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 GrassRootsGuelph.com and dicover for themselves how their city has been mismanaged.
Something more for less? You be the judge.