Has Alfie Morgan Converted
It was another of those columns that just fill space on page 3. “Whining to the poorhouse,” the column about the $2.3 million Casino Windsor party, was what one would expect from a Columnist whose function it is to get people worked up in Windsor. After all, why else do most people read that Star? I'm waiting for the attacks by people who saw the comment about this:
- "By the way, not everyone who attended was rich or a big shot. There were plenty of us one-suit, one-car wonders soaking up this once-in-a-lifetime spectacle while sweating bricks over the price of a spouse's new dress. I felt lucky to be present, to witness Windsor's historic entry into the entertainment/convention big leagues."
Oh Gord, the Star pays you better than that! Such modesty.
Obviously the attack on paying customers (or do people stop subscribing to the Star and just go online these days)---“Check out the whinefest on The Star's Sound Off website” ---was designed to provoke Letters to the Editor or more hits to the website. Got to keep that circulation up! It was however another column not dealing with the Tunnel deal, the 400 audit and other vital City issues.
What I think is more interesting to read is his Thursday column “Drowning in red tape.” It was a tagteam event. Henderson and Alfie Morgan, former University professor, former Windsor CAO and now Chair of the small business task force appointed by Council in 2006 went after the Mayor in the strongest possible language for two people who were Eddie’s biggest supporters.
What is it that provokes these kinds of impassioned outbursts against Eddie Francis? It really is rather simple. People become disappointed and disillusioned after finding out what the real Eddie Francis is all about. It just takes some people longer than others.
Been there, done that.
Their reaction is similar to mine if you have been reading this BLOG for awhile. He is not at all what we thought he was. This person who is the Mayor of Windsor today is not the person that I supported when he first ran for mayoral office. How many times have you heard that? How many times have you just heard the talk but never seen the walk from this man?
The secrecy is the big part...just wait until the next story comes out that I heard about this morning. It literally turned my stomach. Nothing but complete contempt for citizens as far as I am concerned and a shocking indictment about the mess that this City has to be in. Just wait for a few days until it hits the headlines, if it does with certain strap-on "W" journalists in this City.
It is only when it happens to you personally that you understand the deep feelings of animosity directed to Eddie because of the shattered hopes that he was the guy who could lead this City to greatness. Instead, depending on what happens over the next two years, he may turn out to be the worst Mayor that this City has ever had.
Henderson is an enigma. Deliberately so. But if you look at a number of the columns that he has written over the past few months, as I have tried to point out, is he also tired of the Mayor but not ready yet to declare his opposition. His last line in the column is clearly directed to the person whom he praised at one time as being a legal technocrat:
- "Procedure is supposed to be a means to an end, not an end in itself," said Morgan. He pointed to corporations like GE which kicked off legendary turnarounds by burning policy manuals.
Quick. Somebody find a match.”
That is not a friendly Henderson comment.
Take the column on the small business task force. Look at all the negative comments set out. Of course they do not come out of Gord’s mouth. Rather they are attributed to others, in this case Alfie Morgan.
Alfie Morgan for heaven sakes!!! I did a search through my archives about things that Alfie has said about Eddie. Other than Gord, who could possibly be a bigger booster in public:
- Attacking Dennis DesRosiers--- " To promote yourself as a consultant, the cheapest way is to get written up in the media often enough. The way to do this is to take extreme, controversial positions, like running down Windsor's mayor and council. Obviously it worked. And media fell for it....
"As it turned out, he is a close friend of former mayor Mike Hurst. For some reason, when his chum was mayor, all was well with Windsor. Now that Eddie Francis is mayor, against the wishes of Mr. Hurst, all is wrong with Windsor. Coincidence?
Well, I know firsthand that Mayor Francis and councillors have been working diligently 24-7 tackling the issues that DesRosiers claims are not being addressed, such as the border, taxes, the debt (a legacy of the Hurst era), attracting investments, etc.
For a change, Windsor has dynamic, intelligent, hard-working leadership. Let us not ram these people down."
- "Most politicians would shy away from confronting a situation like this [Bureaucrats being paid overtime]. I'm really glad (Mayor) Eddie Francis had the courage to tackle it."
- This is regarding Gord Henderson's column in the Dec. 4 edition of The Star in which a panel assessed Mayor Eddie Francis' performance. The panel noted two weaknesses: too many closed-door meetings and micro-management. I think I can shed a different light on these two issues.
Regarding the closed-door meetings, here we have a new mayor and a new council facing many uncertainties and serious crises. They need intense deliberation and debate to clarify matters for themselves.
To go public before clarifying the uncertainties will lead to misinterpretations, confusion and invite self-serving players to muddy the issues. They are doing the prudent thing: clarify and discuss in private first and then go public when your ducks are nicely lined up. This is a reasonable behaviour.
As for micro-management, best practices in leading big organizations show that at times of crisis, the chief executive must step in and manage the issues hands-on.
The mayor inherited an organization in crisis. Now, stepping in means taking over from managers at certain critical moments. But, this is not micro-management at all.
It is crisis management.
- Will the mayor suffer a burnout because of the energy it takes to be deeply involved in the affairs of city hall? Highly unlikely. He is young. He thrives on extending himself -- driven by a strong devotion to the city of Windsor. He has the mental stamina to manage the issues and a physical strength to match.
- people should be relieved that Francis is a "logical, methodical, nuts-and-bolts kind of person" who won't be "rushing into things like Canderel and the other nonsense." Morgan said considerable time and energy has been devoted to fixing past screw-ups, including the Canderel and MFP files and the bungled city hall restructuring.
- He was particularly impressed by Francis's ability to build trust and respect among councillors. "There was no arm-twisting. No ridiculing. Everybody was treated equally and everybody had the chance to speak, even if it meant delaying something."
- Let us not attach such negative labels to a man who puts in at least 18 hours a day of undivided attention and passionate, intense effort. I found his commitment to serve this city bordering on obsession. For sure, he is dead against the tax-and-spend mentality that the other government levels have engaged in over the years.
- Windsor is fortunate to have such an outstanding mayor and dedicated councillors. Let us celebrate their hard work and cheer them along as they put in unlimited hours at the expense of their personal and work time to make Windsor a great place in which to live and do business.
I have written so much about Alfie praising our Mayor because of the comments in the Henderson column. Has he become disillusioned too or am I misreading what is being said?
Morgan has been working on this matter for over two years. Frankly, that seems like an eternity. The question needs to be asked why it took so long. But look at what Morgan has said obviously after an in-depth study: The buck clearly stops at the top and that is where the responsibility lies. One can try and argue that it is really an attack on the City bureaucracy but it is not. Do not forget that our Mayor is the micro-manager par excellence
- please consider this a cry for help
- his members are frustrated and angry over their inability to alter a slow-paced, unhelpful and sometimes adversarial culture at city hall which is killing businesses and driving investment out of Windsor.
- but you can hear the anger rising in his voice as he describes the rule-bound, process-driven grief he sees city staffers dishing out to business people who are hanging on by a thread.
- "It burns me up. It really does. It just looks like nobody gives a damn." Morgan cited instance after instance of bureaucratic mugging.
- We are cutting off our noses to spite our faces. And the people doing this have total job security and enviable benefits. Apparently they are creating work for themselves. They have to justify their jobs
However, it is this comment that a shocking because it attacks everything that Eddie Frances is and stands for and has become:
- “This situation, said Morgan, cries out for aggressive leadership from Mayor Eddie Francis. "We need someone to crack the whip. Don't delegate. Don't get consultants. Don't do reviews. Make the changes. Deal with the problem right now."
His advice to Francis: "Get that vim and vigour you had before, that unwavering determination to change things."
"Procedure is supposed to be a means to an end, not an end in itself,"
What Alfie described as positives before have become negatives now for Eddie.
Something obviously triggered this violent reaction from Alfie. I wish I knew what it was. Perhaps it is the bankruptcy of so many small businesses in Windsor or the death of the downtown or another grand vision that will achieve nothing other than waste time and effort. I wonder if Alfie ever met George Sofos to learn of his experiences with City Hall and what it is doing to him financially!
If you want to see how little the City really cares about small business just take a look at this City website http://www.thevoiceforsmallbusinessinwindsor.com/
What Alfie has seen over the last two years I am sure is the real Eddie Francis. Not the one who delivers these uplifting speeches about our future but the Mayor who spends millions on consultants to stall, who has to study problems to death, who is afraid to make a decision because he might be wrong and get blamed and who passes the buck to anyone else when the times gets tough.
Alfie has seen how the legal technocrat uses the process as his excuse for inaction. The 18 hour work days are not being spent to improve Windsor but for developing grand visions and plotting and maneuvering to achieve what?
Welcome to the Phone Booth, Alfie. Careful, it is getting crowded in here. Please, leave a bit of space. Gord Henderson may be following behind shortly.