At Wednesday nights Committee of the Whole meeting one of the items was delegations of groups requesting funding from the city. In most cases this is usually a fairly civil affair with no much controversy. However during the meeting this night, Ward 14 council Sandy White made the following comment.
“I just want to state I have a pet peeve about the fact some of the (non-profit) leaders in this city and certainly we’re entitled to free speech but the way that they conduct themselves, and yet we’re handing them money from the city, you know they’re in the paper, they’re on their blog. I mean they’re, you know, after councilors, they’re after you Mr. Mayor. I mean these kind of professional, ah non-professional behavior needs to be addressed. I mean it is the taxpayers’ money we’re giving out, and yet this kind of behavior is acceptable? These are some of the things in terms of professionalism that we look at and I don’t want to be accused of whining it’s just a fact. If I did that at my job they would say, you know, there’s the door what’s your hurry, here’s your pink slip and don’t look back, we’ll get you a box and see you later. These are some of the issues we need to address in terms of the standards that we set in our non-profit sector in London. Thank you.”
Many in the gallery were rather surprised by that statement and several likened it to that she was suggesting that nonprofits who receive funding from the city be not allowed to criticize members of Council. Several people posted their concerns on Twitter which led to Councilor White denying this suggestion. One person replied back that she has a communication challenge and should maybe consider a post on her blog to address the issue. At this time no post on this issue has appeared on her blog.
There are several council members that currently have blogs (and I’ve been told at least one more is coming) and a social media presence. One of the most important things to learn is that you have to be open and honest in social media. Not have a two way conversation in the social media space will burn you every time. Based on Councilor White’s past experience it is hoped that this was just a case of what she wanted to say vs. what was said.