TORONTO - If they had taken place in a Parliamentary precinct, Daniel Di Giorgio’s motions at Catholic school Board’s meeting on Thursday, March 25, would have amounted to a Motion of non confidence against a minority government. The government either survives those motions, or it collapses and is replaced. In either case, the target of the motion of non-confidence suffers severe reputational damage.
This Motion of non-confidence came from “within government ranks”, so to speak, not from the Press, not from the public, but from a member of its own Board. Other trustees - and Staff - must be living in a dream world; they seem to think they have reputation to spare or that they have the protection of some unidentified “patron saint”.
Clinical in his delivery and unintimidated by the barrage of interruptions by his colleague trustee Rizzo, trustee Di Giorgio delivered a series of motions expressing concern and demanding action on a variety of fronts. Something one might expect of a conscientious public servant.
In a three-part Motion that provoked an acrimonious outburst by Rizzo, and, referencing section 230 of the Education Act, Di Giorgio asked his colleagues to direct the Chair “to submit a formal request to the minister of Education for an investigator… to review the TCDSB’s handling of Code of Conduct, harassment and conflict of interest complaints from December 2018 to January 2021.” BOOM!!!
If you have been following our coverage of education and the chaotic ongoings at the TCDSB over the last two years and more, you will understand what the current Chair meant when he said upon assuming office: “we’re dysfunctional”. The descriptive has not improved since. Clearly it is no longer tolerable for reasonable beings like trustee Di Giorgio, or for parents concerned that their children deserve a quality education.
Maybe he had prepared for the uncontrollable obstructionism of Rizzo – the Chair did not seem ready – but an unfazed Di Giorgio continued, calmly taking dead aim at the “eligibility” of one or more colleagues to fulfill a trustee’s role. His second resolution called on the Chair to ask the Minister, under the same sec. 230 “to determine whether the TCDSB complies with regulations under art.219 (1) of the Education Act, qualifications of Members” … KABOOM!!!!
Mr. Di Giorgio had raised the issue of “eligibility” to participate in the decision-making during a public sitting of the Board in November, regarding reversal of Board decisions and condemnation of one of their colleagues. His reasoning seemed to point to the obvious: if the Board cannot take the lead, maybe the Minister should have an external investigator “cull the herd”, so to speak. His Motion suggests that Education, and specifically Catholic Education, must not be left in the hands of people who do not appear capable, interested or may not even be qualified.
That would include the Director whose leadership is increasingly under scrutiny. Di Giorgio lumped him with the third part of the Motion, calling on the Chair to ask for an external “performance review under OR 43/10 … on the performance of the Board and the Board’s Director of Education in carrying out their respective duties.” Are things that bad?
From the outside looking in, for us, they appear even worse. In fact, Di Giorgio also included the charade that has become the role of the Integrity Commissioner (but that’s for another article, tomorrow). Just watch the replay on the TCDSB website. It is a mockery of governance.
To his credit, Di Giorgio did not wilt under the pressure. “Vote your conscience”, he advised colleagues who objected. When the vote was tallied the result was 8- 3 against, among the elected trustees present. At least he and two others distanced themselves from the inevitable implosion of a valuable social asset left in the hands of those seemingly determined to tear it down.
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