Farbridge candidates boycott GrassRoots sponsored ward debates

Posted September 17, 2014

GrassRoots Guelph (GRG) has been informed that most candidates supporting the Farbridge regime are refusing to take part in debates to be held in each ward and sponsored by GRG.

This collective decision only points to the existing paranoia being expressed through the social media by the 19 candidates nominated for the 12 council seats and supporting the Farbridge administration.

The most pointed attacks are coming from the five Farbridge incumbents seeking re-election and their surrogates plus two former Farbridge coucillors attempting to return to the job. Guelphspeaks has identified six candidates as being on the council in 2008 when Urbacon Buildings Group Corp, the city hall contractor, was kicked off the job.

What citizens have yet to be told is who made the decision to fire Urbacon? Evidence during the five-week trial showed that council was given regular updates of the progress of the project. So it is safe to suggest that council were aware of what was going on.

Assuming the premise, why didn’t any of them speak up and question the firing decision before it occurred? Were they convinced, based on the information coming from the city manager in charge of the project, Murray McCrae, CAO Loewig and the architects Moriyama and Teshima, that the project was failing to meet the completion deadline?

During the trial Judge Donald MacKenzie questioned the testimony of Mr. McCrae finding it “ contradictory.”

It is the weakness of Farbridge’s council that has controlled this city for eight years. That is, a failure to carry out their individual mandate of representing the people and maintaining the public trust.

This attitude of arrogance and dismissal of the public interest is still being played out today as the six Farbridge loyalists are seeking a third term.

Judge for yourself if you feel they deserve re-election.

Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Ann Pappert, stated following the decision by the court, that the city wrongfully dismissed Urbacon and she placed the responsibility on former CAO Hans Loewig. She further said he acted alone and had the power to do so through a special CAO bylaw that permitted him to cancel any contract.
For his efforts, Loewig was working as a contract employee and was awarded full- time employment shortly after the firing. His reward included a four-year contract with starting pay of $198,000 plus an unusual benefit that allowed him to take up to 12 weeks in unpaid vacation plus his regular vacation entitlement. Is this the way to run a $400 million corporation?

Mr. Loewig retired in November 2012. He never testified during the Urbacon trial nor has publicly spoken of the events of September 19, 2008 in which the Farbridge administration claims he was solely responsible and did the dirty deed.

How convenient. No elected councillor gets his or her hands dirty.

For those Farbridge councillors to run on the premise that they were not responsible is an affront to every elector in the City of Guelph.

They are responsible and should be held accountable.

Is it no wonder that they don’t want to appear at the only set of ward debates that are held in the ward? They don’t want to expose their crumbling weakness that led to this Urbacon $15 million error in judgment.

The Farbridge nominees are facing an aroused electorate who are demanding answers that are truthful and not the lame statements emanating from city hall that the Urbacon defeat will not cost additional taxes.

The answer, friends. is to consider who paid for those reserves about to be raided to pay the judgment? Who pays to replenish those emptied reserves over the next five years?

They must honestly believe that their constituents are terminally stupid.

No wonder they don’t want to turn up.


Filed under Between the Lines

10 responses to “Farbridge candidates boycott GrassRoots sponsored ward debates

  1. Brent

    Really Gerry ….did you actually expect them to show up? This whole Urbacon thing has the ripe odour of a Watergate scandal…except the primary victims here are the citizens and their bank accounts as opposed to the political opposition. It is clear that the Farbridge group is reluctant to further incriminate themselves in the public forum just before the election now that the truth is being dragged out into the open for all to see. The ongoing efforts of the Farbridge admin to launder their colossal financial /managerial blunders with motherhood statements that promise a more prosperous future , or that we are the envy of the world don’t quite line up with the reality the average citizen is realizing and facing , especially when Mr. Horseman our CFO, warned us last November in the public budget meetings that we would be facing a tax increase of 15% compounded over the next three years to maintain our financial well being if things did not change. Well things did change, we got slapped with a multimillion dollar lawsuit judgement which will be resolved by raiding our reserves. What a bunch of amateurs! Am I supposed to feel good about Mayor Farbridge’s assertions that their financial management is above reproach as they have achieved and maintained a AA+ rating? By the way…in the interest of TRANSPARENCY could you tell us what reserves you have raided?

  2. Joe Blow

    This action by the Karenistas tells me two things:

    1) Farbridge-ites are scared of defending their record in front of their own constituents and other citizens in their home wards
    2) They do not understand proper attribution, as their justification, the ‘list of candidates’, was posted by a random commenter who was no way affiliated with Gerry beyond that post/comment
    3) Bearing in mind #2, Farbridge supporting Councillors will stoop to any level to try and attack Gerry or GRG!

    So I challenge Farbridge supporting councillors to defend their record in their home wards. And they can quote ME on that, not Gerry!

  3. pegy powell

    I would also like to challenge all the candidates to take part in a debate in their respective wards. It is only right that we have a chance to speak to them in order to make up our minds before election day. I hope that someone will inform the public about this boycott, ie The Guelph Mercury and the Tribune would be nice. If we put enough pressure on them they will have to take part.


      As a matter of interest the following is a numerical turnout of candidates who attended the GRG “MEET YOUR CANDIDATES BBQ” held last night:WARD 1-2 of 5;WARD 2-4 of 6;WARD 3-3 of 6;WARD 4-6 of 9;WARD 5-2 of 6;WARD 6-1 of 5;MAYORALTY CANDIDATES-4 of 7;UGDSB-1;WCDSB-2.Current Councillors running in the election present:Councillors GUTHRIE,BELL;vAN hELLEMOND;. david.birtwistle@sympatico.ca

  4. Linda Murphy

    Dave you forgot to mention that we had female candidates there also. Ian Findlay is spreading lies by twitter that there were no women candidates there. Never thought a current sitting councillor for the city of Guelph would be spreading lies? What’s this city coming too? Lol

  5. As a newcomer to Guelph and therefore not knowing anything about the dynamics of Guelph City Council, it appears the “Farbridge Gang” had a majority and could therefore pass anything in council including the cancellation of the Urbacon contract. Is there a Farbridge Gang ? Does it act as a majority ? Surely when council as a whole holds a vote, the whole council is responsible for the outcome, not just one person. Explain all this to me. Thanks.

    • Frank Watson: Welcome to Guelph. Mayor Karen Farbridge has held a majority of her supporters for the past eight years. They almost always vote as a bloc. The Mayor controls the city and is responsible for the outcome of the administration’s actions. The Urbacon lawsuit outcome is the direct result of bad corporate judgment, Regardless of the spin the administration puts on it, the taxpayers are on the hook for $8.935 million plus an estimated additional $6.063 million involving payments to contractors to complete the original $42 million contract, court costs, legal representation, plus payments to the subcontractors stranded by the terminated Urbacon firing.The administration has not revealed these costs.

      The Chief Administrative Officer, Ann Pappert is on record as saying the cost of the new city hall and renovated old city hall is $57 million. If true, that’s a $15 million overage cost or 35.7 per cent of the original contract price. The trouble is, not one member of the ten Farbridge supporters on council on September 19, 2008, spoke up or questioned the decision to fire the general contractor. This year there are five members of the 2008 council asking to be re-elected. There is another who was defeated in 2010 who is seeking re-election. If Mayor Farbridge is returned, plus the six mentioned, she will retain control of the 13-person council.

      The citizens only get one chance every four years to challenge the members of council. This is the year that voters have the opportunity to register their opinions through the ballot box. That’s why GrassRoots Guelph is encouraging eligible voters to get to the polls October 27. There are many reasons to act.

  6. Mary Heyens

    Shame on the Farbridge Candidates who will boycot the GRG Sponsored Ward Debates. All debate questions are developed by the mayor’s office. This is anit-democratic. David Birtwistle refers to the Farbridge mindset as “The Great Unwashed”, she forgets promises made after the election. GRG please try to hold the Ward Debates. I will support you 100%. Thank you for the Septembef 18th BBQ!

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