Yes it has been a while since I have submitted these notes to the Governance, Communications, Human Resources, and Compensation Committee at Toronto Community Housing Corporation. I even spoke at that meeting giving a very personal perspective of the deputation process. I stated that I felt it should not, in any way shape or form, have limitations applied.
The following is the portion of my written submission that dealt specifically with TCHC trying to restrict the deputation policy -
"I'm sure members of this committee would understand if I felt I was suffering from a case of whiplash when it comes to the spoken belief that the Deputation Process is hampered by the layout of the boardroom with possible relocation of meetings to a more hospitable environment. (Board and Committee members backs are as likely to face the deputants as not.) The visual field of many public viewers of the Board/Committee meetings is obstructed by a column. Unlike deputations to City Council, or to city committees, able- bodied deputants are expected to stand. All this from an organization that still occasionally uses the term tenant-centric.)
When it comes to the attachment to this Public Agenda Item I am very curious about the thought processes that allowed you to begin a survey with "I believe that the Deputations Policy (the “Policy”) effectively achieves its stated purpose of enhancing TCHC’s commitment to ensuring that tenants and staff have input on decisions that directly affect them."
Then end up with a whole section on "Limiting Availability of Deputations" Many of the points in this category seem like a personal attack. One that definitely seems to be designed for the way I methodically scour through meeting materials and come up with relevant deputation material is "J. Limiting the number of matters, at a single meeting, about which an individual can depute." Is it really my fault that this organization seems to have more holes in their policy and practices than Swiss Cheese? Where would you prefer my deputations regarding issues at TCHC begin? The Auditor Generals Office, the Ombudspersons Office, the Mayors Office, City Councillors Offices, CBC, The Sun, or Toronto dot com? I don't just come here to complain. I don't want to be part of the problem. I want to be part of the solution. So should you.
Let's face it. This isn't my job. "Directors of TCHC’s Board (“Directors”) are under a fiduciary duty to TCHC to carry out the duties of their office honestly and in good faith, in the best interests of TCHC, and with the care, diligence, and skill of a reasonably prudent person."
I was told once by Kevin Marshman that TCHC is a pretty big ship to be turning around. Well maybe if we were all rowing in the same direction that would be helpful. Otherwise, if you put exhaustive limits on deputations you are leaving many of the tenants without oars. Thereby substantially decreasing the possibility that we could prevent the captain from charting the wrong course in the first place."
At that previous Governance, Communication, Human Resources, and Compensation Committee meeting (56 min - 58 min) I deputed about how difficult it is for me personally to depute. "To be here and to think that there is any notion of limiting deputations is negating everything that I do here. This is not easy for me by any stretch of the imagination ... If I didn't feel I had to do this do you think I would come here and do it? ... Everything in me is telling me to run [away]."
That was followed up the notion of this being "excess bureaucracy" by board member John Campbell. With Councillor Paula Fletcher acknowledging that "we are not spending time on the right things". Therefore it should come as no surprise that the item was actually withdrawn from the agenda. "The committee confirmed that having considered the current Deputation Policy it has determined that no amendments are required to this policy at this time."
Then, to only have my efforts followed up by a previous TCHC tenant board member who obviously never dialed in to the Governance, Communication, Human Resources, and Compensation Committee mention "Tenant issues are fragmented between board committees. This is not a new occurrence .... I don't know if members on this committee follow what is happening on other committees. But, I made it my life mission to do that because I often find that tenant issues are often being addressed at committees other than this one [Tenant Services Committee (1:41;40 - 1;45;15] … On the Governance Committee they were addressing the issue of the Deputation Policy. Kudos to Darragh for moving this forward. But again tenants are the largest stake holder … I do appreciate that there will be a fulsome tenant consultation"
If that is the previous board members "life's work" she needs to go back to the drawing board.
As much as the previous board member has been deputing recently at TCHC board and committee meetings it would be important that they come prepared. I simply can't understand how a previous tenant board member would be happy with limiting tenant deputations.
There is a great deal of restructuring with respect to staff at TCHC. It's about time that tenants restructure how we do advocacy. I don't mean your TCHC approved tenant engagement restructuring either. When I was involved in the consultations for the new tenant engagement system I found it interested that as many times as I mentioned "advocate" as a tenant role along side tenant volunteer, tenant leader, and tenant rep, is as many times as it was ignored.
It's really unfortunate that the insider (the previous tenant board member) who has ten years experience sitting on the TCHC Board of Directors doesn't work collaboratively with other tenants that wish to make an impact within the second largest social housing provider in North America. At the very least we could start synchronizing our messages.