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Sudbury column: Give city executives chance to do the right thing

Posted: January 21, 2021

(January 20, 2021)
By: Dot Klein, Sudbury Star

Open letter to city council:

Coun. Ward 11 Bill Leduc agreed to read this letter to you at the closed council meeting scheduled for Jan. 11. Earlier, I wrote an open letter to Mayor Brian Bigger requesting he sit down with both Ed Archer and Tony Cecutti and ask them to do the right thing. The letter went viral.

I received emails and calls in support of the request I made to Mayor Bigger. The citizens expressing support come from all sectors and wards.

I understand some also contacted their councillors to express concern about the disrespectful and unprofessional behaviour of Mr. Archer and Mr. Cecutti during a virtual city council meeting in December. Like myself, these citizens requested this incident be addressed appropriately.

Instead of acknowledging that Sudburians expect a higher standard of behaviour, Mayor Bigger called for a closed council meeting and invited councillors to discuss these public concerns and to come to an agreement on how to proceed. This is a painful and awkward approach. There is a simple, less expensive, and more humane approach.

Both Ed Archer and Tony Cecutti are aware of the city’s policy on violence and disrespectful behaviour. They administer this policy to their subordinates. Both are professionals and know the professional consequences of such behaviour.

I did not ask Mayor Bigger or anyone else to fire, terminate or suspend these men. I merely asked Mayor Bigger to sit with them while they took full responsibility for their behaviour and decided on their own consequences. They are from self-regulating professions and know they hold positions of trust and must adhere to the highest standards of behaviour. Such disrespect is not permitted in our city and certainly not by our city leaders.

Mayor Bigger would then announce the decisions the men made in a formal release. Both have to face fellow citizens daily. They have broken our trust and our faith in them.

The councillors and Sudburians should not be burdened with judging these two men when they can judge themselves and are capable of acting accordingly. They are adults who need the opportunity to do the honourable thing.

Council would then decide how the city should proceed without either at the helm. The city would be able to get on with the 2021 budget and the cuts needed.

The city would be able to get on with the pressing need for shelter for our families and citizens who cannot afford it and for warming stations and toilets for 1,000-3,000 homeless people living on our streets.

The city would be able to devote time and energy to the opioid overdoses that killed more than 100 people in Sudbury last year. The crosses on the corner of Brady and Paris streets are reminders of our lack of compassion and proper services for those with mental health and addictions.

The city would be able to contribute time and energy to realistic planning for the ongoing pandemic. Municipal leaders must realize the fallout of the COVID pandemic will be long lasting. To downplay this crisis seriousness is irresponsible. It is not business as usual.

The city owns and operates a long-term care facility that was in a staffing crisis long before COVID. The health care staff are tired, burnt out and broken. They know they cannot whine. They have to smile, be cheerful and give “their all” every shift. Lives depend on them.

Families of their patients, residents and clients depend on them. These workers cannot sit in their homes or drink coffee while they work. They are wearing PPEs, masks, goggles, gloves and following strict isolation protocols. They are often too tired to cook or to eat when they go home. These are the workers that demonstrate the highest standards and work ethics. They outshine Mr. Archer and Mr. Cecutti.

Dot Klein is a nurse, co-chair of the Sudbury Chapter of the Ontario Health Coalition and a Ward 11 resident.

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