Holy side-show Batman, the 2003 Cuff report is reincarnated

Posted November 15, 2012

Everything old is new again.

Well, your faithful council governance committee has proposed hiring an outside consultant to rationalize the 300 city operations. That’s code for an efficiency study.

The senior staff recommended spending $750,000 to complete the study by an unnamed consultant. Question: Will that be put out for tender? The committee decided to recommend spending $100,000 in 2013. In other words, they punted the issue down the road.

The recently hired internal auditor, Loretta Alonzo, said this kind of work is always done by outside consultants.

As an historic aside, I seem to remember that the pilloried Cuff report cost $100,000 in 2003. Mr. Cuff, a former mayor of Calgary, was a respected consultant employed by municipalities across the country.

You’d have thought in those days that the cat had missed the cat box.

Rookie Mayor Kate Quarrie faced a withering storm of protest from the left, including some present members of council. At one point the noisy left suggested it was corruption.

The net result was the retirement of Chief Administration Officer David Creech. The staff was evaluated and a number resigned or retired.

History is always a great teacher and since Karen Farbridge has been elected to run this city, the evidence is apparent that her administration is in tatters with low staff morale, a sense of hopelessness, as the city is basically run by five people, (make that six). This group has foisted ill-conceived projects costing millions that reflect their personal biases and philosophy.

Now after six years of squandering real opportunity to make our city grow responsibly, citizens are paying for a bloated bureaucracy that consumes 89 per cent of the total annual city budget.

Debt has soared with the grandiose schemes by the “radz” (my personal and ongoing description of the Farbridge supporters) to turn this city into some kind of environmental super nova.

Except it hasn’t tuned out at way. Debt and fiscal management has been so manipulated that now even provincial and federal government bureaucrats shake their heads in disbelief.

Guelph’s administration has no respect in the upper reaches of government.

Why? Because of poor management, stupidity and arrogance. You cannot send ultimatums to cabinet ministers and expect a satisfactory response.

A case in point is sending a letter to the Minister of Health giving her a deadline to change the way public health services were to be administered in Guelph.

If you were unable to seek the support of the provincial government and its many tentacles into the city governance, why would you be surprised when they balk?

No amount of review and reorganization of the city staff is going to change as long as they are the basic decision makers of our city. It will be another taxpayer-funded exercise to get the Farbridge administration out of the ditch in which they have dug themselves. And it won’t work.

Our bloated bureaucracy is draining our ability to pay and advance the city in a responsible manner.

This party is only getting started.

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