By Gerry Barker
July 16, 2018
The following is a detailed Action Plan to return power to the people that has been denied, covered up and mismanaged by successive councils and administrative staff.
Guelph Tomorrow is an organization created by concerned citizens to return democracy and accountability to the civic administration of the City of Guelph.
The people’s hope and expectation, following the election of Mayor Guthrie in October 2014, have been drowned in hypocrisy, blatant cover-ups, secrecy and disdain for the public trust.
The Guthrie record is clear. He capitulated authority of the public trust to the professional senior staff that perpetuated the failed policies of the two previous administrations.
Are you better off today after four years of this Guthrie administration? His record in just two instances, escalated property taxes by more than 3 per cent annually plus 2 per cent special levies. He gave Guelph Hydro, worth $228 million, away for peanuts. The value contained in the 2016 Guelph Hydro financial statement, is just the tangible assets, not including cash on hand or goodwill.
Now we learn of his “action plan” to elect friendly supporters to councillors positions to gain control of council and continue more of the same.
In my opinion, Cam Guthrie was like the month of March; “in like a lion and out like a lamb.” Don’t be deceived any longer. The city council needs an election enema to stop the political wrangling, control by individuals whose performance has been dismal.
Now it’s our chance to change the administration to serve the needs of ALL the people not the few who have controlled our city for 12 years. It’s a situation that mirrors the recent demise of the Ontario Liberal Party in the provincial election.
In Guelph, the disenchanted Liberals, disdained their own candidate and turned to electing a candidate with no election experience representing a Green party with no power. Mike Schreiner espoused the same policies that drove up the debt in Guelph under the previous administrations. Mike Shriener ran as the Green Party’s Ontario Leader. He is now the boss of a party of one, Mike Schreiner, MPP.
Small guess: Mike will be wooed by the Liberal seven-member cause that needs an eighth member to be recognized as an official party in the Ontario Legislature. That will make all those Guelph Liberals happier than Doug Ford cutting the gas tax.
Here’s’ the people’s No Frills Action Plan developed by a team of fellow citizens familiar with the tawdry history of 12 years of administrations.
The No Frills Action Plan
No Frills means leadership, transparency, accountability and responsibility to all the people p
No Frills Priorities
No Frills means that the city auditor will complete a full audit of city finances before submission to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs
No Frills means halting capital spending until an audit of the city’s finances is completed
No Frills proposes a new senior management structure change to have a City Manager heading the staff, with directors leading the major departments
No Frills recommends that the he city administrative structure will include an Executive Management team composed of the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, City Manager, City Clerk and Department Directors. The City Manager will act as chair
No Frills means making every effort to kill the Guelph Hydro-Alectra merger
No Frills means using common sense, arresting spending and encouraging public participation
No Frills means reviewing the status of all reserves and clarify each for its purpose
No Frills means evaluating policies involving all subsidies, donations, and employment contracts
No Frills means eliminating the Committee of the Whole system of conducting public meetings
No Frills on the advice of the city manager, restores the committees of council with appropriate honourariums for councillors serving on committees based on attendance.
No Frills means no closed-sessions council meetings unless there are legitimate legal reasons to do so
No Frills means a complete review by the Director of Finance and the internal auditor of purchasing and procurement systems
No Frills means freezing all salary and benefit increases pending review of pay systems
No Frills means ordering a staff rationalization review by an independent authority
No Frills means reviewing all bylaws to update and remove those not applicable
No Frills means Investigating areas of increasing revenue including the University of Guelph’s ‘bed tax’ deal in lieu of property taxes.
No Frills Proposed Communications Plan
No Frills means reporting a summary of the financial state of the city every three months
No Frills means freezing and reviewing all communications contracts and systems
No Frills means the general manager of communications will conduct a regular media briefing weekly
No Frills pledges publishing a monthly report of the administration’s hits and misses and introducing personality profiles of council members and staff using the Guelph Hydro mailing list to distribute
No Frills means that the mayor or designate following a closed-session must release a summary following the meeting within 24 hours
No Frills proposed fixes of Property Taxes & User fees
No Frills means limiting property taxes to a 3 per cent increase for 2019
No Frills means an immediate elimination of the 2 per cent infrastructure levy on property owners
No Frills means eliminating the storm water levy on hydro bills
No Frills means freezing all user fees until the financial review is completed
No Frills means closing down Guelph Municipal Holdings Inc.
No Frills means freezing all residential planning until a full review is completed
No Frills action to fix procedures, bylaws and protocols
No Frills abolishes the Integrity Commissioner, cancels the Closed Session investigators, Amberlea Gravel of London
No Frills means freezing all consultant contracts until proven justified
No Frills means a complete review of the Council Code of Conduct
No Frills means banning any closed sessions involving political strategy issues
No Frills means staff accountability
No Frills means rewarding and encouraging staff performance and efficiency
No Frills means reporting regular financial performance with a clearly defined base line
No Frills means public accessibility to the people’s house and its services
Join the crusade for change at Guelph Tomorrow.ca.