Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Mini-Gord Makes It All Better

Junior has to be laughing out loud now. Mini-Gord is turning into his biggest helper.

And for him to go after another Star writer to suggest the Star's reporter and fact-checkers have no idea what they are doing on the managers leaving story is just too funny. Heck if a Star Columnist has doubts about his own newspaper then I do not feel so bad when I go after them.


Expect an Editorial soon to come down on the side of one writer or the other. That will make the Star look even more ridiculous than it already is. My 2 cents offer to buy it might be too high.

I am sure that you are no longer wondering why Junior has not yet dropped his CUPE strike bombshell. That is the Report that he mentioned that he will be disclosing giving his version of what happened during the strike and the consequences.

You must have suspected as I did that what he is doing is sitting back and waiting for his foes to say stupid things over the next week or so that he can use against them. No wonder that story is supposed to die out. Not even an Anne Jarvis viewpoint either. She had to write about Windsor pizzas in England instead.

However, the story could not die. Eddie had to lash out. Again. Whenever he is blamed. You see, it is never his fault.

Junior is right in what he is doing. Mini-Gord's column on Tuesday gave him so much ammunition that it is not funny. There is one line in particular---I won't mention it now but I will later when appropriate---that absolutely destroys the concocted version of the Strike being a massive victory for the Mayor, the fiscally responsible Members of Council and taxpayers.

In fact, I can see Edgar (aka Eddie) choosing not to run again for family reasons just like his buddy Mayor David Miller in Toronto. I could also see some other Councillors running for the hills to get away from the criticism or at least to Mt. Francis.

In mini-Gord's column, he tries to demonstrate that things aren't so bad here after all. Sure managers have left the City, so what. That seems to be the argument being used.

As one example that is to show everything is fine, he writes:
  • "The so-called "high turnover" list includes three former executives of the city-county development commission, which isn't under the city's direct control. It's a separate legal entity."

Wow, I am re-assured because of that legal nicety!

Three Senior Executives leaving from a key organization for the re-development of the City and region and everything is fine. As if no one in that business field outside of Windsor has heard of the turmoil here. No wonder no one has been hired to be the CEO. Who would come here in the first place.

I like the fun with figures too. Start off with 2,200 employees and then 400 managers to do calculations. Do NOT talk about the number of SENIOR Managers since that would tell the true tale when percentages are made.

Mini-Gord is so flippant about golden handshakes:

  • "That's what happens when highly paid people are removed during reorgs. Under law, anybody with an employment contract gets the same treatment, from hockey players to salespeople. You pay them or you get sued -- and end up paying more."

Except Batagello told us:

  • "Except for last month’s controversial payment to John Skorobohacz, who was given $275,000 when he left, in nearly all cases the severance for those senior workers has not been made public.

    Among others believed to have received settlements were former development commission heads Paul Bondy, Roman Dzus and Matthew Fischer, tourism’s Elizabeth Hamel, social service boss Susan Ellis and Enwin Utilities CEO Roy Fritz.

    Former CAO Dennis Perlin, building commissioner Ed Link, public works director Gord Harding and parks commissioner Lloyd Burridge were also given severances, but asked to work them off in another capacity.

    If Skorobohacz’s severance is any indication, taxpayers have been on the hook for hundreds of thousands of dollars as managers headed for the door."

Ten people with a nice severance package of a year or more given their seniority. What are we looking at, one or two million dollars?

I loved one example given to disprove:

  • "But did 30 people really leave the city's employ against their will since Eddie Francis became Windsor's tyrannical mayor, as some critics claim?"

Mini-Gord talks about

  • "The heavily padded list of supposed casualties includes former public works commission John Tofflemire, who resigned without any pressure whatsoever to take a job in Leamington, where he could take over the family farm."

He better do some homework first. I Blogged at the time:

  • "It is no surprise: John Tofflemire is leaving his job. I wonder what the rumour mill at City Hall will churn out about why he really is going."

Did mini-Gord interview him to ask why he left? Did he ask him about the "illness" story that was being spread around as one of the justifications? I mentioned it to John when I met him after he left. Surprisingly, he was still alive at the time too! As I wrote back in 2007:

  • "From what I hear from my inside moles, morale is quite low still at City Hall. However, if you want a good-paying job and want to live here, then if you are a public servant, you "grin and bear it."

    It gets somewhat concerning however when people like John Tofflemire and Brenda Andreatta decide to pack up and go."

Want to know a different perspective about why John really left? Check out part of this Halberstadt column in Biz-X:
And then mini-Gord has the nerve to mention Alfie Morgan who was once Edgar's biggest booster and who now says in a very politically correct manner in the Battagello story:

  • "Retired university business Prof. Alfie Morgan, who took a turn as acting CAO in 2004, said it is unusual to have such high turnover at the top.

    The reason for the changes are tied with the political agenda of Windsor’s mayor and councillors, he said.

    “Every time they get someone willing to go with the agenda and it’s fine up to a point,” Morgan said.

    “Then time comes where that individual expresses a slight opinion that’s not well-received, conflict sets in and a mechanism for replacing the individual is set into motion.”

    There must be three distinct centres of power — administration, the mayor and city council — so a municipality gets the benefits of three perspectives instead of one, he said.

    “In Windsor, I don’t see the separation of power,” said Morgan, dating it back to former mayor Mike Hurst and continuing with Francis. “The people with power win and ones with less power lose.

    “If you are not with me, you are against me — they have to get out of that mindset. There can be tremendous psychological and financial cost to this. All this restructuring, there is a lot of money in that. There is also cost of mistakes unless it’s done with tremendous care.”

And just remember Alfie's outrage over small business. As I Blogged:

  • "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."

It's getting tedious already but do you want to see again how Edgar functions as Mayor. It is just like with gangs, guns and drugs:

  • problem identified
  • talk, talk, talk
  • nothing done
  • money wasted
  • years pass
  • identify same problem again before an election
  • talk, talk, talk.

There has been a nice "Blame Dennis Perlin" game played at City Hall for years because he wanted to make tough decisions. The Mayor disagreed with his approach and years later we are still studying the problem. Finally, Perlin has been given a voice here to give his side of the story in the Battagello piece:

  • "Perlin looks at his time in Windsor with some frustration because he was unable to complete his vision for change.

    His controversial restructuring of personnel, which involved the shuffling of nearly every city department, was merely a first step, with governance policy and service delivery changes in Windsor next on his to-do list. But “(Francis) didn’t agree with the model put forward when he became mayor,” Perlin said.

    “What we had formed had a whole lot of staff and teams excited about how we were to change delivering services,” Perlin said. “We never got to that part. Windsor would have been better off to continue with that process.”

Mini-Gord tells us:

  • "There were 17 names on one list of targets when the city reorganized its executive ranks in 2004."

So assuming salary and benefits per manager at say $125,000, Edgar has wasted, over 5 years of inaction, $10,625,000. Now THAT would have paid a lot of Post Retirement Benefits!

And now we have SDR which Dennis wanted to do years ago that will take forever.

Did you notice a very strange comment by mini-Gord at the end of his column? That's the usual place in Star stories where something big is placed. Was he trying to tell us something and to his colleague David Battagello that there is much more to write about at City Hall:

  • "But there is a currency more important than cash in the halls of government: jobs. The more government jobs there are, the more positions in the bureaucracy can be promised to political supporters."

OK, I'll bite. Who are the political supporters who have jobs at City Hall? Who gave the goodies out? What is mini-Gord driving at? Is there a huge scandal waiting to break out? Does mini-Gord have the nerve to tell us and perhaps jeopardize his job? Naw, let Battagello take the hit instead. Then criticize him.

Nice try though. Mini-Gord did his best to try to salvage the unsalvageable. However, he does need to check things a bit more carefully. He can't make it so easy to go after City Hall.

Perhaps he should get some help from "the Wife" about that given her program at St. Clair.