The game's afoot

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

If there was ever a belief that the controversy over Mayor Larry Di Ianni's campaign finances would fade into the political background, that assessment was dealt a sharp blow at last week's council meeting.

A majority of councillors agreed to send Ken Froese's compliance audit of Di Ianni's 2003 election finances to city lawyers for a review. Trouble started when Flamborough councillor Dave Braden and Hamilton councillor Bob Bratina vehemently disagreed with the motion, with Braden noting that "It's problematic for staff" and that the audit "needs some debate and needs to go somewhere."

Bratina was adamant that councillors debate the audit results at council. Later, he was irritated that Froese was not present to defend his report. Both councillors are equally upset that once the city's lawyers tell politicians what their take is on the $25,000 report, it will happen November 9 in the Glanbrook municipal service centre hinterlands, away from prying eyes of Hamiltonians. Braden, Bratina, and even Hamilton councillor Brian McHattie, would like to see the auditor extend his review to include the 16 companies that donated to Di Ianni's campaign. Braden, a skinflint when it comes to spending taxpayers' money, has no problem spending more cash so the city "can get out from under the cloud." The city's lawyers are expected to state the city has no authority to extend the mandate of the auditor.

Braden's and Bratina's motives were front and centre during scrums after the meeting. Braden argued first that he wants to see the "cloud" hovering over the city's head dissipate. In the next breath, he said the audit was "incomplete" and needed to be finished. Along with Bratina, he emphasized their drive to get at the root of the mayor's campaign finances wasn't politically motivated, a dead giveaway when the purpose is indeed political. "It is the office of mayor. The office needs to be squeaky clean," said Bratina. Observers have pointed to Bratina's website, which retains the "Bob Bratina Campaign." It connotes the councillor remains on the election hunt.

The contradictory sentiments from politicians annoyed Mario Joannette, the mayor's chief of staff. If you want to clear the cloud, you don't go about trying to extend the life of it, he says. He added that since the audit didn't reveal anything unusual about the mayor's finances, the opponents of Di Ianni are now attacking Froese's credibility.

The heightened interplay between Bratina and Joannette was akin to watching two tigers circling one another, as they marked their territory. Joannette pounced when Bratina implied he and the rest of Di Ianni's campaign supporters didn't do enough to catch the donation contraventions. Bratina quickly retracted his statement. Both men moved away and began a highly agitated conversation.

Almost forgotten during these confrontations was McHattie, a politician with strong convictions to change Hamilton's' culture. He voted with the majority to get the legal opinion on the audit. He supports extending the auditor's mandate, to make sure everything is open and transparent. He said the mayor should "do the right thing" about correctly reporting his campaign finances. "The onus is on the mayor," he said.

Hamilton's political season began last week, as Joannette and Bratina stood toe-to-toe marking their respective territories, a sign the game is on.

Kevin Werner is regional reporter for Brabant Newspapers. He can be reached by calling 905-308-7757, ext. 36, or by email at kwerner@brabantnewspapers.com

The game's afoot

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

If there was ever a belief that the controversy over Mayor Larry Di Ianni's campaign finances would fade into the political background, that assessment was dealt a sharp blow at last week's council meeting.

A majority of councillors agreed to send Ken Froese's compliance audit of Di Ianni's 2003 election finances to city lawyers for a review. Trouble started when Flamborough councillor Dave Braden and Hamilton councillor Bob Bratina vehemently disagreed with the motion, with Braden noting that "It's problematic for staff" and that the audit "needs some debate and needs to go somewhere."

Bratina was adamant that councillors debate the audit results at council. Later, he was irritated that Froese was not present to defend his report. Both councillors are equally upset that once the city's lawyers tell politicians what their take is on the $25,000 report, it will happen November 9 in the Glanbrook municipal service centre hinterlands, away from prying eyes of Hamiltonians. Braden, Bratina, and even Hamilton councillor Brian McHattie, would like to see the auditor extend his review to include the 16 companies that donated to Di Ianni's campaign. Braden, a skinflint when it comes to spending taxpayers' money, has no problem spending more cash so the city "can get out from under the cloud." The city's lawyers are expected to state the city has no authority to extend the mandate of the auditor.

Braden's and Bratina's motives were front and centre during scrums after the meeting. Braden argued first that he wants to see the "cloud" hovering over the city's head dissipate. In the next breath, he said the audit was "incomplete" and needed to be finished. Along with Bratina, he emphasized their drive to get at the root of the mayor's campaign finances wasn't politically motivated, a dead giveaway when the purpose is indeed political. "It is the office of mayor. The office needs to be squeaky clean," said Bratina. Observers have pointed to Bratina's website, which retains the "Bob Bratina Campaign." It connotes the councillor remains on the election hunt.

The contradictory sentiments from politicians annoyed Mario Joannette, the mayor's chief of staff. If you want to clear the cloud, you don't go about trying to extend the life of it, he says. He added that since the audit didn't reveal anything unusual about the mayor's finances, the opponents of Di Ianni are now attacking Froese's credibility.

The heightened interplay between Bratina and Joannette was akin to watching two tigers circling one another, as they marked their territory. Joannette pounced when Bratina implied he and the rest of Di Ianni's campaign supporters didn't do enough to catch the donation contraventions. Bratina quickly retracted his statement. Both men moved away and began a highly agitated conversation.

Almost forgotten during these confrontations was McHattie, a politician with strong convictions to change Hamilton's' culture. He voted with the majority to get the legal opinion on the audit. He supports extending the auditor's mandate, to make sure everything is open and transparent. He said the mayor should "do the right thing" about correctly reporting his campaign finances. "The onus is on the mayor," he said.

Hamilton's political season began last week, as Joannette and Bratina stood toe-to-toe marking their respective territories, a sign the game is on.

Kevin Werner is regional reporter for Brabant Newspapers. He can be reached by calling 905-308-7757, ext. 36, or by email at kwerner@brabantnewspapers.com

The game's afoot

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

If there was ever a belief that the controversy over Mayor Larry Di Ianni's campaign finances would fade into the political background, that assessment was dealt a sharp blow at last week's council meeting.

A majority of councillors agreed to send Ken Froese's compliance audit of Di Ianni's 2003 election finances to city lawyers for a review. Trouble started when Flamborough councillor Dave Braden and Hamilton councillor Bob Bratina vehemently disagreed with the motion, with Braden noting that "It's problematic for staff" and that the audit "needs some debate and needs to go somewhere."

Bratina was adamant that councillors debate the audit results at council. Later, he was irritated that Froese was not present to defend his report. Both councillors are equally upset that once the city's lawyers tell politicians what their take is on the $25,000 report, it will happen November 9 in the Glanbrook municipal service centre hinterlands, away from prying eyes of Hamiltonians. Braden, Bratina, and even Hamilton councillor Brian McHattie, would like to see the auditor extend his review to include the 16 companies that donated to Di Ianni's campaign. Braden, a skinflint when it comes to spending taxpayers' money, has no problem spending more cash so the city "can get out from under the cloud." The city's lawyers are expected to state the city has no authority to extend the mandate of the auditor.

Braden's and Bratina's motives were front and centre during scrums after the meeting. Braden argued first that he wants to see the "cloud" hovering over the city's head dissipate. In the next breath, he said the audit was "incomplete" and needed to be finished. Along with Bratina, he emphasized their drive to get at the root of the mayor's campaign finances wasn't politically motivated, a dead giveaway when the purpose is indeed political. "It is the office of mayor. The office needs to be squeaky clean," said Bratina. Observers have pointed to Bratina's website, which retains the "Bob Bratina Campaign." It connotes the councillor remains on the election hunt.

The contradictory sentiments from politicians annoyed Mario Joannette, the mayor's chief of staff. If you want to clear the cloud, you don't go about trying to extend the life of it, he says. He added that since the audit didn't reveal anything unusual about the mayor's finances, the opponents of Di Ianni are now attacking Froese's credibility.

The heightened interplay between Bratina and Joannette was akin to watching two tigers circling one another, as they marked their territory. Joannette pounced when Bratina implied he and the rest of Di Ianni's campaign supporters didn't do enough to catch the donation contraventions. Bratina quickly retracted his statement. Both men moved away and began a highly agitated conversation.

Almost forgotten during these confrontations was McHattie, a politician with strong convictions to change Hamilton's' culture. He voted with the majority to get the legal opinion on the audit. He supports extending the auditor's mandate, to make sure everything is open and transparent. He said the mayor should "do the right thing" about correctly reporting his campaign finances. "The onus is on the mayor," he said.

Hamilton's political season began last week, as Joannette and Bratina stood toe-to-toe marking their respective territories, a sign the game is on.

Kevin Werner is regional reporter for Brabant Newspapers. He can be reached by calling 905-308-7757, ext. 36, or by email at kwerner@brabantnewspapers.com