Guelph’s 2012 Dubious Distinction awards

           Public servant of the year award

Mark Amorosi is the gatekeeper of human resources and legal matters of state at City Hall. His best quote was describing the Ontario Municipal Employee Retirement System’s $12 billion dollar underfunding of its 268,000 employees’ pensions as an “actuarial deficiency”. Really? Tell that to your employers, the taxpayers, who are liable for guaranteeing defined pensions of its staff, past, present and future in perpetuity.

           Captain Courageous award

Coun. Cam Guthrie took on the Farbridge clan several times throughout the year. Each time, the empire struck back politically eviscerated him because he dared to challenge their authority. His bravery may pay surprising dividends in the future.

            Chump of the year award

Council called in its integrity commissioner to sort out alleged staff abuse by councillors. Five councillors sought information that had been denied them by staff through a Freedom of Information action. Mama Mia! His $10,000 report pointed no fingers and was so warm and cuddly that taxpayers took it on the nose again.

           Pierre Poutine award

Marty Burke, federal Conservative Candidate in 2011, was so ensnared by the Harper Machine, that his own campaign was identified with the robocall scandal.  It is still being parsed and adjudicated by higher powers. The national focus on Guelph is now called the capital of dirty political tricks. So much for the propaganda about low unemployment, dropping crime stats and the city of eternal enlightenment commentary punched out by the Farbridge communicators. Is that what “wellness” is all about?

           Mouse that roared award

Coun. Maggie Laidlaw can be depended on to utter total nonsense when the muse strikes her. Her comment about the city not participating in allowing staff salaries, wages and benefits to be part of a “race to the bottom” when compared to private sector employees. It typifies her devotion to those on the public payroll, like her.

           Grab your wallet award

It was some time ago when anti-big box activist Ben Bennett opposed Walmart setting up shop in Guelph. The 11-year cost of that dispute was in the millions. Now he writes that city council deserves a passing grade halfway through its mandate. Will that be Visa or Mastercard?

           Cha Cha of the Year award

Musician James Gordon is a hardcore supporter of Mayor Farbridge through his organization, the Guelph Civic League. This year he supported an application to sell the former civic museum on Dublin Street to two entrepreneurs for a community arts cultural centre. Trouble was the entire deal was executed in secret and the city is alleged to have ignored another bidder. It could be that the taxpayers were not paid the highest appraised price as required by the Ontario Municipal Act. It pays to have friends in high places.

           Communicator of the Year award

City Waste Manager, Dean Wyman, who can tell people off in a variety of colourful ways. Backatcha , Dean.

           Cardinal Richelieu of the year award

Ken Hammill is not elected officially but has an office in city hall to mentor his protégé, Mayor Farbridge et al. Behind the throne lurks an eminence grise!

             And now for the rest of the story award

The 2013 budget includes spending another $2.6 million on a second entrance to the $34 million organic waste management plant. It will include a weigh scale so that anticipated traffic to the plant is accommodated. Business plan? What business plan?

            If pigs could fly award

Chief Librarian Kathy Pope announced a new $73 million downtown library to open by 2017. She is so confident that she hired a fund-raising specialist to come up with $10 million in donations to furnish the project. It is yet to be designed and built, let alone approved. Maybe library proponent Ken Hammill can scare up a few extra bucks.

            Shades of Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow award

Shared by Transit chief Michael Anders and executive director of operations, Derek McCaughan. In the space of a year the Guelph transit system has gone from bad to worse. The tinkering by two outside consultants has created the most expensive, underperforming transit system that satisfies few and aggravates 87 per cent of taxpayers who subsidize the system, but don’t use it.

            A Royal ascent for the Royal city award

Mayor Karen Farbridge, who is entering her 10th year as head of state, sees herself as queen by any other name, one might surmise. She has incredible staying power despite her kingdom being in a financial shambles. This is due to voracious spending on self-serving major projects some of which don’t work as planned.

           If the glove doesn’t fit, you have to quit award

To the genius responsible for designing the Zamboni parking garage for the city hall’s rink. Next time, if there is one, measure the machine before designing the building. That Zamboni didn’t fit.

            Long in the Tooth award

When the relatives of LCol John McRae demanded the city return his World War I service medals, they sued. The case dragged on for three years, with both parties finally agreeing to leave the medals in the McRae House museum with a plaque honouring the donation of the relatives. The outside lawyer hired by the city charged $230,000 for services rendered in concluding a simple solution. Wasn’t anyone watching the store?

            Stepford wives award

To councillors Lise Burcher, Maggie Laidlaw and Leanne Piper who are employed full-time by the University of Guelph and vote consistently together on council concerning any relationship between the city and the university.  Is this is why the city needs a Lobby Registrar to identify those who influence council?



Filed under Between the Lines

23 responses to “Guelph’s 2012 Dubious Distinction awards

  1. Pingback: Guelph’s 2012 Dubious Distinction awards - Cambridge Advocate

  2. Glen N. Tolhurst

    The “modus operendi” for the council majority who impose their gang voting power and the administration seem to be best summarized by FUBAR and SNAFU. The latest waste mismanagement SNAFU is the dictate that cardboard can no longer be bundled and left beside the blue bin at curbside. The alternative is to ensure it fits in the blue bin which would entail cutting cardboard into small sections which begs the question if the city will now provide box cutters to all blue bin users (a scary thought having any one in waste management having anything to do with a sharp pointy object) or individual householders driving it to the waste resource centre, which is not very green.
    October 2014 beckons on the horizon for wholesale change in the captain and crew members of Guelph’s Titanic better known as mayor, fumbling gang voting councilors, and a bloated ineffective administration.

  3. geo

    I understand Farbridge, Piper, Burcher, Hofland and Laidlaw always voting together but can anyone explain to me the sway Farbridge holds over the two…….males from the south end and the whiner from ward 2?

  4. joseph paul phelan

    Simply reinforces my opinion on how messed up our city politics is….what a shame….what happened to the Guelph I was once so proud of. Farbridge and anyone who supports her can all go to hell.

  5. Paul

    geo: I assume that you are referring to Dennis the Menace, Kagey Karl and Findly the Spindly. It looks like Dennis prefers to play on the winning team, Karl is Konsistently unKonshus, and Findly is finding it hard to sell old rerun Movies and would love to be a full time Koncillor as long as the pay is Really Good. What is in it for that (x)Tory who has forgotten all his previous positions and has decided to join Maggie and a few others to the “Race to the Bottom”?. I am at a complete loss to explain his cultural revision!! Dementia??
    Gerry keep up the good work. 2014 is just 12 months away.


    • joseph paul phelan

      Love that quote, Paul…..”the race to the bottom”…..Let’s hope the bottom gobble her and her ignorant little puppets up!!!!!

    • joseph paul phelan: In our fair city its not a race to the bottom but a race of the bottom(s). Like most intolerant regimes, the end draws near. We still must be vigilant and make sure the they don’t commit taxpayers to more debt building self-serving monuments. Once staff proposed an 8.5 per cent property tax increase last June, you get the idea that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Happy New Year!

    • joseph paul phelan

      Farbridge and her henchmen are bottom feeders so we can expect nothing less from these carps….

    • Paul: Interesting comment on l’affair Guelph where Mandrake the Magician would blush at the way this council functions. They may fool some of the people some of the time, buy not all the people all of the time. Am I dating myself?

    • joseph paul phelan

      If the Oxford Dictionary was in need of words to define dysfunctional I would simply suggest Guelph City Council…..that would pretty much sum things up!!!! and to the few who do know what they are doing ….my apologies….to the Farbridge and her desciples….please retire and leave town

  6. dstm

    You forgot to mention the energy file “black outs coming”
    Apparently the GCL and the Green party has conspired to attempted to shut down Hydro 1’s plan to upgrade the transmission lines to Guelph. That’s OK if you accept the city’s energy plan. But if you do, get ready for black outs and I suppose industry will come to Guelph if there is not a reliable energy supply.
    Seems to me the city council has not been listening to Guelph Hydro and has bought into the guff from the Greens and GCL. Listening to council it seems to me that the only member that has investigated ALL the issues is Guthrie. Yet he wants to castigate the province for his own political gain.and can’t separate the benefits for the city versus the advantages of a balanced approach….ie upgrade the transmission and proceed with the city energy plan. Together. Together we all win.
    Ooops…he also thinks the province deals with passports

    • joseph paul phelan

      Does the concept of frontal lobotomy come to mind?

    • joseph paul phelan: I think that was already figuratively tried and the patient died.

    • joseph paul phelan

      good point Gerry….

    • dtsm: Let’s face it. The Guelph Civic League is nothing but a front organization for the New Democrats and the Green Party. These days it’s hard to distinguish between the two. You are on the money about their opposition to upgrade power transmission lines. The city needs more power to provide for growing its industrial and commercial base. I am not confident that the Mayor and her majority on council are capable of making the right decision on this matter. The move to shift Guelph Hydro’s assets to an independent municipal corporation, is yet another example of securing control. The Board of directors is made up totally of Farbridge supporters. This could bring power blackouts and higher taxes. That’s a typical strategy for our council’s majority. Ah! the smell of unintended consequences hangs in the air.

    • joseph paul phelan

      We need at the bare minium enough electricity to power more industry and commerce but also a need to ensure that there is enough electricity to fry Farbridge and her henchmen……

    • dstm

      Mr Barker
      What I can’t abide is the lack of info provided to the public.
      It’s well known that MPP Sandals and Guthrie have worked with the people affected by the visuals/ safety of the upgraded line. Yet here we have what only can be described as lackies (ie Evan…whatever) spouting the line from the clean air guys who some how got a spot on the council agenda before Guelph Hydro.
      Give us all a break…Spare us from the nauseating self serving blather from the Ward 6 six incompetents and the Ward 5 sycophants. And don’t get me stated on the self serving Gloria.
      Guelph needs this upgrade.
      Gerry. Push this as a critical issue

  7. Jerry

    I agree the mayor and council have to go but my problem is the damage
    has already been done.A lot is non reversible.
    Where were the majority of Guelphites in the last election when we could
    have got rid of the mayor and council once and for all.
    I know i was out voting against the mayor and council.Where were you?.
    Maybe we should form our own Guelph civic league but change the
    name to Get the mayor and council out of office league.

    This Hydro proposition is important and we do need this but at what cost?
    Is this a hidden agenda idea because of the new development in the
    Hanlon area or in the west end/or the new high rises being built downtown?.
    Was this part of the hidden deal when they were negotiated.
    The mayor does still sit on the hydro board and i am sure she has her own
    gang on that board that follows her around.
    Again a very big missed opportunity was that when they came a knockin
    for the permits to build it should have been part of the deal that they pay
    part or all of the new hydro/water/waste improvements.
    But not in Guelph,the mayor and council vote instead to give them tax
    breaks and loans so they would build in Guelph.

    Change is a coming,you can feel it in the air.

    • joseph paul phelan

      I’d like to plug Farbridge and her entourage into about 5000 volts of that electricity and light em all up like a friggen Christmas tree!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • joseph paul phelan: Let’a not get personal. The time for reconstruction of our civic government is coming and the people will respond accordingly.What’s the old line? Don’t get mad, get even.

    • joseph paul phelan

      On election day I’ll be at her office to personally bid her farewell!!!!!!

  8. Paul

    Re Grab Your Wallet Reward.
    I think that Benny Bennett has opposed Walmart at least twice, possibly three times or more- Guelph, Stratford and possibly Collingwood. So what is in it for him or to put it another way who is paying him for his services. Now let’s look at the Walmart Property. At the time Benny was fighting the Walmart foe, the taxes on that former vacant 15 Industrial acres was about $25,000 per year. Today it is well over a Million $ per year. Maybe the City should charge Benny with the lost taxes due to his 10 year fight plus the Legal fees – probably a total of some $15 millions!
    That does not include the extra value to the City – Construction Costs. business licenses and fees, and plenty of jobs. The entry level jobs are great for High School Students and the greeter jobs are great for Seniors. What is even better is that Walmart has a policy to hire people who have disabilities. That by itself is great and I do not know of any other business in Guelph that has a similar policy. And no Union Dues!!

    • joseph paul phelan

      But Walmart is American owned like oh too many minimum wage places that have no employee protection in place……

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