The mayor says she has done “more for less” … What do you think?

Posted January 8, 2014

Mayor Karen Farbridge announced Wednesday, January 8, 2014, that she was seeking another term as head of the city government.

Good. Now the citizens can challenge the failed record of a mayor who has led our city in the past seven years. One who has closeted herself from the very public she represents.  Overseeing taxing and spending taxpayer money to fund a record of mismanagement, capital spending on projects that taxpayers never voted for and producing a tissue of lies and misinformation.

She is a control person who has the support of the political left including the NDP candidate for the next provincial election, James Gordon. She has brought back a fellow traveler, former councillor, Cathy Downer, who is one of the architects of the dénouement of former Mayor Kate Quarrie. Downer was Farbridge’s campaign manager in 2010. Downer has announced she’s running in Ward Five along with Coun. Lise Burcher.

And so the battle lines are set.  Two unknown candidates are running for Mayor, announcing a day after Coun. Cam Guthrie filed to run. Clearly this a familiar strategy to dilute Guthrie’s vote with two stalking horses. The same strategy happened in the 2010 election, successfully as it turned out, returning Farbridge to office. It meant another fours years driving the city into a leftist nirvana.

The great mystery is where does Coun. Leanne Piper fit into this leftist mosaic? With Downer and Burcher running in Ward five, is Leanne stepping down or running somewhere else? Time will tell.

But back to the Mayor’s release of her reasons for running for a fourth term.

Let’s start with the comment that the Mayor says her leadership of the city is “doing more with less”.

How about the recent report by the internal auditor that overtime expenses reached $5,067,000 in 2013, almost double the cost in 2012? The negligence of management to control these costs has yet to be explained. A task force of senior management has been dispatched to solve the attendance and overtime culture that the Farbridge administration has been tolerating for the past seven years.

How does she explain how “doing more for less” results in hiring more than 458 employees bringing the total city staff to 2,065 in 2012? It is a 33 per cent increase when the city population grew by only 5.8 per cent. Don’t ask about 2013 because those figures won’t be known until April or May when the Human Resources Department releases the new numbers. Watch for the December ice storm skew for an even greater overtime claims.

How is “doing more with less” square with the combined payroll and benefits of employees representing 80 per cent of the city budget?

How does she explain that during her administration the water bill rates have increased by 77 per cent and counting … especially when water usage has declined as well as sewage treatment? Is this goosing the taxpayers to shore up the leftist grandiose plans to change the city?

How about the claim that hydro rates are increasing by 42 per cent within three years? The fact is the city is already taking a $2.990.000 “dividend” from its holding company that comes from Guelph Hydro revenues and goes into general revenues. Is that part of “doing more for less?”

These two vital needs of the community are being surreptitiously taxed to meet the agenda of the Farbridge administration. According to the Municipal Act, this is illegal. Municipalities are forbidden to tax vital services to residents. This is “ doing more with less?”

Explain please how spending $33 million on a organic compost processing facility that is three times the needs of the city for the next 18 years, is “ doing more with less?”

Or piggybacking on that flawed decision, spending another $15 million on installing a cart-based waste collection system in which 6,400 residences are not served by the city. This is “doing more with less?”

Let’s hope the mayor keeps talking about “doing more with less” because she cannot explain the logic to taxpayers who have endured an average of 3.5 per cent tax increases every year since she was elected.

That is why the GrassRoots Guelph (GRG) citizen’s organization requested the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing to conduct an audit of the city’s finances and operations. That is currently under investigation.

Regardless of the outcome, Ministry officials confirmed the GRG figures contained in the four-page petition. Those wishing to check out the petition may see it on and dicover for themselves how their city has been mismanaged.

Something more for less?  You be the judge.






Filed under Between the Lines

3 responses to “The mayor says she has done “more for less” … What do you think?

  1. paul

    Gee and I was hoping this egotistical, money sucking,dictator would take the hint and not run again. This only proves that she appears to be slower in the mind than I originally perceived. Sure hope she gets stomped on like a cigarette getting put out by the heel of someone’s boot.

  2. Jeff

    Gerry, weren’t you a big supporter of Kate Quarrie, and the 3 years of politics that all of Guelph tries to forget? And apparently they have. You don’t have a good track record of picking politicians who reduce debt or tax increases. In fact during Quarrie’s reign (which I believe you were her head waterboy) taxes increased by over 6%, that doesn’t give me much faith into your view on future candidates. So what exactly qualifies you to feel your opinion is worth anything? You’ve failed the tax payers in the past, you’ve consistently lied and made up facts on this blog, you were fired from the Mercury for not fact checking and it appears you’ve been doing this for awhile

    The most interesting quote about you may be this “some people actually think Barker is a journalist and believe what he is writing is truth. That’s not funny, it’s downright dangerous.”..and that’s from 5 years ago.

    I’m sure some of your sheep will continue to follow you, but really people, wake up and do some research yourself, don’t rely on this guy for information, you are much smarter than that.

    • Jeff: You are getting personal. Not a good tactic with your weak attempts to discredit me personally. First, I barely knew Kate Quarrie when I moved to Guelph. I had nothing to do with picking her to run for mayor. I was not involved as “head water boy” in her campaign. Looking back, the six per cent property tax increases over her three years pales in comparison to the seven-year Farbridge record of tax and user fee increases. The 3.5 per cent annual property tax increases in that time, when compounded, works out to more than 30 per cent. I’m pleased that you write that you have no faith in my judgment, professionalism and veracity. Who are you to judge? I have worked in journalism all my life. I have been a reporter, reporter/photographer, feature writer, assistant city editor, assignment editor, metro editor and assistant managing editor for the largest paper in Canada. I was not fired by the Mercury for failing to fact check (something you should try sometime). We parted company because the Mercury brass wanted to go in another direction and so did I. Indeed it did and now is just a lap dog for the Farbridge administration. You know Jeff, supposition is a dangerous thing when used in the form of the written word. Using quotes without attribution is another no-no. I gather you are the designated critic of and me. I have been expecting the personal attacks for some time. In fact, I’m flattered that the Farbridge supporters are focussing on me instead of the awful record of the administration. But a friendly warning: It’s one thing to criticize but quite another to challenge a person’s credibility. The only defense for libel is the truth. Something to remember. Goodbye.

      P.S. I was part of the team that prepared the four-page petition requesting am audit of the city’s finances and operations. Presented to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, subsequently a meeting with officials confirmed that the GrassRoots petition numbers were accurate. The request remains open and further examination is expected.

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