula Keuper-Bennett was attempting to ask a question at yesterday's Council meeting when she was interrupted by Mayor Hazel McCallion.
“Practically every week I’m getting letters from you that I have to refer to (the legal department). It’s very time consuming...and it’s on the same issue all the time. There comes a time when it is costing the taxpayers money,” McCallion told Keuper-Bennett, who writes a citizen blog for The Mississauga News.
Keuper-Bennett admits to sending the City, which she slams as “a secretive, shadowy force that has no oversight or accountability mechanisms in place,” at least eight e-mails so far this year.
She also acknowledges regularly trying to ferret out classified data through the Freedom of Information (FOI) process.
“I drop six FOIs at a time,” said the former schoolteacher, who registered to run for Council in the 2006 election, but ultimately withdrew.
Keuper-Bennett said she began writing City officials with her concerns about one year ago at the request of McCallion, who didn’t want to deal with the queries at Council meetings.
“(McCallion) said to send them to the City solicitor, and she’ll be happy to answer. The reality is, they’re not happy to answer,” said Keuper-Bennett.
Though unrepentant, Keuper-Bennett said she’ll begin curtailing her e-mails. Instead, she’s hit on another tack: pen a “report” to Council. That way, it will be appended to the agenda for all to read. At least, that’s what she hopes will happen.
“My e-mails weren’t being noticed anyway,” she said.
As for being lectured by McCallion, Keuper-Bennett was conciliatory and understanding after re-viewing her videotape. She regularly videotapes Council meetings.
“I have to say that I was struck with how gentle she was in her tone of voice. It was all very reasonable and there was no attempt to intimidate.”
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