By Gerry Barker
Posted April 11, 2016
There were two events happening within three months following the 2014 civic election, all discussed in closed sessions. The first was the senior staff reorganization that converted five executive director jobs into three Deputy Chief Administrative Officers (DCAO), Mark Amorosi, Derrick Thomson and Al Horsman. This happened in November 2014, on the heels of the retirement of Janet Laird and Derek McCaughan.
It occurred during the final days of the Farbridge administration and before the new council was even sworn in.
Part of that reorganization came with a $6,361 pay increase for the remaining three senior managers taking Mark Amorosi’s annual salary to some $182,761. Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Ann Pappert, stood pat at $219,657.
At that point, the salary spread between the CAO and DCAO’s was $36,896. But then when the new salaries were awarded prior to the finalization of the 2015 budget, again in closed session far from the public eye, that spread grew to $47,619.
So the spread between the CAO’s salary and that of Mark Amorosi increased by $10,723. Amorosi said council based on Pappert’s performance, approved the 17.11 per cent increase for his boss. The DCAO went on to say: “There was a significant retro payment because in the past year of the last term there was no notification to human resources to process any increase.”
Hey! I can’t make this stuff up. Is Amorosi saying that the “retro” payment was made on the basis that Pappet did not ask for one in 2014? Regardless of that fatuous explanation, Pappert received a $37,591 increase two months later.
The dereliction of responsibility here, rests with those four executive managers who helped themselves to the public treasury, conned the majority of council to approve them in closed session, and buried the result for a year.
That self-serving manipulation ranks right up there with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941, described by President Franklin Roosevelt, as a “Day in Infamy.”
This is a management team that uses your money mostly in closed meetings, to deflect criticism of their actions.
Two examples stick out. First, Public funds were used to discredit a candidate in the 2014 election. Farbridge supporter, Susan Watson, accused Glen Tolhurst for accepting a $400 donation from the citizen’s activist organization, GrassRoots Guelph (GRG). The Election Compliance Committee, appointed by the previous administration, agreed to request an audit of Mr. Tolhurst’s election expenses report. The outside auditor hired by City Clerk Stephen O’Brien, stated that GRG had the right to donate money to candidates under the Ontario Municipal Elections Act.
That frivolous complaint cost the taxpayers $11,400 and Watson did not pay for it. We did.
The second misuse of public funds occurred when a resident of the city complained to council about the walkout of five councillors from a closed meeting, forcing cancellation of the public council meeting for lack of a quorum.
The city clerk engaged the services of the Local Authority Services (LAS), a partner with the Frank Cowan Company, one of the largest risk management organizations in the country.
So, you may ask, why did the administration hire this firm to investigate and advise on the walkout of the five councillors, January 25? Whose risk was at stake here?
It could not have been done to support the citizen who complained. Certainly the city, (read that the clerk), wasn’t at risk or why would he have hired LAS in the first place? No, it was to mitigate the risk taken by the five councillors who walked out of a closed meeting.
So, more of your money is being used by the administration to protect five councillors. They walked away from a closed meeting on the grounds they were protecting the integrity of the corporation and the staff, according to Walker Coun. Phil Allt.
The report by LAS stated that the five councillors did not breach the closed session section of the OMA and there was no evidence to recommend action against them. Are you not surprised at this outcome? And. Mr. O’Brien, how much did this cost the taxpayers?
This is the same administration, led by CAO Ann Pappert that has made little attempt to curb costs. It’s the same leadership that has allowed negative variances in the annual financial report every year for the past three years.
The Municipal Act says a municipality cannot carry a budgetary loss but must have a balanced budget. So every year, they raid the reserves to balance the books.
Ms. Pappert heads an administration that is deceptive, arrogant, and careless and ducks responsibility managing our money.
Let me ask you; is the CAO deserving of a performance increase of $37,591 for 2015? Too late, she already got the money.
Indeed, hiding these large senior manager salaries for more than a year is our day in infamy. More to the point, not one person, staff or council, revealed those inceases approved in the March 25 closed session wrapping up the 2015 budget.
Only the people can change it. Now is a good time to start the process by letting your ward councillors know that there has to be a stop to this obstructionism to reform city operations.
We have already experienced administration failure.
Now it’s our turn to tell them to manage responsibly or leave.