Tag Archives: CAO Ann Pappert

Questions Guelph citizens should be asking about Salary-Gate

By Gerry Barker

Posting #776 – May 26, 2016

GUELPH SPEAKS

NEWS FLASH

CAO Ann Pappert is leaving her Chief Administrative Officer position

Ann Pappert tendered her resignation today in the wake of performance issues and public reaction. She is prepared to stay on to facilitate a smooth turn over of her responsibilities to her successor. Her contract ends in October.

It is not known at this time what her plans are.

She is the second senior officer of the city staff to leave in the past few days. Deputy Chief Administration Officer(DCAI), Derrick Thomson, resigned and that leaves just DCAO Mark Amorosi, remaining of the senior staff members hired by the former Farbridge administration. DCAO Scott Stewart, was only hired last December.

To replace Ms. Pappert will take some months as the city restructures its senior management..

The current post continous

We recently learned that in a closed-session last October 13, members of council were asked to rate the performance of Chief Administrative Officer, Ann Pappert. An independent consultant tallied the responses of the 13-member council. It was reported that the CAO’s performance failed to have the support of council. The result, according to the consultant, did not warrant any increase in salary for the CAO. It is important to note that Ms. Pappert was not present at the meeting.

What allegedly followed was a series of recriminations by certain councillors over what they had just collectively stated, therefore there should be no raise. Expressions of remorse including “maybe we were too tough on her” were made, again in closed session.

On December 9, in closed-session, council voted to increase the CAO’s salary by $37,581 for 2015.

Now we learn that the CAO has hired a lawyer, a specialist in human resources cases who will only negotiate with city lawyers. Negotiate what? Ms. Pappert’s exit?

This has become known as “Salary-Gate,” the abuse of power by the administration. It is a clear example of a council exhibiting its arrogance and lack of resolve by supporting this outrageous increase. The thought of renewing this individual’s more than $257,000 contract is a chilling prospect in view of her well documented performance over five years.

Some unanswered questions

QUESTION: Who voted for this increase conducted in closed session?

QUESTION: Did the Mayor vote to pay Ms. Pappert the $37,581 salary increase December 9?

QUESTION: Why was the CAO’s 2015 salary increase stalled until December 9, 2015?

QUESTION: Who determined the amount of the increase?

QUESTION: When and how was that amount calculated?

The Human Resources department, headed by Deputy Chief Administrative Officer (DCAO), Mark Amorosi, normally recommends salary increases based on research comparing rates for similar jobs in other municipalities. His boss is CAO Pappert.

QUESTION: Is this not a conflict of interest?

QUESTION: What about the increases given to the three DCAO’s, Mark Amorosi, Al Horsman and Derrick Thomson? The latter two have left the city.

QUESTION: When were they approved and who decided the amount of their substantial increases?

QUESTION: Why is the senior staff involved at all setting their own salary increases?

QUESTION: Why are these details conducted in closed-session?

These four senior managers of the corporation are public servants and the public has the right to know the details of negotiations.

QUESTION: Why has Mayor Cam Guthrie gone to great lengths to support his CAO despite the outcome of the council rejection of any increase for Ms. Pappert, October 13, 2015?

QUESTION: Why did DCAO Mark Amorosi state that the reason the CAO got the raise was because she did not get one in 2014 and she did not request one?

QUESTION: Was the CAO told not to request an increase in the 2014 election year?

QUESTION: Is it possible that former Mayor Karen Farbridge is advising the seven members of the Orange Crush on council to block reform of her failed policies, including awarding excessive executive salary increases?

QUESTION: Were there promises made in the dying days of the Farbridge term to reward her trusted senior staff?

QUESTION: Is there any recourse by citizens to stop the waste of public money and deliberate obstructionism by the Orange Crush majority on council?

In Ontario, there is little citizens can do to recall errant public servants and elected officials, short of being convicted of robbing a bank. In this case, the four executives were in charge of the bank.

This action by the majority of council is reprehensible and a dereliction of their sworn duty toward the citizens of the city.

Why did council not tell us about the salary increases?

In particular, it was a secretive, duplicitous action that only came to light when the provincial Sunshine List of public employees earning more than $100,000 was released in March this year, almost four months after the fact.

Most disturbing is the action of Mayor Guthrie, who has repeatedly avoided involvement in confrontational events requiring his leadership. Earning a resounding victory in October 2014, Mayor Guthrie has failed to follow through on his promises to make a “Better Guelph.” Instead he has squandered obvious opportunities to fulfill his mandate.

His ability to provide leadership of this city is needed more than ever. As time goes by, it is making him less relevant as a mayor and politician. It didn’t have to be that way because there were resources to assist him to overcome the Farbridge stranglehold on city operations.

Instead, he denigrated citizens who objected to the performance of his CAO by summarily dismissing any suggestion that she lacked the ability to do the job. He even threatened one citizen with legal action. That threat disappeared quickly due to the public reaction.

He has been quoted saying that he is receiving calls from mayors and reporters from all over Canada asking how does he do it, what was his secret?

Do what?

This isn’t about selling insurance, big guy; it’s about integrity, toughness and keeping your word. All three of those attributes of your Posting #776leadership are MIA – Missing in Action.

In the meantime, contact your councillor to let them know of you displeasure over this salary case and other serious mismanagement of city finances and operations. There is no shortage of material.

It didn’t have to be this way.

Here is the Council contact list:

Mayor            Cam Guthrie              mayor@guelph.ca                         519 837 4643

WARD 1

Coun. Dan Gibson                            dan.gibson@guelph.ca                 519 822 1260 Ext 2502

Coun. Bob Bell                                 bob.bell@guelph.ca                        519 803 5543

WARD 2

Coun. Andy Van Hellemond       andy.vanhellemond@guelph.ca   519 822 1260 Ext 2503

Coun. James Gordon                   james.gordon@guelph.ca               519 822 1260 Ext 2504

WARD 3

Coun. Phil Allt                              phil.allt@guelph.ca                          519 822 1260 Ext 2510

Coun. June Hofland                    june.holfland@guelph.ca                519 822 1260 Ext 2505

WARD 4

Coun. Christine Billings            christine.billings@guelph.ca            519 826 0567

Coun. Mike Salisbury                mike.salisbury@guelph.ca                 519 822 1260 Ext 2512

WARD 5

Coun. Leanne Piper                   leanne.piper@guelph.ca                    519 822 1260 Ext 2295

Coun. Cathy Downer                 cathy.downer@guelph.ca                  519 822 1260 Ext 2294

WARD 6

Coun. Mark MacKinnon            mark.mackinnon@guelph.ca            519 822 1260 Ext 2296

Coun. Karl Wettstein                        karl.wettstein@guelph.ca            519 763 5105

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How Mayor Cam Guthrie allowed huge salary increases to senior managers

By Gerry Barker

May 9, 2016

Breaking News: See details at the end of this post

It is now evident that there was a cover-up in November 2014 when CAO Ann Pappert and three executive directors were part of a reorganization of the senior management structure of the City of Guelph.

It was hatched behind closed doors by the defeated administration in its last days in office and approved before December 1, 2014, when Mayor Guthrie’s administration opened shop.

CAO Pappert announced that the executive director system of senior management would be replaced with three new Deputy Chief Administration officers, Mark Amorosi, Al Horsman and Derrick Thomson. Each was given a $6,000 salary increase.

Now this major reorganization had to be approved by council, the one that the voters had defeated just weeks before. Sitting on that council in November was Coun. Cam Guthrie now Mayor-elect Guthrie.

It is odd that in view of his position as chairman of the audit committee in the Farbridge administration, that he did not demand what was the urgency to make these changes even before his new administration took control December 1st? He was silent on the subject.

CAO Pappert said the planning for the reorganization started before the civic election was held. Why, one might ask? Because it was the beginning of a plan to increase the salaries of four senior managers, once the reorganization plan was adopted by the outgoing Farbridge administration.

It had to be done before December 1st, when the Guthrie administration took over.

Did the incoming Mayor know and vote for the senior management reorganization? As a member of the council he helped defeat, it appears logical that he was aware and voted for the change before he officially took office. We’ll probably never know the truth because of the Farbridge closed-session management system.

The bottom line is that major management change had to be approved by council before Mayor elect Guthrie took office.

The five executive director staff positions were replaced. Leaving the city was Environmental Services chief, Janet Laird who retired. Operations director Derek McCaughan left with no explanation offered to the public. New DCAO Chief Financial Officer, Al Horsman, was shifted to Environmental Services, engineering and planning; DCAO Human Resources director Mark Amorosi, Corporate Services, added responsibility of all finances and personnel; DCAO Derrick Thomson took over Operations.

This is what the new mayor inherited and he accepted it without a whimper.

That is the first part of the plot. In February 2015, the blog guelphspeaks.ca revealed that secret talks were being held with CAO Pappert concerning her contract.

Stage One, the Mayor attacks the editor of GuelphSpeaks

The Mayor went ballistic and the witch-hunt was on to find out who leaked it because there were closed-session discussions by members of council. FYI, this is a hangover from the Farbridge administration that locked up closed-session discussions. There was the threat of discipline by the Integrity Commissioner if councillors leaked details of closed-door discussions.

It is a practice that suffocates public interest, opening the door to unbridled corruption, preventing openness and transparency of government.

The practice continues to this day despite the Open and Transparent Initiative Plan that is a Farbridge initiated head fake in order to to maintain secrecy of operations. It was all about perception not actuality.

Did I mention that so far it has cost more than $856,000, including $500,000 to a Toronto Consultant to develop the plan. Plus $92,000 to Farbridge supporter, Andy Best, hired last June by the city to be General Manager of the Open and Transparent Initiative Plan. Add in $264,000 in the 2016 budget to fund the plan. This has to be the sickest joke in the history of city governance.

Mayor Guthrie was so angry over the so-called leak that he sent out an email to an undisclosed group of recipients. Here is a copy of this email from Guthrie exactly as published. It is not known who the recipients were.

From the email entitled – Confidential – Not for blogging

Hello,

I am writing to you all regarding our first interaction as this council with the writer of the Guelph Speaks blog, Gerry Barker.

The post in question is here: https://guelphspeaks.wordpress.com/2015/02/04/how-ann-pappert-has-transformed-from-a-puppet-to-a-dictator/#comments

Ann is our only employee. She cannot “stick up” for herself in public. Yet we can.

It is my advice that we shouldn’t contact or respond in any public way to this man or his post. When that has occurred in the past, it goes horribly sideways and only draws attention to what he writes. It gives him a spotlight and that’s the last thing anyone wants.

I am asking our HR department to look into this blog, and then to advise me of any action we can take as her employer, to protect her reputation. Preliminary advice from HR has been in agreement to mine, that we ignore.

I will not tolerate this whatsoever as mayor. These blogs distract us all and in-turn takes our collective focus off of helping this city.

I would be extremely upset if I found out any member of this council is in communication with a person who sole purpose is to belittle and disparage our CAO and our staff.

I will keep you informed of this issue and I’m willing to talk further in person about this if need be.

Thank you,

Cam

*            *            *            *

Cam: is this a criticism?

Now that the details of the great salary cover-up outed 14 months later, why was Mayor Guthrie so concerned about the secret salary negotiations with the CAO and her DCAO’s not revealed? Think about it. Nobody outside that closed-session meeting awarding the increases knew what was going on, or worse, what happened.

Imagine if those huge salary increases had been made public before the 2015 budget was struck in March? The action of the Mayor and those councillors who approved the increases is a dereliction of their sworn duty to protect and maintain their fiduciary responsibilities. This was a large-scale deception that not one elected member of council or staff broke the code of silence since February 2015.

It was the provincial Sunshine List of those public employees earning more than $100,000, published 14 months later, that the increases were revealed. By that time, the CAO and DCAO’s had received the money.

Yet not one peep from any elected official about this including the mayor, who now describes himself as Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation of the City of Guelph and Chairman of the board of Guelph Municipal Holdings Inc.

It only goes to show, once again, that getting elected is one thing, managing your fiduciary responsibilities in a manner that represents the people who elected you, is quite another.

Stage Two, Mayor Guthrie goes berserk, again

Recently, Guelph citizen, Rena Akerman, circulated a detailed critical analysis of the five-year performance of CAO Ann Pappert to Guelph citizens. (Details may be viewed in the guelphspeaks.ca archives.)

Once again, Mayor Guthrie responded sending her a letter threatening legal action and to immediately apologize to Ms. Pappert. Ms. Akerman replied that she would not and stood by her analysis.

Between the response to the Akerman email and guelphspeaks.ca post, repeating her Pappert performance data, many thousands of residents have read the content. The email and GS post combined have gone viral.

At this point in your term Mayor Guthrie, most people rate you as a D: Deaf, Dumb and Deceptive. Deaf to the legitimate concerns of the people; Dumb to threaten citizens who object to your administion and its shaky record; Deceptive in failing to provide an open and transparent administration. Informing people is part of the job and that includes timely senior staff salary details.

The Orange Crush Seven are always addressing the issue of Integrity. I doubt few understand the word let alone pronounce it. If they did, they would end their obstructive tactics that have created the most dysfunctional council in recent memory.

The Mayor seems immune to standing up to the Orange Crush council majority that has made him look incompetent, unsure and afraid. That’s exactly what the Orange Crush supporters are salivating over. Why doesn’t he see it?

It is astonishing that he takes the side of the senior management staff and disparages citizens who object to the actions of his administration.

There are some on city council that are using the office to which they have been elected, as a stepping stone to greater government positions. These councillors have already abandoned their constituents by using bloc-voting to achieve personal goals and the misguided agenda of a lost administration.

Is Mayor Guthrie beyond redemption? Best guess is probably. But some anger management counselling might help.

Mayor Guthrie is too dependent on a senior management staff appointed by his predecessor to function as the elected leader of the city.

Now that the salary increases are public, he fails to see the effect of deliberate deception or cover-up in which he participated as Mayor of Guelph and allowed it to occur.

The people get it. It might be a good idea to apologize, Mayor Guthrie for allowing this to occur.

A final financial note.

Since DCAO Mark Amorosi took over the financial management of the city, the former Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Al Horsman, was moved to Environmental Services and left the city last August for the position of CAO of Sault Ste Marie. Two Amorosi hires to be general manager of Finance and Treasurer have left the city. Janice Sheehy the latest holder of the office left in March to a job with Peel Region. Guelph has been without a CFO since November 2014.

What does this say about competent financial management?

Breaking News! Latest development on the CAO salary increase

It was revealed today the details of two, closed-session meetings of city council to discuss the contract of Chief Administrative Officer, Ann Pappert.

According to the official agenda of the October 13. 2015, a closed-session meeting reviewed the performance of the CAO. The process went like this: Each member of council rated the performance of the CAO. The outside consultant received the councillor’s ratings and prepared a consolidated report.

The consultant reported that the aggregate score did not qualify the CAO for an annual salary raise because it was less than required.

Apparently, there was additional discussion by councilors that ranged from the boring to the ridiculous. These included that the CAO should be treated to an increase “out of respect” and “fairness” and “perhaps we were too tough on her.”

Disregarding the consultant’s advice, the majority of council voted to give her the $37,591 increase making her the highest paid CAO in the group of similar sized Ontario cities.

It is troubling that the identity of those councillors voting for the CAO salary increase is never revealed because of the ridiculous closed-session rules.

The CAO was not present at the October 13 meering. How about this for irony? On November 9, the meeting to determine the 2016 budget, during another closed-session before the regular meeting, the CAO was informed of her failing score but agreed to take the increase any way!

Question: Is this raise retroactive to January 2015? It now apparent that the CAO salary increase was not included in the 2015 budget, struck March 25, 2015. Is her increase part of the now approved 2016 budget?

With all this going on without the public’s knowledge, it represents a total display of a majority of council ignoring their own opinions and the consultant’s advice. Instead, emotion prevailed to award a record salary increase to the senior employee. A decision that they themselves, voting secretly, previously failed to approve an increase.

This is yet another example of the dysfunction of our elected council to make rational decisions reflecting the will of the people.

These closed-sessions must be arrested and only held under strict guidelines.

Right now the public interests are not being served.

But Ms. Pappert still took the money.

More Breaking News!

In yet another closed-session of council tonight May 9, the matter of correspondence regarding city staff will be reviewed. This follows the threat of legal action by Mayor Cam Guthrie against Rena Akerman for emailing a critique of the CAO’s five-year performance. Based on the individual assessments of the CAO’s job by councillors, it now appears, Ms. Akerman’s information was accurate.

 

 

 

 

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City pays $1,125 fine for failing to take out a building permit for one of its own projects

By Gerry Barker

Posted March 24, 2016

Is this the tip of the iceberg? Recently, Bruce Poole, the former Chief Building Inspector with 20 years service, sued the city for wrongful dismissal. He is claiming $1 million in compensation. This matter is now before the courts.

Why was the veteran Poole fired? Because he approached the senior staff management and said there were some 55 building projects being performed by the city that did not have building permits as required by the Provincial Building Codes Act (BCA).

Poole said he was fired after he warned senior management staff that he would blow the whistle on this breach of BCA protocol. It is alleged that he would institute an action to fine the city for failing to adhere to the Building Codes Act.

Poole was initially offered to step aside and receive his regular pay. He refused. Then the city said he had to take the deal. He refused again and was fired.

This brings up the case of Margaret Neubaur, the Chief Financial Officer of the city for three years. With advance warning, she was unceremoniously marched out of the building in May 2011, by former Chief Administrative Officer, Hans Loewig, and Executive Director of Human Resources, Mark Amorosi. Those two refused to allow Ms, Neubaur to collect her belongings. It was a classic intimidation by the two senior managers. We do not know whether she sued for wrongful dismissal or received compensation for the action. The public was never told why she was fired.

Here’s another example. In 2007, the Farbridge administration fired Chief Administrative Officer, Larry Kotseff, and Chief Financial Officer, David Kennedy, in one fell swoop. It took two years to obtain the settlement details of more than $500,000 through the Freedom of Information Act.

This action gutted the heart of senior management and it has never recovered.

This whole Bruce Poole affair could have been avoided if the senior management had obeyed the rules. Instead, they took it out on their chief building inspector who warned them of the situation.

This is yet another example of incompetence by senior management. And, where was the council in all this? This brings up the excessive use of closed session by council. Under the Municipal Act, a council can go into closed session when the subject is a discussion of a member of the staff that involves personal matters..

In fact, this is yet another example of screening issues behind closed doors. That impacts the public. Rarely are these issues discussed in open council. . Councillors are held to a Farbridge vintage rule that prevents them from discussing what went on in a specific closed session. Often these meetings, held in private before a regular council meeting, turns out to be donnybrooks far from the public’s gaze.

The city now faces not only settling another wrongful dismissal lawsuit but also paying additional fines to the province for all those city projects not having building permits.

And these are the same staff management people who allegedly managed the city’s Urbacon lawsuit defence, that cost $8.96 million to settle, and are now responsible for the Poole firing.

Now we know the city has already paid a fine for not having a building permit for renovations to the West Recreation Centre. Does the new Chief Building Inspector pursues any additional flagrant abuse of the powers given to the senior staff of this administration?

We will never know the answer to this until the conclusion of the civil action brought by Bruce Poole, a man only trying to do his job.

This trial will probably conclude in two years, just in time for the 2018 civic election. Is this not a repeat of the Urbacon decision that cost the city $8.96 million? Later the city admitted the new City Hall contract overrun was $23 million.

Our current dysfunctional city council, with its pro-Farbridge majority, will founder in its attempt to coerce the staff to settle the Poole claim.

The trouble is, because of senior management ineptitude in 2015, they have no leverage. To assault the intelligence of citizens admitting to paying the province a fine of $1,125 for breaching the Ontario Building Codes Act, is beneath contempt. It is no secret that Mr. Poole states there were 55 breaches in city-operated building projects without obtaining a building permit.

The next question is who was getting paid off?

The camera swings onto those contractors hired by the city to perform the work. Why was there no control over these projects?

If Mr. Poole’s assertions are proven in court, and that does not appear to be in doubt, citizens must ask: How did this occur and who benefitted?

Also, the system of management from top to bottom should be subject to professional review to determine what happened and why?

On the surface, Bruce Poole appeared to be a fall guy who allegedly lost control of his department with zero support from senior management. If it reaches trial, the defence will spin that theory.

But reality dictates that the man in charge became so frustrated that he went to the top management and said he had to fine his own city for failing to issue building permits for the city’s own building projects.

You be the judge, is Bruce Poole the victim for doing his job or an inconvenience to the senior staff?

For what it’s worth, my money is on Poole

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The night council put the brakes on spending

By Gerry Barker

Posted December 10, 2015

After a marathon debate last night, the majority of council rejected the city budget as being too high

It was about 12:50 am this morning when Mayor Cam Guthrie said a four-letter word in response to Coun. Leanne Piper’s asking if he would support the proposed 3.42 per cent property tax increase. It was an insulting, request that bespoke of the lady’s insecurity when the chips are on the line.

It occurred at the end of a marathon eight-hour deliberation.“Nope,” the mayor told her. He added to another councillor’s similar question that the rate was too high.

A few minutes later the vote to approve the budget was defeated by a 7 to 6 margin. These councillors voted against approving the budget: Mayor Guthrie, Andy Van Hellemond, Christine Billings, Dan Gibson, Bob Bell, Mark McKinnon, Karl Wettstein. Those members deserve the support of citizens for having the determination to reduce the property tax increase by rejecting the final operating budget.

Those voting for the budget were Councillors James Gordon, June Hofland, Phil Allt, Mike Salisbury, Cathy Downer and Leanne Piper.

It was a victory for the people who have felt powerless for the past nine years to face increased property tax rates, water and electricity fees, other user fees, inflicted by an administration bent on imposing its ideological agenda without recourse.

That came to an end last night.

The thin edge of council majority held by the Farbridge Gang of Seven was shattered when Coun. Karl Wettstein defected. In fairness, Mr. Wettstein has always said he was neutral sitting on council. But Wednesday night, he expressed his concern that property taxes cannot continue to increase at a plus 3 per cent annually.

It was a civil but messy debate throughout the night with some give and take. The Mayor went out of his way to allow all councillors to speak. There were many votes to approve and disapprove the various budget line items recommended by the staff under the leadership of Chief Administrative Officer, Ann Pappert.

The costs kept climbing

 As the evening wore on, it became apparent that the budget item numbers were climbing increasing the tax -supported operational costs. Mayor Guthrie repeatedly asked Janice Sheehy, General Manager of Finance and Treasurer for the impact of each approved or rejected item on the property taxes.

The trouble began when the staff’s non-recommended items were considered and the additions started adding to the tax percentage as reported by Ms. Sheehy. In the final half hour, the rejection votes were increasing as councillors realized they had to stop increasing spending, but it was too late, so to speak.

After all adjustments, Ms. Sheehy reported the final 2016 operating cost was $217,336,736, creating an increase over 2015 of 3.42 per cent. When this figure is matched with the 3.96 percent approved last March for 2015, it would total 7.38 per cent impacting property taxes over two years.

“Nope,” said the Mayor and a majority of council agreed.

Tonight, the budget debate will re-open starting at 6 p.m. at City Hall. There will have to be give and take by all councillors. But it’s now clear that the property tax rate must be reduced to at least 2.5 per cent, closer to the rate of inflation.

There were winners and losers last night. The staff’s recommended expansion budget was split in two, one part contained the staff recommended items and the other the non-recommended items. Why it was done that way, bespeaks of an attempt to make the staff look responsible and doing its job. Instead it opened the door for some councillors to add the staff rejected items to the new budget.

This budget process, designed by the staff, was a dismal failure. Why would they tell council that they were not recommending a number of items? Why not just recommend what they deemed necessary and leave it like that?

There were more ulterior motives swirling around than a carnival merry-go-round.

Who were the winners last night? First and foremost are the citizens of Guelph. Then Mayor Guthrie who stood firm when he had to and stopped the accelerating spending. And those councillors who believed that living in Guelph is too expensive and that spending has to be arrested.

The losers: The six councillors voting for the budget increase who still don’t understand that the people voted last year for change. Last night they got it and now all members of council must work together to adopt new ideas to increase efficency, destroy the culture of the previous administration and go down in history that this council finally got it right.

Tonight there will be some major spending changes to reduce the 3.42 per cent tax rate defeated last night.

Let the slicing and dicing begin

 I have two items that need to be pulled from the budget. First, is the Staff Rationalization Study, approved at $250,000. This is a staff recommended item that seconds its management responsibility to a third party to support its own job performance. Not needed now and instead commence a program, department by department, to analyze performance and job descriptions. The internal auditor can make a major contribution in those processes provided she has a free hand.

The second is the $264,000 cost of maintaining the Open Government Action Plan that was approved in September 2014. The city has already spent $100,000 to a consultant to create the plan. Last July, the city hired Andy Best, a key supporter of the former mayor, to manage the plan. It was reported to be a one-year contract paying $92,000.

Now this has morphed in 2016 paying, $117,000 to Mr. Best, a tidy $25,000 increase to someone who has been on the job five months. Then there is $147,200 allocated for goods and services. There was no justification offered for that item.

This is a hangover project created by the former administration. Guelph does not need this after what occurred last night. We have a council that is more open and transparent than the secretive, manipulating former administration it replaced.

Two senior staff members need to refresh their management targets to meet the demands of the people. There is a culture of entitlement existing at City Hall, the Guelph Police Services Board and the Fire department. It’s a culture that senior staff must correct to meet the demands of the people and those councillors who the people elected to represent them.

Notice that the EMS was not mentioned. They asked to hire another paramedic to speed up response times and the $84,000 position was voted out of the budget.

But they did vote to add a zoning inspector costing $128,000

The words you never heard in eight hours were “Urbacon” and “Sunshine List.”

In 2014, CAO Ann Pappert said the $8.96 million settlement of the Urbacon lawsuit would not affect property taxes. How’s that working for you? She then said the settlement money was taken from three unrelated reserve funds. She said that the city would replenish those reserves by paying $900,000 a year for five years.

That didn’t happen and there was no reference to it in the staff recommendations.

The Ontario givernment’s annual Sunshine List keeps on growing naming all civic employees earning more than $100,000 plus taxable benefits. This year, Guelph will report an additional 15 to 20 new staffers to the 2015 list reported in 2016.

At least now the spending brakes are engaging.

Tomorrow, guelphspeaks.ca, will publish the final budget figures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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