By Gerry Barker
October 10, 2016
The operation of the city changed dramatically in early November 2014, when senior staff reorganized before the newly elected Mayor took office, December 1, 2014.
It is unclear to this day, who authorized this major realignment of tasks and responsibilities. The defeated mayor was still technically Mayor of the City of Guelph until the end of November. Was the new mayor, Cam Guthrie, informed of the senior management changes? Did he approve on behalf of the newly elected council?
The following is a series of questions to which citizens have thr right to answers from the administration.
In the November 2014 realignment, the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Ann Pappert, stated that the changes were discussed and approved by the outgoing council before the civic election October 27. Was there any input from the new mayor and his council?
Is it true that the CAO has the exclusive authority of hiring and firing of all city staff?
Why did the reorganization plan remove Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Al Horsman, who was reassigned as Deputy Chief Administrative Officer (DCAO), of waste management and environmental services?
Yet another head of city finances
Was DCAO Mark Amorosi, of Corporate Services, assigned to be in charge of city finances plus head of Human Resources in November 2014? That’s a yes.
When asked about this $37,591, 17.11 per cent increase for CAO Pappert taking her 2015 salary to $257,248, DCAO Mark Amorosi, said the reason was the CAO did not receive any increase in 2014. In fact, according to the provincial Sunshine List for 2014, she did receive an increase of $5,052. Did Mr. Amorosi not understand the CAO did receive an increase in 2014?
Did all four members of senior management, CAO Ann Pappert, DCAO’s Mark Amorosi, Derrick Thomson and Al Horsman, receive salary increases in 2014?
Were these salary increases part of the 2014 budget and when and which council approved them?
In the November lame duck period, did the outgoing Farbridge administration approve the 2014 senior staff increases before leaving office?
In his new position, was Mr. Amorosi also in charge of the Human Resources department policies including staff performance reviews, research of salary levels, recommending salary and or benefit increases for consideration of the CAO and council?
That being the case, does this new responsibility include members of the non-union management association, of which Mr. Amorosi is a member? Did he recommend salary and benefit increases based on his performance reviews and salary increases including his own?
Due to the change of city council membership following the October 2014 civic election, the 2015 budget was not approved until late March 2015.
Were the 2015 senior staff increases included in that budget?
Delayed action salary increases for the four senior staff managers
If not, why were the 2015 senior staff increases totaling $137,894 approved during a closed session of city council December 10, 2015?
That being the case, do the minutes of that closed meeting show which members of council voted to approve the four staff increases, for the 2015 budget year?
In view of Mr. Horsman leaving the city in August, there is a small adjustment in the 2015 Sunshine List because he did not draw his salary after August. Newly appointed DCAO Scott Stewart filled his position in November.
Did the CAO, and DCAO’s draw their increase during 2015 anticipating approval by council?
As DCAO, head of Finance, was Mr. Amorosi directly involved in how much, how and when the senior staff increases would be awarded?
Wearing his HR hat, did Mr. Amorosi present his recommendation for his fellow senior managers’ increases to the CAO? Did the CAO know about the salary increases prior to the closed council meeting December 10?
If council did not approve the increases until December 2015, did this not represent a major negative variance to the 2015 budget?
Why did the council and senior staff not inform the public of the 2015 senior staff increases?
Now, what about the senior staff increases for 2016?
Council approved the 2016 budget last December 10. Were there additional increases for senior staff included in that budget?
When will council inform the public of 2016 senior staff increases?
Mr. Amorosi has been in charge of city finances for the past 23 months. Why has he appointed to date, three General Managers and Treasurers in the finance department, two of whom are no longer with the city, Katrina Power and Janice Sheehy? Despite conducting a broad search by a professional headhunting company, why did Mr. Amorosi choose a junior financial analyst in the Finance Department to become the next GM of finance, Treasurer and CFO?
As of a month ago, why has the Finance department not completed the 2015 Financial Information Report? It was due to be submitted to the Province by June.
Why did CAO Ann Pappert resign last May? Why did Derrick Thomson resign to take another job with the Town of Caledon? Why did he return to the city as senior management to replace Ann Pappert and at what salary?
Did Mayor Guthrie vote to increase the senior staff salaries for 2015?
Why did Mayor Guthrie go out of his way to praise the senior management “team” despite evidence presented to council by Guelph resident Pat Fung, CPA, CA? He detailed serious financial problems in the city, (go to www.guelphspeaks.ca to obtain a copy of Mr. Fung’s expert analysis).
Why did Mayor Guthrie admonish the public by stating “I find it a bit disturbed that people would come in here and challenge our staff in this way.” Does the Mayor believe the staff is so competent that it is above criticism?
Why did the Mayor make these comments when all members of council received a copy of Mr. Fung’s financial analysis last August 18? Who was he protecting?
These questions requiring answers will play a role in the developing the 2017 budget and beyond. Between the next 18 to 24 months, CAO Derrick Thomson’s new administrative plan becomes the new city business plan, I think. It means we are stuck with a flaky, non-specific and a no-goal plan, complete with meaningless pie charts that will take us to the next civic election.
It is now obvious that this senior administration and leftist-dominated council deliberately refuse to acknowledge the serious financial mistakes of the past. It means extending the system of closed meetings, closed minds and continuing irresponsible management.
We are captives of a secretive, uninformed and politicized management who don’t care what we think about their performance.
The sad part is our Mayor is going out of his way to praise staff incompetence employing secrecy and irresponsibility that is the trademark of the present administration.
We are all aware of the consequences following almost ten years of an administration gone wildand the truth is even more elusive.