Tag Archives: Pappert

Wagging the dog in Guelph

A spiteful refusal by a city staff member denied a councilor’s request for a report on air quality at the $33 million compost plant.

Chief Administration Officer, (CAO), Ann Pappert, wrote in an email that the request was denied because “it would cause the relocation of staff resources away from existing priorities.


So if I got this straight, staff work trumps that of members of council who were elected as stewards of the people’s trust.

Pappert went on to sat that “individual members of council do not have the authority to direct staff work.”

Again, Huh?

Now that tail is really wagging the dog.

Using the city’s governance manual dealing with “new projects and initiatives” the CAO harrumphed that the report request should be brought up in an open and transparent forum such as a standing committee or a council meeting. Is it merely coincidence that Mayor Farbridge chairs the governance committee?

Veteran Coun. Gloria Kovach said she had “never experienced anything like this.” She went on to say “this information should be easy to get.”

If one looks back for the past five and one half years of the Farbridge administration, it is easy to understand that information is often impossible to get. If staff stonewalls a member of council what chance do the citizens have?

Far too much city business is conducted behind closed doors or off site.

Perhaps because Coun. Cam Guthrie has announced he is running for Mayor, the staff saw an opportunity to embarrass him.

It is apparent that certain members of the staff have been politicized by the Farbridge administration to the point where it is a civic embarrassment. Along the line, some staff members forgot they are civil servants.

It’s no wonder that the city has six senior managerial positions open and no takers.

Change at 1 Carden Street cannot come soon enough.


Leave a comment

Filed under Between the Lines

Stumbling along like the tumbling tumbleweed

Newly minted Chief Administration Officer Ann Pappert not only rearranged the deck chairs on the good ship Farbridge but gave herself a new title: Executive Director. Shouldn’t that be Chief Executive Director as there are a number of executive directors around city hall?

After almost a year, the administration is now casting about for three senior jobs including: Executive director for finance and enterprise services; general manager of finance and an internal auditor.

Pappert says there will be no additional charges to the budget as two of the jobs have been vacant and the internal auditor position was approved in the 2012 budget.

One would think that hiring a new executive director for finance and enterprise services, that this successful individual would have a say, in hiring the other two seeing they report to that position.

Why would the executing director for finance (etc) be involved in enterprise services?

What are enterprise services? Pappert explained that there is a need to be strategic financial planning and, “be enterprising with how we manage risk.”

The stated objective with these financial positions and moving other various departments under the umbrella of the community and social services department, is to spur innovation and enterprise in the city.

This is what happens when you let amateurs run the hardball league.

These changes are just embroidery over some deeply entrenched reactionary systems and procedures that has made Guelph the place not to do business.

A recent example is the auto parts company that was going to build in the Hanlon Business Park and decided to walk away from the deal.

How is the new executive director of finance going to handle that situation?

These moves are the hallmark of the Farbridge administration. They create new positions; give the senior managers long-winded titles and salaries. And then interlace the mélange with dopey rules and regulations that stifle commercial and industrial growth.

It appears there are too many chiefs and not enough firemen at 1 Carden Street.

If one needs further proof that the Farbridge administration is moribund in ideology, lacking basic business sensitivity and acumen, look no farther than this so-called reorganization.

The Mayor recently attended a workshop to expand invention, the patron saint of innovation, into realistic business ventures.

Did she not understand what the panelists were talking about?

The spirit of entrepreneurship has been deadened in city hall for the past five years.

Is a new executive director of finance and enterprise services going to change that?

Don’t hold your breath.

Besides, if past history of hiring senior financial staff is any indication, we may not see someone hired possibly into the fall or even next year.


Filed under Between the Lines

Mayor says Guelph is the Chutzpah capital of Canada

It was a wowzer of a speech, upbeat, positive and full of promise. And Chutzpah.

Mayor Karen Farbridge stepped out of the civic shadows to describe her city in three words – creativity, compassion and chutzpah.

It took chutzpah for the iron lady to make that speech. The normally reserved chief magistrate told her businessperson audience, that she is getting calls from all over Canada asking; how does Guelph maintain a 4.1 per cent unemployment rate?

What she didn’t mention is revealing. Contortion of the facts comes to mind.

She failed to tell her rapt audience about why Guelph has the ninth highest debt of all cities in the country, almost double per capita than Kitchener. Nor did she explain that the municipal taxes in the city are also among the highest of similar sized cities in Ontario.

Nor did she explain why a newly hired chief financial officer quit after one week on the job He was the second CFO in six months to either be fired or quit.

Her record in developing manufacturing jobs after five years in office is dismal as the 16:84 ratio of industrial commercial assessment compared to residential remains the same.

With more than 4,500 public service workers in the city, it skews the artificially low unemployment figure. Jobs have been created but they are mostly minimum wage with few benefits positions. Guelph’s civic staff of more than 1,450 enjoys some of the highest salaries in the municipal field plus extensive benefits including unprecedented job security.

The private sector cannot compete with the taxpayer-paid civil service wages and benefits in the city.

The Mayor dwelt on the number of growth collaborative initiatives to create jobs and increase assessments. That was chutzpah! Two years ago an independent consultant warned that Guelph was not friendly to business because of bureaucratic stalling of applications and information.

In this so-called state of the city address, the Mayor failed to tell her audience of the growing debt and unfunded liabilities the city faces. This includes the $12 million in capital to build new headquarters for the Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health Unit. She failed to say that she demanded that the Ontario Health Minister provide an assessor to judge whether Guelph must provide the money. Now that’s chutzpah!

Two judges have already ruled that the city has to pay.

Appointing insider Ann Pappert as Chief Administration Officer after a $46,000 headhunter search was chutzpah!

This speech had the eerie quality of Emperor Nero merrily playing the fiddle while Roman burned.

Now that was chutzpah!

Leave a comment

Filed under Between the Lines