It’s easy to betray the public trust but a lot tougher to keep it

Posted February 11, 2015

Mayor Cam Guthrie’s latest assault on the credibility of guelphspeaks only points to his weakness believing he is omnipotent and above the madding crowd that elected him.

In his misguided attempt to defend CAO Ann Pappert from well earned criticism he sent in an email claiming that the guelphspeaks editor is unworthy of trust. The Mayor further stated the guelphspeaks posts “go horribly sideways” and it “gives the editor a spotlight and that’s the last thing anyone wants.”

It is not necessary to defend the guelph speaks content against this mawkish, self-righteous blather.

Instead, here is some free advice for his worship.

Get yourself a tough, experienced chief of staff with political, municipal and senior government experience, to fulfill your desire to be a respected Mayor of all the people.

Get used to the fact that not everybody likes you. Remember, there were several thousand voters who did not support you.

Stop trying to be everybody’s pal. The election is over and you are in charge of an ideologically divided council governing a $450 million corporation. This is a demanding role in which the voters have placed on you.

Now that you are in office, it might be a good idea to redefine “The Guelph Factor” and how to overcome the mistakes, errors in judgment and screwball finances of the previous administration.

Whoever has your ear right now, is steering you down the road to the worst four years of your life. You need to listen and learn. Here are some suggestions:

Fix the waste management debacle. A system that fails to serve all residences and businesses. A system that is totally blind when it comes to accountability including costs of operations.

This is a tall order, but necessary. Get a review of city finances, operational procedures, staff organization and a definition of the roles of staff and the elected council. It is anticipated that the left rump on council, all of who supported the former mayor, will object.

This presents a political opportunity if the left members of council line up not to approve it. You figure it out.

Move to plug the former administration’s excesses. These include shutting down the Guelph Municipal Holdings Inc (GMHI) a shadow organization created by the former Mayor, (who named herself chair). Last February, the city announced it is seeking a chief executive officer to run GMHI. with its chief asset being Guelph Hydro, and its subsidiary, Envida Community Energy Inc. Also planned is a real estate company to sell off surplus city property.

The holding company will manage the Farbridge vision of supplying underground thermal heating and cooling to the downtown area. The Guelph Hydro subsidiary, Envida Community Energy announced it would build a $20 million gas-fired electricity generating plant, combined with a thermal based heating and cooling system to service the Hanlon Business Park occupants.

Even more interesting is how GMHI paid a dividend from Guelph Hydro. In 2012, the dividend was $2,900,000 forwarded to the city and swallowed up in general revenues.

It was paid despite a decline in Guelph Hydro’s revenues in 2012.

It has been announced by the province that hydro rates are going to increase by 42 per cent in the next four years. The same thing has already occurred for water rates. Council just approved increasing the water rates by 4.1 per cent and hiring two additional employees at more than $150,000, to locate and map the city’s water and sewer pipes.

Tell us Mr. Mayor, is this part of your plan to eliminate the Guelph Factor on which you campaigned?

The most dangerous development is continuing to conduct city business behind closed doors. This hangover from the previous administration, you remember, the one that voters repudiated the Farbridge ego-driven agenda?

Being mayor is not an exercise in personal aggrandizement but of leadership.

It’s time to take off the training wheels.




1 Comment

Filed under Between the Lines

One response to “It’s easy to betray the public trust but a lot tougher to keep it

  1. geo

    I can’t remember where I came across this saying and I can’t remember it exactly but here goes anyway.
    I have no sure fired road to success but a guaranteed path to failure is to try to be all things to all people.
    Please Cam keep your promises.

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