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Where is the Stratton history book?
Stratton celebrated its’ centennial in 2003. It was a very nice time and I for one, enjoyed meeting old friends that I hadn’t seen in years. Thank you to everyone that made it a success!
Part of the centennial celebrations was to have a book published, recording the history of the community. Many people turned over to the committee, precious family keepsakes, including pictures with the promise that these items would be “treated with great care and returned.” The original plan was to have the history book published and made available during our centennial year.
In 2009, my nephew tried to push for some accountability from the committee and took up a petition. He presented the petition and letters from concerned citizens to the reeve at the time.
I felt compelled to take up Shawns’ cause, and in August 2011, I attended a council meeting requesting that council as a whole, write a letter or in some other way, try to pressure the committee to act. I was told by the present reeve that council would not write a letter. According to documentation that I have, he was the original Centennial Committee President. He was also on the finance committee. I informed council at that time that I was going to get legal advice and also explore possible criminal charges.
That night after the council meeting the reeve came to my home and told me that he would make a phone call the following week. During that visit he told me that he probably had sold more books than everyone else combined. He also informed me that he had since resigned from the committee and that he had thrown out a lot of items that were in his possession. What items? In my opinion you don’t collect deposits from who knows how many people and then just walk away without any accountability.
As promised, I did seek legal advice and was told by my attorney that I should talk to the police, as he felt that there might be criminal charges involved. Following his advice, I did talk to the OPP and had several meetings with them. After giving them what documentation I had, I was informed that they did not feel that there had been any criminal act committed.
There has been a lot of blame placed on one person on the book committee. From what information that I have been able to obtain, she does deserve some. In my opinion, if she could not complete her obligations, she should have requested help or turned the material over to someone else as the previous council had requested in numerous letters. She does not however deserve all the blame. For instance, she was not the one in control of the money.
I have been informed that $18,525.00 has been paid to the publisher in Altona. $11,500.00 was from pre-paid book deposits. At $30.00 per book deposit that works out to be 385 deposits.
There are approximately 50 names on the petition requesting a refund. Some of these people gave deposits for three or more books. There have been many of my friends and relatives that have passed on and will never see the book.
Would there be 200 of the deposits that still want a book? I very much doubt it. How would I know as I am not allowed to see the financial records?
I was able to talk to the publisher to get updates when I first started investigating the status of the book. I was informed on my last call that they were told not to talk to anyone but the committee members. I was originally told by the treasurer that I could see the financial records any time I wanted. After three wasted trips to her house I have given up.
The previous council had written numerous letters to the committee asking that something be done with the book or alternatively the material be handed over, with no response. When my attorney wrote a letter asking that all financial records be delivered to the municipal office for inspection and personal material be returned to the rightful owners our present reeve took it upon himself to call him, expressing some displeasure. This was done, according to my information, without the councils’ knowledge. Is that the way you go about trying to get some accountability?
Two committee members attended the council meeting on December 14, 2011. They requested financial assistance in the amount of $40,000.00 to cover the cost of printing the books and for the reimbursement of book deposit fees should it be necessary. NOT WITH MY TAX DOLLAR!
I almost said that I was ashamed to call Stratton home. I am not. Far from it! The people of Stratton are in my opinion, good honest caring folk. The people of the community have done many wonderful things for my family and myself and are always there when you really need them! You know who you are. Thank you! For the two or three that have shaken my faith in people, you also know who you are. Every time you see me, hopefully you will remember.