Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

An Innuendo Disease

Oh my goodness gracious. Not only do we have whiners and naysayers in town, and Bloggers too, now we have
  • “[WEDC] agency’s critics...spreading innuendo through the news media.”

Should I wash my hands every time I touch a copy of the Star or listen to the radio or watch TV? After all, there is nothing worse than secondhand innuendo.

Is this covered under the new Province of Ontario law. No listening to the local news in the car if there is a child there?

I wonder if we should call the Centre for Disease Control and warn them about it. I hope that this disease and the amnesia disease that seems to impact City Hall officials every so often will not hurt our tourist trade and scare away people from visiting here.

At least it is restricted to the news media and not the general population. I always did think that some of those media types look strange.

I believe that Mayor McNamara and WeACT’s Chris Schnurr may have made a terrible mistake. Instead of asking for a forensic audit, they should have asked for a “whitewash” audit as we had with the Windsor Utilities Commission. Then no one would have been upset. The Auditors could have done their business and no one would have been the wiser until the results came out.

I am actually very surprised at our Mayor who

  • “challenged McNamara to come forward with information that would warrant a forensic audit.

    “If he has information that is credible and leads him to believe a forensic audit is needed, I would urge him to come forward with that information otherwise this political attack on the development commission and creating or insinuating there are issues hurts our efforts to attract investors and jobs to our region.”

There was no need for that silliness. When our Mayor first ran for office, in his Platform he said that he wanted:

  • Detailed Audit of All Departments

    We need a starting point, a place to know where we are so that we can judge how well we do when we look at results.

    We will conduct in-depth audits of all of our departments to assess where we stand, and to identify inefficiencies and implement sound management principles across the corporation.

    The mandate of the auditor will include:
     Monitor our financial processes and controls
     Review the decisions already taken that will impact the City’s financial position for Council’s information for its budget deliberations
     Assess the extent to which the City has pursued areas for potential savings and identify any areas of possible savings
     Provide recommendations for further action.

Of course, the Mayor never fulfilled that promise. “Detailed” audit, “forensic” audit, I’m not sure that there is a difference in reality.

The point was that the Mayor wanted to create a “starting point.” Isn’t that the situation now? Effectively, the Board has resigned and we have no Development Commission. The only way that we can create a “starting point” is by auditing what happened in the past. What’s the big deal? We had all of these successful business people on the Board so it should not take very long or prove very costly to get all the answers that we need so we can move forward.

What is the point of making a mountain out of a molehill. I am sure that there are expense slips and plane ticket receipts for all of those lun ches and trips to Europe. There must be some kind of docketing sheet that would identify when the Chair came into the office to be the Interim CEO and how long he was there. I don’t see the issue.

The more protesting there is, the more that people might think that there is something to hide. Haven’t we had enough? I’m sure that no one wants the public to believe that there is a cover-up so let’s get this over and done with already.

To be direct about it, I am very disappointed in the Mayor and Warden. I thought that they wanted to go onto the Board to calm things down not to stir things up.

  • “Mayor Eddie Francis and County Warden Nelson Santos as well as acting commission CEO Remo Mancini accused”

Sounds to me like these people want to pick a fight with someone. Perhaps they ought to cool down and read the Windsor Star Forum first. I know that the best defense is a good offense but frankly they are being offensive.

What I find very interesting is the desire to change the nature of the debate. I did not see any of them talking about the 10-month CEO search, $1200 per day fee paid to the Chair, his involvement on the search committee and the Schumacher Company. Isn’t that what people are upset about? If one wants to open up the debate to “results,” then looking at what the Undevelopment Commission listed as their priorities might not be too helpful to their cause.

Just a few comments on some other topics.

It is twice now I believe that the Star has allowed the Chair to provide an “e-mail” response. Is that a new way of interviewing people? Just wondering.

An interesting Star Editorial saying that the Board Members should leave now and not in 90 days. They are absolutely correct in what they are saying about that. One should expect of course that the Star is also softening us up so that we will support the appointment of Alfie Morgan as the interim CEO. They are being so cute:

  • “Some have suggested Alfie Morgan is the right candidate to fill that position while the CEO search is on.”

Actually, the only person that I have seen who has said that is a Star Reporter. Frankly, and no offence to Alfie, if he is offered that position, he ought not to accept it. I can see it being in another friction point between the City and County given his close association with our Mayor. Who needs another war?

Another interesting point raised in the Editorial is something that I have not yet understood

  • “Included in the list of departing directors are City of Windsor CEO John Skorobohacz and Essex CAO Brian Gregg. Their bosses should be demanding to know why they added their names to that letter of resignation.”

One obvious explanation is that the 2 CAOs resigned because they believed that the appointment of the Mayor and Warden was a vote of nonconfidence in their efforts on the Board. I frankly do not understand that because the appointment of the political leaders was meant to be very short-term. Moreover, if they had kept their leaders and Councils advised as to what was going on, then there ought not to be a problem.

Another explanation is that they resigned because they believed that they had to in order to support what the other members of the Board did. Perhaps their view was that everything was done in confidence and that they could not break the confidence as a Board member. After all, they were put in the middle of an awkward position where they owed a duty to both their Councils and to the Commission

But here is the part that I do not understand. They could have resigned with a simple letter. Instead both of them, albeit separately, used similar language and said that the reason that they resigned was because a political dimension was added to the Board. After all, the mandate was that there was supposed to be no elected officials on the Board.

Please tell me when was the last time you told your boss publicly to [expletive deleted] off. This is nothing more than a vote of nonconfidence by the CAOs in their leaders and Councils. Imagine, public servants telling the political leadership elected by the people what they can and cannot do.

Unbelievable! Remarkable! Absurd!!! This is all out of control.

There is something going on that I just do not understand. It seems to me that both of the City and County Councils need to start asking some questions to satisfy the Public as to who is in charge.

Finally, Mayor Francis need not worry. He said:

  • “We need to shift the focus on the work that needs to be done and this is an opportunity to do that,” said Francis, adding that the controversy was hampering by the commission’s mandate to attract jobs and investment to the region.”

I have no idea what that means unless it means to start creating jobs and attracting business investment rather than wasting time and money. I would be concerned however if the Mayor and Worden believe that it is their job now to do that work.

In passing, I must admit that our Mayor, in addition to all of his other duties, has already been doing a lot of the development work on his own anyway… making cold calls into United States, going to Germany to see onion importers or is it food exporters and bringing call-centre errrrr knowledge-based IT jobs here.

However, he really need not be concerned. We have the MITI Minister around. She is the one who will save our City and Region.