Posted May 9,2013
If any clear thinking voter in Guelph needs further evidence of how the Farbridge administration treats us as dolts, think no longer. There is now ample, growing evidence that they don’t care what we think. There has been a litany lately of just dumb mistake and evidence of incompetence.
Let’s start with the bungled and expensive job involving the Farmer’s Market. When the 2013 budget was completed it included a staff-recommended $170,000 renovation of the Market building. The public was told the work would occur this summer and the market would be moved to Exhibition Park. That raised many concerns of residents.
Then along comes staff saying the costs of renovating the old building were now $500,000. Council was not involved in this decision. The staff explanation was it would fund the additional cost by drawing down money from other “life cycle” projects.
It is increasingly apparent that council, those elected to represent the people, are feckless rubber stamps in the process of governing. Our city is being run by a group of self-serving bureaucrats who have been given wide-range authority to do what they want when they want to.
It is something straight out of George Orwell’s novel 1984 when bureaucrats determined and controlled the lives of the people without interference or fear of reprisal.
Here’s another example of the staff exercising its power. A questionnaire was prepared by staff under Heather Connell, manager of integrated services in the waste management department. It was handed off to an outside consultant to edit the staff copy and telephone 409 citizens forced to use waste collection bins. The polling outcome stated, “The majority of users are satisfied with Guelph’s new waste carts.”
This is where the so-called survey went off the rails. By slanting the questions to develop data that is self-serving to the waste management team, the staff has little regard for the facts. The methodology is questionable and the results a joke.
Especially when the report claims that 97 per cent of city residents consider reducing waste diversion to the landfill as important. It agrees that the new waste carts program is a benefit to achieving that goal. Now that’s a stretch. Are they implying that 409 respondents represent the opinions of 97 per of all residents?
Coun. Cam Guthrie questioned the results and asked what weren’t in the survey questionnaire is what matters most to residents. He suggested that the cost of the waste carts programs of between $10 and $11 million should have been included in the survey.
Cam, right on. But we both know that horse is out of the barn. The city is committed to an expensive waste collection system that will eventually cost more than $15 million.
It’s an attitude problem. The old quote from the late Charlie Wilson, head of General Motors, is applicable. “What’s good for General Motors is good for the country.” Well, we now know how that turned out.
Paraphrasing the quote: “What the staff thinks is good for the city, is not always good for the city.”
Mayor Farbridge, you can run but you cannot hide. There is a day of reckoning coming.
Remember, in the 2014 civic election if you don’t vote, you don’t matter.