Get ready for more shocks from the Provincial Sunshine List published later this month

By Gerry Barker

March 6, 2017

Having waged a campaign to get the city to reveal why those three top managers in 2015 received $98,202 increases, I have received the ultimate cover-up by a city-paid independent agent to say the council acted within the meaning of the Municipal Act.

I complained about this Dec 10, 2015 closed-session council meeting where that was conducted by the closed-session investigator, hired by the city, requesting opening the minutes and the vote of council that approved these increases.

That was more that four months ago.

This was an increase that concerned the non-union staff including CAO Ann Pappert, (37K) DCAO’s Mark Amorosi, (26K) and Derrick Thomson, (33K). Pappert and Amorosi are gone.

The city staff is 80 per cent unionized. That leaves 20 per cent of the remaining staff covered as “non-union staff.”

There is nothing in the Ontario Municipal Act that states that non-union staff compensation does not have to be made public. Ah! But it is, once a year when the Sunshine List is published in March.

You see, the city is required to report these salaries and taxable benefits to the Province to be published every March in the Sunshine List that includes the names, taxable benefits and job title of every publicly paid employee in Ontario.

So why does our council conceal these settlements, knowing full well they will be published every March?

Are they afraid to tell their constituents of the non-union staff increases for fear of political fall-out?

Do they honestly believe that the people will not notice?

They did not inform the public on the city website, nor through the local weekly newspaper that rarely attempts to question the city’s news releases or get two sides of the story.

Last March, I broke the story that revealed the $98,202 increases awarded to the then top managers of the city in the close-session city council. Dec. 10, 2015.

To this day, not one member of council has admitted or confirmed these increases.

On Marck 23, council will receive the report of Amberley Gravel, (A/G) the city-hired closed-session investigator, concerning my request.

This is when members of council should stand up and admit it was a mistake and state the A/G Report should by filed in the circular disposal where it belongs. Even braver councillors should move to fire this outfit that has been on retainer to the city for nine years.

In that time, it has adjudicated only five complaints, all of which supported the right of the city to conduct closed meetings.

In 2007 former Premier Dalton McGuinty mandated that every municipality must have a closed-session investigator on retainer by January 1, 2008. The Liberal government recommended the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, {AMO). This is an organization financed by the provincial government and over the years, several Guelph Councillors have been members.

But some 220 Ontario Municipalities have dumped the private closed-session investigators to have the independent Ontario Ombudsman’s office to assume the responsibilities.

Here is how Guelph citizens are in a bind when it comes to protesting closed sessions by city council who deny public participation.

Our closed-session investigator A/G is only interested in the interpretation of the Municipal Act. It does not investigate why the meeting was conducted or the impact on the public purse. It is nothing but a taxpayer-paid tool for the use of the administration at the expense of the public’s right to know.

Are we not entitled to be informed by our elected representatives of what our managerial class is earning on our behalf?

I am a taxpayer. I am sick and tired of the manipulated flow of information, to which we are entitled, coming from City Hall, or the lack of it.

Even when you question it, you get sued.

Sorry council, I’m not going away and will continue telling the truth about a city administrative staff that is now bereft of talent and is out of control.

Do the mayor and council really believe that those senior staffers who have benefited from the largess of city council and left city employment, really care whether you are re-elected in 2018?

If council’s performance continues the way it has, you can be sure the people will decide the outcome.

 

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9 Comments

Filed under Between the Lines

9 responses to “Get ready for more shocks from the Provincial Sunshine List published later this month

  1. Barry

    Wow Gerry same old same old news again. Let it go and if you are so passionate look for something new rather than rehashing the same old news over and over in your articles. You lose your audience as the only ones commenting are the same people article after article.

  2. Barry

    According to you, but I don’t see any new faces making comments about your articles.

    • Barry: I don’t know you, where you live or your knowledge of civic affairs. If you are tired of what you describe as the “same old news,” I suggest stop reading the blog. This is an issue that affects everyone in the City of Guelph. It is a cover-up of excessive payments awarded by council in closed session to three senior managers. Two of the three are gone and the third manager is now the Chief Administrative Officer of the city. Nothing has changed and the mayor has remained silent. The local weekly doesn’t question it leaving the impression that it’s an old story and nobody cares according to you. Sorry I don’t like my taxes and user fees getting wasted in this way.

  3. Barry

    I am somewhat glad you don’t know me but I have lived in Guelph since 1972, worked in politics/government for 35 years but retired now and I do care but your answer was 80% repetition again which is my point. And I do think the Mayor cares and I also a, concerned with my taxes etc. So how be you run in the next civic election to clean this up Gerry’s way.

  4. Barry

    I had 35 years of heat working in Government so I already have been in the fireplace. I think you get upset when people challenge your way of writing and repeating the same facts. I notice Pat Fung refrains from posting comments on your blog. I wonder why? But you are my source of weekly entertainment and I really do need a chuckle and look forward when you post them.

    • Barry: I would like to have a face-to-face talk with you but that’s not going to happen. Continuing to take pot shots at me serves no purpose. Remember I put my name on every post I publish unlike you and a few other folks who hide their real identity. So at this point I’ll say goodbye.

  5. Gerry, two thumbs up! Thank you for reporting the truth and facts of Guelph civic affairs. The writer Barry is a BULLY. Good for you Gerry, you put him in his place.

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