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We Need Our Locally Elected Trustee

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  • I live in Eglinton-Lawrence (TDSB Ward 8) and Howard Goodman is my locally-elected TDSB Trustee.

  • I believe that we need our local Trustee's knowledge, information, advice, insight, and involvement to ensure that the decisions TDSB makes in implementing Full Day Kindergarten in Ward 8 schools (FDK8) are the best ones possible for our community and our children.

  • I think that Trustee Goodman should be able to fully serve our community without being under threat of being found guilty under the Ontario Municipal Conflict of Interest Act which, as it is currently worded, threatens all City Councillors and School Board Trustees simply for living in the neighbourhoods they represent, and as such undermines local democracy throughout Ontario

  • I support the call made by Ward 8 School Council Chairs in their letter below for Ontario's Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Linda Jeffrey to take urgent action to clarify the rules of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act so that Trustee Goodman may, without threat, fully represent us and our children in the on-going FDK8 discussions and decisions.

[If you want more information on the threat to Trustee Goodman under the Conflict of Interest Act should he participate in FDK8 discussions - click here]

April 11th, 2013

Dear Minister Jeffrey,

We seek your urgent help to address a serious situation in our Ward. Due to unsubstantiated allegation that Howard Goodman is in a position of conflict by doing his duty, our local TDSB trustee has been silenced when we need his voice most.  We are appealing to you to right this wrong.

Trustee Howard Goodman (Eglinton-Lawrence) is our elected representative.  We are in the midst of a consultation regarding Full Day Kindergarten implementation that could significantly change the schools in our neighbourhood. During this Program Area Review, Trustee Goodman is best positioned to truly represent us, explain us, speak for us and answer to us.  Without his guidance during the consultation process and his advocacy with his colleagues during the decision-making process, we and our children have been placed at a serious disadvantage.

Now one person’s unsubstantiated allegation of a possible conflict of interest has forced our democratically elected Trustee to step back from the process where he should be playing a central role. In the next two months, decisions will be made that will affect our local schools and local families. They will shape the future of our neighborhoods. As it stands now, they will be made without input from the one school trustee who has intimate knowledge of the schools, the streets, and the people under discussion.

Trustee Howard Goodman is a longstanding member of our community. He grew up here. He went to school here. He was married here.  And then he chose to raise and school his children here. As a result, his knowledge of our community is detailed, nuanced, personal and irreplaceable. Isn’t that the beauty of local representation?

His long history of community involvement was highlighted in his campaigns, it has always played a central role in his interactions with the community and is one the reasons he has been elected and re-elected.

This allegation suggests that the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act (MCIA) places a locally elected representative in a conflict when performing his/her duty if his/her primary residence is in or near an area under review by a School Board or Municipality.

Such a legal threat seems perverse to us. Voters want their representatives to live in their wards/ridings, all the better to understand their interests. To then have the MCIA hobble or remove a local representative for precisely the reason he/she was elected is hostile to the goal of local democracy.

We therefore ask you to immediately take action to reduce or remove the legal risk facing Trustee Goodman so that he can participate in the FDK implementation decisions that will be made by the Toronto District School Board in the next month or two.

We ask you to urgently seek judicial reference and/or issue a Ministerial advisory concerning whether a Trustee or Councilor is in conflict if he/she lives near an area being reviewed by the Board or Municipality.

Best regards, 

  • Carolyn Acton, School Council Chair Armour Heights P.S.
  • Jennifer Arp, School Council Chair Joyce P.S.
  • Alain Cohen, School Council Chair Lawrence Park C.I.
  • Michael Coulson, School Council Chair John Wanless P.S.
  • Carluci Dos Santos, School Council Chair Vaughan Road Academy
  • Dagmar Grasser, TDSB Parent Involvement Advisory Committee Ward 8 Representative
  • Lisa Gray, School Council Chair Glenview Senior P.S.
  • James Hopkings, School Council Chair North Preparatory P.S.
  • John Kennedy, School Council Chair, John Ross Robertson P.S.
  • Julie McFayden, School Council Chair, Fairbank P.S.
  • Tracy McLean, School Council Chair Armour Heights P.S.
  • Lori Miller, School Council Chair Allenby P.S.
  • Abdi Mohammed, School Council Chair John Polanyi C.I.
  • Mona Rozenblum, TDSB Parent Involvement Advisory Committee Ward 8 Alternate
  • Kari Sardella, School Council Chair Glen Park P.S.
  • Gillian Wyett, School Council Chair Lawrence Park C.I.  
  • Zuhar Dhaqane, School Council Chair Flemington P.S.

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