Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Saturday, January 23, 2010

BREAKINGBLOG NEWS: West End Home Owners Sue City

Press Release and Court application are below


The Boarded Up Houses Demolition Action Group (“BUHDAG”),which has been asking City Council for the past nine months to permit demolition of the 110 boarded up houses in the Indian Road and Edison Street areas, has launched a lawsuit against the City of Windsor. On Dec 7th 2009, BUHDAG appeared before Council for the third time only to be advised that Council once again would not hear BUHDAG 's submissions .At the Dec7th meeting Council adopted a resolution to defer the matter until a time period after mediation occurred on appeals currently before the Ontario Municipal Board regarding three by-laws re the Sandwich Heritage Conservation Study and four by-laws re the Community Improvement Plan ( but not the Demolition Control Bylaw ) which were passed by Council in Jan 2009.

BUHDAG noted that the Council resolution did seem to indicate some receptivity on the part of Council but raised a concern that firstly the mediation may not be successful and secondly there was no real commitment by Council to work cooperatively with BUHDAG.

BUHDAG concluded, following discussions with their lawyer, Mr Ray Colautti, that BUHDAG should file an Application in the Ontario Superior Court requesting an order be issued to quash the seven by-laws and the Demolition Control and Interim Control by-laws. BUHDAG has concluded that all of these by-laws were passed by Windsor City Council with the intention of preventing obstructing and/or hindering construction of the second span of the Ambassador Bridge by not allowing the demolition of the boarded up houses .Windsor City Council has thus effectively taken the residents in the Indian Road and Edison Street areas hostage by perpetuating the existence of the boarded up houses which constitute an eyesore and a public nuisance and has resulted in the depreciation of our property values.

The City of Windsor has also inappropriately attempted to exercise a legislative authority that it does not have, namely to force an owner (the Bridge in this case) to reoccupy buildings and restore them to residential use and also to provide a future use development plan. In taking these actions the City has acted in bad faith.


    1. The applicant makes application for:

    i) An Order, pursuant to s. 273 of the Municipal Act quashing By-Law 20-2007, passed originally on January 29, 2007, and passed again on February 25, 2008, and most recently passed again on January 29, 2009 imposing and extending demolition control in the Sandwich Old Town Area;

    ii) An Order, pursuant to s. 273 of the Municipal Act quashing By-Law 19-2007, passed originally on January 29, 2007, and passed again on January 25, 2008 (in the form of By-law 18-2008 until February 26, 2008 to provide an opportunity for public input at the February 26, 2008 Council meeting), and most recently passed on January 29, 2009, imposing and extending Interim Development control in the Olde Sandwich Towne Area;

    iii) An Order, pursuant to s. 273 of the Municipal Act quashing By-Law 22-2009 designating 261 properties in the Olde Sandwich Towne Area as a Heritage Conservation District;

    iv) An Order, pursuant to s. 273 of the Municipal Act quashing By-Law 23-2009 adopting Official Plan Amendment 68 to implement the Sandwich Heritage Conservation District Study;

    v) An Order, pursuant to s. 273 of the Municipal Act quashing By-Law 24-2009 which added a supplemental section to the City of Windsor Zoning By-law to establish regulations for the Commercial and Residential Overlay zones situated in the Sandwich Heritage Conservation District;

    vi) An Order, pursuant to s. 273 of the Municipal Act quashing By-Law 27-2009 which adopted the Community Improvement Plan for the Olde Sandwich Towne Community Improvement Project Area;

    vii) An Order, pursuant to s. 273 of the Municipal Act quashing By-Law 28-2009 which adopted the Olde Sandwich Towne Community Improvement Plan Supplemental Development And Urban Design Guidelines;

    viii) An Order, pursuant to s. 273 of the Municipal Act quashing By-Law 29-2009 which adopted Official Plan Amendment to implement the Olde Sandwich Towne Community Improvement Plan dated November 2008;

    ix) An Order, pursuant to s. 273 of the Municipal Act quashing By-Law 30-2009, being a zoning bylaw amendment establishing regulations regarding residential areas in certain areas of the Olde Sandwich Towne Community Improvement Plan Area.

    x) An order awarding costs to the applicants on a substantial indemnity basis;

    2. The grounds for the application are:

    i) In June, 2007, City Council was made aware of, through a presentation to City Council, that the owner of the Canadian half of the Ambassador Bridge (the Canadian Transit Company, hereinafter called “CTC”), planned an expansion or twinning (hereinafter referred to as "Second Span") of the existing bridge.

    ii) The Ambassador Bridge, owned and operated by the CTC, is an international border crossing linking the cities of Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan.

    iii) In January, 2007, Windsor City Council passed Interim Control By-law 19-2007 and Demolition Control By-law 20-2007. The stated nominal purpose of these by-laws were to freeze all development, redevelopment and demolitions concerning properties in the Olde Sandwich Towne Area pending completion of a Community Planning Study for that district, but its real object was to prevent the CTC from proceeding with its plans to construct a Second Span. The City of Windsor has taken the position that by prohibiting and/or hindering and/or obstructing the demolition of the houses owned by CTC along Indian Road and Edison Street in the City of Windsor, it will stop the advancement of the Second Span.

    iv) On February 26, 2008, Interim Control By-law 19-2007 and Demolition Control By-law 20-2007 were extended for another year.

    v) A Community Improvement Plan for Olde Sandwich Towne was adopted by City Council in November of 2008. An objective of the plan was to prevent the CTC from proceeding with its Second Span.

    vi) On or about January 26 and/or January 29, 2009, Windsor City Council adopted several other by-laws as follows:
    a) By-law 22-2009 which designated 261 properties in the Olde Sandwich Towne Area as a Heritage Conservation District;
    b) By-law 23-2009, which adopted Official Plan Amendment 68 to implement the Sandwich Heritage Conservation District Study;
    c) By-law 24-2009 which added a supplemental section to the City of Windsor Zoning By-law to establish regulations for the Commercial and Residential Overlay zones situate in the Sandwich Heritage Conservation District;
    d) By-law 27-2009 which adopted the Community Improvement Plan for the Olde Sandwich Towne Community Improvement Project Area;
    e) By-law 28-2009 which adopted the Olde Sandwich Towne Community Improvement Plan Supplemental Development And Urban Design Guidelines;
    f) By-law 29-2009 which adopted Official Plan Amendment to implement the Olde Sandwich Towne Community Improvement Plan dated November 2008;
    g) By-law 30-2009, being a zoning bylaw amendment establishing regulations regarding residential areas in certain areas of the Olde Sandwich Towne Community Improvement Plan Area.
    h) By-law 19-2007, the Interim Control By-law for the Olde Sandwich Towne area, was again extended;
    i) By-law 20-2007, the Demolition Control By-law for the Olde Sandwich Towne area was again extended.

    viii) The objective behind all of these by-laws was to stop or hinder the CTC in proceeding with its Second Span, as the adoption of interim control and demolition control by-laws would be used as a tool to stop any work being done by the Ambassador Bridge on property owned by it. There were no other development projects being undertaken in the area, and that thus, the said by-laws targeted the CTC.

    ix) The effect of several of these by-laws, particularly by-law 20-2007 was to subject all properties in the designated Sandwich area to demolition control.

    x) In June of 2007, the CTC made a request to demolish six houses on Indian Road. Since that time, other requests by the CTC to demolish other houses acquired by it along Indian Road, and on Edison Street were also made but denied. Multiple requests by CTC to Windsor City Council to demolish houses owned by CTC have been denied by City Council. However, requests to demolish other houses subject to demolition control in the City and even in the Sandwich area, have been frequently granted.

    xi) The CTC has appealed all of the bylaws referred to above designating the subject properties as either part of the CIP or Heritage District and imposing demolition control and redevelopment control on the subject properties. Those appeals are pending before the Ontario Municipal Board.

    xii) A standoff has therefore materialized between the CTC and the City Windsor. Numerous homes in the Indian Road and Edison Road area remain boarded up and vacant. These boarded-up homes are having a very deleterious effect on other properties, constitute an eyesore and a public nuisance. The Boarded-up houses negatively impact property values.

    xiii) City Council has taken the position that requests for demolition will not be favourably entertained unless or until the CTC provides a land-use plan acceptable to the City. For its part, the CTC has proposed grassing and grading of the area.

    xiv) Surrounding property owners who are severely impacted by the boarded up houses are caught in the middle of this dispute. The applicants, who are members of an unincorporated association of area residents known as BUHDAG (Boarded Up Houses Demolition Action Group), consisting of property owners in the Sandwich Towne area, have attempted to request City Council for resolution to this impasse. BUHDAG has tried to persuade City Council to resolve the impasse by allowing the CTC to demolish the houses in question and to re-landscape the vacant land. BUHDAG has been advised by one or more City Councilors that the City would entertain issuing demolition permits provided that the CTC irrevocably committed itself to a plan for the future use of the subject properties. The issue is whether or not this is a valid condition that could be imposed by City Council. City counsel has refused to hear or deal with BUHDAG’s concerns.

    xv) There are limits upon City Council’s discretion to refuse to issue a demolition permit. It must not act arbitrarily or capriciously. It must not, under the guise of demolition control, be exercising its discretion for an improper collateral purpose: to stop or hinder the bridge expansion. It must act fairly, and must not be seen to be prejudging the exercise of its discretion. It cannot impose prior restraints on the exercise of its discretion. It must exercise its discretion in respect of matters of valid municipal concerns, and must act fairly, openly, and impartially.

    xvi) The City also had the authority, by designating and adopting a Community Improvement Plan respecting the Olde Sandwich Towne Area to construct, repair, rehabilitate or improve buildings on lands it acquired or holds, it has no authority to require any property owner to restore a particular property to a residential use by repairing, rebuilding or reconstructing the residential unit.

    xvii) While the City has authority, under the Building Code Act, to direct that a residential unit be repaired pursuant to work orders issued under the relevant bylaw and Building Code Act, it has no authority to force an owner to reoccupy the building and restore it to a residential occupancy.

    xviii) Although the City, therefore, has the power to order alterations or repairs, or to order the demolition of a substandard property, and has the power to effect the demolition and charge the property owner if the orders are not complied with, or to prevent the occupancy of the unit, there is no legislative authority which allows the municipality to force any property owner to reoccupy the subject unit as a residential unit and to put it back into the housing market.

    xix) The purpose and effect of the aforesaid By-laws is to use demolition control as a means of interference directed at a specific property owner, in this case the CTC, with the aim of forcing the CTC to restore these properties to residential occupancy, or to block future Second Span. This is an improper purpose and this constitutes bad faith.

    xx) Other affected property owners, such as the applicants and the members of BUHDAG, whose lives and property are affected by the continuing existence of these boarded up houses, and the public nuisance that they are creating, do have a legitimate interest in the resolution of the demolition permit issue. Consequently, the applicants as affected residents have standing to bring legal proceedings against the City to challenge the aforesaid by-laws. The applicants and the members of BUHDAG are property owners or occupiers who have been affected by the illegal purpose behind the aforesaid by-laws.

    xxi) Municipal Act s. 273; Rule 14.05 (1), (2), (3)(d)(g)(h) of the Rules of Civil Procedure.

    xxii) Such further grounds as counsel may advise and this Honourable Court may permit.

    3. The following documentary evidence will be used at the hearing of the application:
    a) The affidavit of Hilary Payne, sworn, and Exhibits attached thereto;
    b) Transcripts of witnesses examined on this pending application, and Exhibits marked thereon;
    c) Such further and other material as counsel may advise and this Honourable Court may permit.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Samsung Deal: Bruce Nuclear #2

Is the deal with Samsung a good one or a bad one for taxpayers? We'll know many years from now when Ontario's Auditor General does an audit on it.

Of course it will be too late then since the money will have been committed and most of the politicians involved will be long gone except for Spanky who will be around forever so nothing will be achieved.

Samsung gets a sweetheart of a deal:
  • "Ontario guarantee Samsung access to sell wind and solar-generated power into the provincial power grid."
  • "The company will be paid a high, fixed price for the "green" energy -- a premium that will be passed on to consumers at some point."
  • Plus a huge EDA "bonus" payment.

However, if you want to place a bet now, here is what will happen based on what happened with the Bruce plant:

  • "Nuclear deal too costly: Auditor
    Apr 06, 2007, Rob Ferguson, Queen's Park Bureau

    Ontarians would have saved $1.5 billion on their hydro bills over the next 25 years had the government negotiated a smarter deal to refurbish the Bruce Power nuclear station, the provincial auditor general says.

    A review also found the government had "only partial success" in reaching its goal of protecting electricity ratepayers from cost overruns that have plagued past nuclear projects.

    Among other concerns, the $4.25-billion pact to modernize four reactors at the Lake Huron plant included a "mechanical error" that cost ratepayers an estimated $88 million, and $514 million for pricey enriched fuel.

    "It's not clear cut it's a good deal," Auditor General Jim McCarter said yesterday after completing a government-ordered review of the pact...

    The review found the actual price of electricity from Bruce is 7.1 cents per kilowatt-hour and is poised to rise depending on construction costs and other factors.

    "That is significantly higher than what we're paying," he added, noting the average market price for electricity from all sources in Ontario over the last five years is 4.9 cents per kilowatt-hour…"

And what would our Spanky say? Exactly what he did with Bruce Nuclear:

  • "Still, Energy Minister Dwight Duncan said he would sign the same deal all over again.

    "The trade-off is what you pay for power," said Duncan, who was energy minister when the deal was negotiated, before becoming finance minister in October 2005 for seven months and then returning to the energy job."

PLUS, he would throw in about the economic downturn and jobs and all of that. That absolves everyone of stupidity and wasting taxpayer money.

Why would I make this statement. Simple read this about the Samsung deal:

  • "The total cost of the EDA [economic development adder], assuming the manufacturing facilities are built according to the schedule set out in the agreement, will be approximately $437 million (net present value) over the lifetime of the contracts."

Huh, net present value, what the heck does that mean in real dollars that people understand? Have you ever read that term in any Government announcement. What EDA represents is the "donation" that the Government will pay to "buy" Samsung to come to Ontario.

It's a 25 year deal and if we take an interest rate of 5% compounded annually, then Samsung will get an extra $1.5B

  • "Smitherman said Samsung, as a developer, will get the same rate as every other developer taking part in the program. But if the company commits to manufacturing its equipment in Ontario, it will get what he called an "economic adder" on top of the 13.5 cents rate. He wouldn't say how much that benefit might be."

Now you know why net present value was used and why he would not say.

As for jobs, the Toronto Star reported last fall:

  • "Samsung officials visited Crown land this summer in South Cayuga, Haldimand County, about two hours southwest of Toronto. They met with Six Nations Chief William Montour to talk about a plan to build a 55-turbine wind farm, and using aboriginal workers to help manufacture and erect the turbines."

Now mini-Gord needs to rethink about the credibility of his provincial government insider or was it the corrupt Member of Council again:

  • "$7-billion Samsung energy deal to benefit Windsor-Essex County

    Windsor and Essex County will learn today they are major beneficiaries of a $7-billion investment that will see the birth of a new solar and wind energy industry in Ontario...

    Parts of the huge scheme were leaked to The Windsor Star on Wednesday. As many as 16,000 jobs will be generated by the five-phase project, including jobs at four new factories -- two of which may be in Windsor -- plus dozens of suppliers and spinoff jobs in the service sectors...

    The Windsor portion of the project includes a large-scale solar farm covering hundreds of acres of vacant property to start, with further phases likely. The solar panel mother glass plant would be located near the solar farm for marketing and sales purposes."

Yet the Star reports today:

  • "Samsung in talks with city
    Interest high in energy deal

    The WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation has confirmed it is in discussions with Samsung as part of Ontario's blockbuster $7-billion green energy deal.

    But WEDC executive vice- president Patrick Persichilli stressed that the region is still in the "relationship-building" process with the corporate giant."

Where the hell is our WEDC President superstar? Is he involved or not? Does Patrick have the skills to make this happen? Isn't that why we hired a new President? Why is he missing from the action?

Huh, what the heck does Patrick's quote mean. Mini-Gord told us we had the mother plant here.

Then the Premier threw cold water on everything:

  • "McGuinty added the location of four new plants -- which will employ an estimated 1,440 workers -- hadn't been decided yet.

    The siting of those plants will be up to the consortium, according to officials."

Then Edgar (aka Eddie) and the WEDC VP in effect destroyed mini-Gord's story and his credibilty unless this is all being stage-managed to help Edgar out so that when the E C Row upgrade is announced, we won't take it out on Edgar so much. Of course, it boosts Dwight and Sandra as our saviours for their re-election:

  • "The announcement today is a very positive announcement for the Province of Ontario," Francis said. "It's a game changer for the Province of Ontario, and obviously, by virtue of landing this investment in Ontario, and the nature of the investment, many cities like Windsor and Essex, many regions like Windsor and Essex, will be in a position to try to benefit from that type of announcement."

    There has been speculation that Windsor could be the site of a large-scale solar farm and a plant that makes the "mother glass" for solar panels...

    Persichilli said there is fierce competition across the province for Samsung's attention.

    "Obviously, all communities in Ontario are interested in this type of investment," he said. "We're not the only region, we're not the only economic development corporation that has been speaking to the company."

This flipflop is bizarre.

Finally, I loved this line from Edgar:

  • "When we meet with investors, we remind them that what many might refer to as our unemployment rate, we refer to as our employable rate because you have 13 per cent of people, highly skilled people, ready to be employed.

    "They are ready, they are available, and they are employable at a drop of a hat. To us, that's an advantage."

Yup just like plant closures and foreclosures keep our house prices down too. No wonder we gambled and did not do anything over the years on economic redevelopment when we can wait and pray for major deals like this to save us. Sheer genius.

Thank goodness we are not economically diversified and prosperous here with full employment or we would not be in the running.

In Honour Of Edgar's Robin Hood Visit

Seriously, it is Robin Hood Airport. That is the name of the airport where Edgar (aka Eddie) is going.

Just like our airport with Edgar but in reverse: take money from poor Windsor taxpayers to give to rich, foreign consultants.

To allow Edgar a feeling of comfort when he visits northern England's Doncaster Sheffield Airport, the Airport people pulled out all stops.

Of course it is a slap in the face to the new CEO of Windsor Airport, Ms Nazzani, since obviously Edgar has no confidence in her abilities since she was not even invited to go along. But who cares.

And Undevelopment Commission VP, Patrick Persichilli, has chosen the Mayor over his new boss, Ron Gaudet, since he will be going to the UK just days before the new WEDC CEO takes over on February 1. But who cares.

Edgar is on the Boards of the airport and the Commission so he can justify everything.

And I am sure you thought I was kidding when I Blogged about the competition between Edgar and the new superstar WEDC head:

  • "New WEDC Head Should Not Unpack Too Soon

    Welcome to Ron Gaudet, the new WEDC head honcho.

    If he can do for Windsor what he did for Moncton, then we will all be very pleased at his coming.

    I am not being mean or harsh by what I said in the Subject-line. The WEDC front door is the fastest moving revolving door in the City considering how many heads it has seen over the last few years.

    To be direct, I expect a clash very early on betwen our new so-called "Star" WEDC CEO, one of Canada's Top 40 under 40 and our, Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Mayor."

Just like with the Sutherland call centre where Sandra did the work but Edgar tried to hog the credit and Edgar's announcement about big projects to come prompting a leak to mini-Gord obviously by Gord's provincial government insider re Samsung, Edgar has to have all the glory and will not allow anyone else to share in it.

Here are Robin Hood's destination locations: Barbados Bulgaria Cyprus Czech Republic Dominican Republic Egypt Finland Greece Italy Jamaica Mexico Netherlands Poland Portugal Spain Tunisia Turkey United Kingdom

Interestingly, there was an airline, Globespan Airways a British low-cost airline, that flew to Canada out of there, to Hamilton our big airport competitor.

Unfortunately, it went broke!

Haiti And The DRIC Detroit/Windsor Bridge

It is important that you remember this quote from Margaret Thatcher's speechwriter so you will not be too angry with me.
  • "At last, my sluggish civilian’s brain began to understand.

    The decisions that really matter to political leaders are those to do with the getting and holding of power. Other decisions may turn out well or ill. They may cost billions of pounds or hundreds of lives, but for enlisted politicians those decisions are secondary. What matters to them is: will I still be here after this?"

Some of you will find this BLOG offensive and cynical. I am sorry if you will feel that way but I will explain my reasons.

  • "Obama invites Michaëlle Jean to Washington
    Feb 21 2009

    OTTAWA–Governor General Michaëlle Jean discussed the plight of her native Haiti with U.S. President Barack Obama, who invited her to come to Washington – an invitation that was not extended to Prime Minister Stephen Harper."

On her visit to Haiti a year ago she said:

  • "Barack Obama's historic arrival at the White House Tuesday is "a major step" for of all humanity, Canada's Haitian-born Governor General Michaelle Jean said Sunday on an official visit to the poor Carribean nation.

    Jean told reporters Sunday that she thought Haitians would be deeply affected by "this new chapter being written" in the United States.

    Jean, who moved to Canada at age 11, said the story of Obama's rise to the US presidency is a part of a "continual story of empowerment."

    The election of African American "is a major step not only for the USA, not only for the world's black population, but also for humanity," she added.

    "I think that without having met and talked to Mr. Obama, he knows very well Haiti's story," she said."

Given her obvious good rapport with the President, I would bet that she has spoken to him more than once concerning the earthquake in Haiti and that is probably one of the reasons for the big US aid package of $100 million along with more American troops being sent to help out. Naturally, you will never see this in the press. It's behind the scenes stuff.

Consider this co-incidence. As the US Ambassador wrote on his BLOG:

  • "We learned of the tragedy when we arrived at Rideau Hall for a long scheduled dinner last night with Governor General Michaelle Jean and her husband Jean-Daniel Lafond. The Governor General’s warmth and compassion for the victims in Haiti touched Julie and me."

Of course, from Canada's perspective, there are two reasons for the Jean conversations with Obama if they happened. One is humanitarian of course but the second and more important side is Realpolitik: Canada has struck out consistently trying to get the Americans to reduce their economic protectionism and, as part of this, to help give them control of the Ambassador Bridge.

Yes it is cynical but no more so than Canadian soldiers coming back in bodybags from the war overseas as a quid pro quo for staying on Obama's good side as I have Blogged before:

  • "[Former Liberal Cabinet Minister John Manley] "He said Mr. Harper could leverage dearly bought political capital on Afghanistan to push for border infrastructure investments to ease trade: " Then he may have a more willing partner."

    The trick is to use alliances on global concerns to open doors for bilateral ones, Mr. Manley said." [Risk soldiers' lives for DRIC in other words. How disgusting!]"

The "trick"....what a nice choice of words.

Taking over Moroun's bridge is a 50 year effort by Canada that started under Diefenbaker long before Moroun owned the bridge. Jean in my opinion is Harper's last hope especially after a string of failures: NAFTA-gate, Michael Wilson overstaying his welcome in Washington, Harper's 3 failed attempts with Presidents Bush and Obama, the idiotic end-run by Harper with Congressional leaders on his DC visit and now this.

Take a look at this video of the US Ambassador to Canada being interviewed by Robert Fife of CTV News when Fife asks his question re the Windsor/Detroit border. The DRIC bridge is hardly an issue of such great importance in the Ottawa Parliamentary Gallery circles that it should be asked. Watch how his face changes. Not the diplomatic poker face is it. It's a "gotcha" expression. Payback to come.

The US Ambassador is very familiar with the Ambassador Bridge. Watch and listen to his comment and read the transcript:

  • FIFE: Another issue that’s been a sore point is most of our goods go across the Windsor-Detroit border … are we ever going to get that bridge? Are you going to be the Ambassador that delivers that bridge that’s going to be built?

    JACOBSON: I hope so, I hope so. Again, this is a subject that we talk about all the time. Indeed yesterday I had a discussion about this with Ambassador Doer, who I was with yesterday afternoon. This is important. One of my favorite statistics about Canada and trade with Canada is that there is more trade that crosses the Ambassador Bridge than there is between the United States and Japan. It is an extraordinary channel. It is a bridge that dates back a long time, and there needs to be an additional facility there. And hopefully we’ll be able to get that under control. It’s expensive, it’s a difficult time to do it, but it’s something that I think is important to the future of trade between our countries.

Interesting quote. Now we have to read tea leaves to try and figure out what is going on. Here are my comments for what they are worth and why the Governor General is so important to Harper now.

Canada got shot down again on DRIC. For the nth time. The Ambassador could have mentioned DRIC but did not do so.

I suspect that Canada is after him all the time as he said, even as late as the day before his interview. If there had been a decision to build DRIC, then Canada would not need to talk to him as much. It would be a done deal

I suspect as well that this was a set-up question through Transport Canada or some other high person in the Government or PM's office just as I speculated about the Geoffery Simpson column in the Globe which came out of the blue---the one and only time he wrote about the border.

The Ambassador smiled when the question was asked, knowing he was being set up. I am not sure he appreciated it. Again, that will hurt Canada/US relations even more. Cheap shot tactics to catch someone off-guard does not work.

Reading the transcript, it seems like a nothing answer. I cannot believe that Obama has any interest in doing anything for Canada right now with medicare and 2 wars to fight. And Congressional elections coming up.

The only line of concern to the Bridge Company is "It is a bridge that dates back a long time, and there needs to be an additional facility there. And hopefully we’ll be able to get that under control. It’s expensive, it’s a difficult time to do it, but it’s something that I think is important to the future of trade between our countries."

Could that mean a DRIC Bridge...maybe? But it is said in the context of the age of the Ambassador Bridge and when he says "there needs to be an additional facility there." "There" obviously means beside the existing bridge given what the Department of State of behalf of the President has already stated.

"It's expensive" cannot mean that Governments will pay for it since no Government has set aside a budget for it since it is to be a P3. Only to Moroun can it be "expensive" since he is paying for it. His answer is diplomatically very vague.

Remember as well that the US Ambassador knows all about the Bridge. In his Senate hearing he said:

  • "As I sit here today, I cannot help but think back to a family vacation I took when I was seven years old. We were going to leave the country for the first time. My parents, my two sisters, and I packed up our blue Buick to drive from Chicago to Niagara Falls. Our route took us to Detroit and we drove over the Ambassador Bridge. Despite my mother’s protestations that he would get us all killed, my father stopped the car in the middle of the bridge at the border. I will never forget my parents reaching from the front seat in Canada back into the United States and my sisters and I reaching forward into Canada. If anyone had said to that seven year old in the middle of that back seat on the Ambassador Bridge that some day he would be appearing before this great Committee as the nominee of the President to be Ambassador to Canada, I can assure you that he would not have believed it."

Who is left for Canada to p**s off now that the US Ambassador has been misused. I wonder if the Canadian Ambassador let someone know that the US Ambassador was going to be interviewed on CTV. If so that relationship of trust has been destroyed. The legacy of Michael Wilson lives on.

Accordingly, the Governor General is Canada's last hope. I wonder how she will feel once she learns how she has been mistreated too by her Government.

After all, Realpolitik trumps humanity.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Final 2009 Clear-out Of Stories

Just some more year-enders for you


I wonder if it is making money for the College or costing it big time as it did before. How else to explain the Star Editorial in which the University is being pressured to come on downtown:

  • "the St. Clair Centre for the Arts has become home to more than 800 young, vibrant college kids. It's helped diversify downtown and injected life into a building that was woefully underutilized...

    Edwards' comments came just after Strasser and Alan Wildeman, president of the University of Windsor, signed a memorandum of understanding that included a discussion about moving the university's fine arts, music and theatre programs downtown.

    It was a landmark agreement, and since then the college has moved forward, just as it said it would. The university, however, seems to be a standstill.

    John Fairley, the college's alumni and development officer, thought St. Clair had many features that would appeal to U of W students, including the professional stage.

    "Why have dark nights at the Chrysler auditorium when the university can use it?" he asked.

    Why, indeed...

    Strasser said earlier this week. "Our commitment has been to do what we can to bring more students, faculty and programs to Windsor's downtown."

    St. Clair has met that commitment, and the city is better off because of it. Now it's time for the university's board of governors to work with the college to create a co-operative campus in the core."

Actually, there is another reason why the Star is so anxious. There is the need to have a win for someone's election campaign

  • "This is like my dream come true," Chris Edwards said back in June, when the college started talking about expanding programs into the inner city. "I know it's all preliminary, but, man, it's a game changer," the executive director of the Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association said of an ambitious plan to create a "cultural zone" in the core."

Whew, there is not only our new and exciting downtown but the anchor for a mind's eye vision canal too.


Think about it. CUPE's massive victory over Edgar (aka Eddie) and the hardliners, although never reported by the Star, may have had dramatic effect on the labour movement.

Remember when Ontario was talking about going after unions to help cut the deficit. Not now. It is privatization that will take place instead:

  • "Rumours of forced unpaid vacation for civil servants, along the lines of “Rae Days” in the early 1990s, turned out to be much ado about nothing. So there's a natural skepticism, reflected in some media reports, about this week's talk of selling Ontario's public assets...

    Rumours about Dalton Days didn't emerge from the government so much as from journalists trying to figure out how the province would deal with its $24.7-billion deficit. For whatever reason, Mr. McGuinty briefly indulged that speculation, on one occasion more or less raising the idea himself. But, even then, very few senior Liberals took the prospect seriously."

The "indulging" lasted until Edgar's near-riot stupidity which blew it all up.

However, Privatization is still viewed suspiciously by the unions, OPSEU in particular, as a means to force the unions into concessions:

  • "McGuinty can’t legislate his way out of this. If he wants to use public employees to buy Ontario out of the recession, his two main options are a) privatization; and b) mass layoffs.

    Privatization is a stupid idea. It cuts services, it destroys jobs, and it usually comes with major cost overruns. And from a budget standpoint, selling off assets like the LCBO – which right-wingers are already barking for – would kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.

    As for more layoffs, they can only weaken local economies, destroy the services people need, and generate headlines the Liberals really don’t want to see.

    So what’s their plan? My guess is, they think that just the threat of layoffs and privatization will force public employees to agree to the wage cuts or “Dalton Days” he wants.

    In other words, it’s a New Social Contract."

Too bad Edgar ruined it all. Just ask Toronto's Mayor, David Miller, about Edgar's inspired leadership.


Isn't it enough that they got a terrific deal on the arena? The private Spitfires owners want the City taxpayers to do more at our expense to help make them more money whether their team is in the Cup final or not:

  • "Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis offered the following comment on this new and unique initiative to support the Spitfires bid for the 2011 MasterCard Memorial Cup, “this is a very exciting opportunity and we look forward to supporting the bid as we attempt to secure this memorable and unique championship.”

    Windsor Spitfires Governor Peter Dobrich added the following, “through today’s announcement, the Windsor Spitfires and the City of Windsor are looking forward to receiving support for our Memorial Cup Bid from the best city in the Canadian Hockey League here in Windsor and Essex County. We strongly urge the Windsor and Essex County community to rally with us and participate in supporting the bid. We are certain that the great people in our community and the surrounding area will step up to the plate as they always have done in the past for every event or cause that comes to our region."

Is Edgar's new career to be a pitchman for private businesses? The Spitfires and then came Monopoly.

Someone needs to remind him though. In hockey, it is the "slapshot, " not the Slap Chop. I would not want him to make a mistake.


I wrote before about Edgar (aka Eddie) and his declaration of pecuniary interest involving Chuck Mady and the 400 Building

Unfortunately, he presided over 2 Council sessions too that discussed the Audit. Should he have done so?.

As I Blogged before:

  • "I appreciate that the retainer with respect to this matter is probably over. But does that relieve the Mayor of his possible conflict? After all, he has seen the Dunbar report hasn’t he. What if there is something in there that helped his old firm’s previous client? What if whatever it is could give rise to a lawsuit against the City of which he is Mayor? What are his legal obligations then?

    I have no idea what the answer is but it is not an easy matter."

Wouldn't that be interesting: Jeff Slopen being asked to give a legal opinion about Edgar. Here's why this is absolutely delicious irony:

  • Date when EllisDon limitiation started running: October 30th, 2002 [EllisDon was on record as complaining to the then-Mayor that it had been treated unfairly and that if it so chose, it could successfully prosecute an action against the City for breach of the “bidding contract”]

  • Date Dunbar audit presented to the CAO: January 17, 2007 [A draft copy of the 400 CHS audit report dated January 2007 is provided to the CAO]

  • Date when Edgar read the Draft audit: April 13, 2008 [The mayor also apparently reviews a copy of the draft audit report around this time. The mayor apparently decides to leave the decision with respect to release of the report with the Audit Committee, and the legal opinion is not discussed at the Council meeting

  • Date when EllisDon limitiation ended: October 30, 2008 [Unless there is something we do not know, any claim by EllisDon for a breach of the “bidding contract” expired six years after its recognition that it had a claim. At some point prior to October 30th, 2002 – when EllisDon wrote to the then-Mayor – it recognized it had a claim. We believe any claim which EllisDon might be able to make on this RFP is now, in all likelihood, statute barred as being beyond the limitation period.]

  • Comments in the Furniture audit:

    (iv) What Are the Implications of Making the Issues Respecting the Tender Public?
    The issue is one of risk management. The City will have to assess the likelihood that any of the bidders will take action against the City. If the assessment is that there is no serious chance of a bidder taking action (keeping in mind that only one bidder can recover substantial damages), then the report may be made public, from a purely legal perspective. If the City is concerned that one or more bidders will bring an action against the City, then the City may consider either redactions from the report or preserving the report as an in camera document.

    The City should consider not making the report on the Tender public at all. Owner errors in running bid processes – stemming from a lack of understanding of the “bidding contract” – are very common. The difficulties with the Tender do not involve any form of outside interference with the process. Canada obtained the furniture it wanted from the lowest pre-qualified bidder (although not necessarily the lowest compliant pre-qualified bidder)."

A strong argument can be made that the Audit release was delayed until after 2008 out of an abundance of caution to ensure that no contractor--EllisDon and Mady--could sue the City because of a limitation period argument and that all of the so-called "delays" were not the real reason.

However, there was no mention when Chuck Mady's limitation period would expire in the Report. Let's assume it expired some time in 2008 as well. The question remains now, considering that he read the draft Dunbar audit and, being a lawyer would understand about limitations periods, what should Edgar have done?

Did he still owe Mady a legal duty even as a former member of Mady's law firm? Was the duty merely not to be in a position to be opposed to Mady? Did he owe Mady a legal duty since he worked for Mady's law firm to tell him to sue the City of which he was Mayor before the limitation expired and if he did not, then what happens? If Edgar did tell him to do so and Mady did, then what considering his duty as Mayor? Now can Mady because of the Furniture comments start an action with his limitation period only starting now, ie the time when how he was dealt with unfairly became known.

I don't have the answers but oh the problems!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Integrity Commish Snub Pleases Edgar

Poor Ms. Critchley. Now she knows what the expression falling on the sword means. This has NOT been a good week for her.

Get rid of the Commish, he snubbed Council! Eliminating the Office is what this is really all about.

They should have listened to Councillor Halberstadt when he said it would open up a Pandora's box
  • "Our financial woes aside, I really do not believe we need an Integrity Commissioner. There are no crooks sitting around the Council table that I have ever detected, and I am inclined to agree with the recent Windsor Star editiorial that the commissioner will be primarily there to kick around political footballs as various Councillors, members of administration and the public try to use him to discredit people they don't like.

    It has been suggested that any new comissioner will be known as SAC (the Silence Alan Commissioner), given the fact that Coun. Ken Lewenza and Mr. Skorobohacz have expressed eagerness to target this blog, and my outspokenness on the 400 Building Audit, respectively, when the commissioner is appointed."

I think that Edgar learned that early on considering the Commish's Report on the complaint about him meeting with Kwame.

Geez, what's Edgar (aka Eddie) so upset about? He needs to stop fuming so much. It is not good for his health, that and fighting with Alan at Council over unanswered 400 Building questions.

The guy's contract expired after all. He ought not to work for nothing should he? It's a day's trip considering he lives a few hundred KM away. Heck, he is starting a new job in Hamilton too so he is busy.
  • "I'm in limbo -- I haven't heard one way or the other," Earl Basse told The Star"

Given Edgar's views on out of town CUPE arbitrators who live 4-500 Km away, I do not understand why Council did not retain a local person.

I am available now for instance. I understand City Hall machinations. All I do now mostly is write BLOGs so I need another part-time task to keep me occupied that will help me pay the bills in my semi-retirement. If I cannot be Mayor, how about checking me out to be the new Commish if there is a desire to have one.

I have undertaken major investigations in my career, especially one involving white collar crime where I managed a hundred professionals world-wide. If they had hired me given my significant and relevant legal and municipal background, well I would have made an appearance, even at no charge. It's only a 15 minute drive from my house to City Hall.

I must admit though, I would have played nice considering that the Commish made $40K or so last year working on just a few files. I would have attended one last meeting to be decent about it.

I wonder if that fee includes the Jones file. If he was not entitled legally to start that up on his own, will he have to give some money back? Now that would be interesting to watch. I wonder if he will tell us that he was authorized by someone to move forward so he will NOT give any back!

If you wondered why there was such a misunderstanding and confusion with the Furniture audit and what the City sent to Eagle, consider this:

  • "Neither Francis nor Critchley, however, could say Monday whether Basse remains Windsor’s integrity commissioner."

Wow, that is unbelievable! If they don't know, who does? Frankly, if he is NOT the Commish, why would he ever come?

Watch the Star video and see how Ms. Critchley has difficulty remembering exactly how he was invited to come to Windsor for the meeting. Perhaps an email or call saying would you come on such and such a day is a concept too hard for City Hall to grasp.

  • "I didn't realize I was expected to be there ... had I known, I would have been there," he said. "There was a miscommunication there."

But then again, it appears that the Lead Auditor did not get a copy of the letter that Mr. Fields had which Ms. Critchley was able to find in a few minute search during Council on Monday. It must have slipped her mind to provide it. Shades of the 11 box 400 Building fiasco.

And you thought there was no amnesia disease pandemic at City Hall due to inhaling unscrubbed Tunnel exhuast fumes.

However, I do not think that Edgar is all that unhappy. Doesn't this so-called snub play into his hands?

Jones has been smeared already so who cares what the Report says or whether it will ever see the light of day if it was not legally proper. Everyone assumes that Jones was the leak so City Hall is protected. And, more importantly, I know of at least two complainst filed with the Commish against Edgar.

If there is no Commish, then there is no one to do reports on Edgar, which hardly seems fair. If Drew Dilkens is right, as he said on Eh-Channel, that there is no need to appoint a new Commish then Edgar is home-free. At the least, there is a need for an Integrity Commissioner to complete all of the files that were outstanding as at December 31. Want to bet that never happens!

That sound was not a fume, dear reader, but a burst of laughter!

Fairness Commissioner Visits Windsor

Media Release

The International Health Professionals Steering Committee is happy to welcome the Hon. Jean Augustine, Fairness Commissioner for the Province of Ontario, to Windsor on Jan 20th. 2010, to meet with us at the Holiday Inn at 1855 Huron Church Road at

Media representatives will be welcome at

As one of the most underserviced areas in the Province of Ontario, Windsor and Essex County have a desperate need for doctors and other professionals to help ensure the health and well-being of members of our Community.

Windsor is fortunate that many internationally trained health professionals have chosen to live here. Their ability to be able to practice their skills would help alleviate the concerns of area residents in their accessibility to quality care.

We applaud the creation of the Fairness Commission Office and the work of the Commissioner to ensure that the availability of resources, in order resume the practice of their professions, should be transparent, objective, impartial and fair for anyone residing in Ontario.

During her visit, we will be seeking the support and backing of the Commissioner in funding an " Access Centre " for the International Health Professionals, where they can get together with us and others interested in helping them, and receive appropriate resources and training in the needs of our Community, so that they can meet their goals and our needs.

David Wonham, Chairman IHPSC.

CUPE Arbitration: More On Were We Misled

Do you really want to read what makes a complete mockery out of what Edgar (aka Eddie) and certain columnists from the "Messenger" said about the arbitration process? It comes right out of the mouth of Edgar's representative too. If so, you will have to read right to the bottom of this BLOG.

Oh I hope CUPE truly carries on aggressively in their bad faith claim against the City and tries to recover back wages. They better not sell-out their members after what they went through.

More than that, Windsorites need to know the facts since the Star won't cover a Councillor Ward meeting where a different perspective is discussed that suggested that Edgar and the hardliners did not achieve the result they wanted and in fact cost taxpayers millions of dollars for no reason whatsoever.

As I wrote in my BLOG "Mayor Francis Must Go (Part II)":

    What a crock we were fed by the Mayor. Was it deliberate or did he not know? After all, he should; he is a lawyer as he likes to remind us...

    Let's be honest. Windsorites were fooled. There was no real reason NOT to arbitrate! It was all scare tactics for public consumption in order to justify the stall and delay in not getting a speedy resolution.

    Arbitration could have worked much earlier on and ended the strike. However, some clearly did not want it ended and we were shovelled this BS."

We learned, although not told by the Mayor, that in an arbitration

  • "The parties determine the terms of reference for the arbitrator and within that process the parties can still negotiate a settlement before a decision is reached. eg the City of Toronto Labour Disputes Resolution Act 2002."

We also learned, although not told by the Mayor, that in a local arbitrated ruling that was delivered between Windsor Regional Hospital and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, local 636, the Arbitrator said taking into account our serious economic condition:

  • "Additionally, the board has considered the general economic conditions in Canada and Ontario, and the specific economic situation of Windsor. With respect to the latter point in particular we are of the view that the local economic difficulties, and the influence they will have on the funds available to the employer, aside from Provincial funding, must seriously be considered."

I raise the issue again about were we misled in order to meet some hidden political agenda or was the Mayor so uninformed about labour arbitrations that the CUPE strike lasted so long when it did not have to do so.

I do so in the context of the Firefighters Arbitration with the City because we see some fascinating comments that confirm to me that Windsorites were played not only by the Mayor but by the media as well.

Looks like there is no resolution yet with the issues between the Firefighters and the City. An interim award has been issued granting wage increases comparable to those of police calculated by the City as 12.64% non-compounded retroactive back 4 years. (From $71,447 to $78,437 for a First-Class firefighter)

Lucky for us that firefighters cannot strike. Here is what Administration wants the the City to do to try and negotiate a deal:

What this says is to try and take away again PRBs as the City has already tried to do with Firefighters. I doubt they will be too interested in that.

However, that is not interesting part of the Award and Admin Report to Council. This is:

Why is it interesting---because of the discussion about taking Windsor's economic conditions into consideration. Don't you recall. That was not going to happen we were told and that was one of the reasons why the City opposed arbitration in the CUPE strike.

Remember during the CUPE strike Edgar said this:

  • "Council has been very clear -- we're not prepared to give away the farm," he said, adding he's been telling citizens that there have been a number of arbitrated decisions in Windsor's history, and "all have resulted in increased costs to taxpayers."

  • "But at the same time, I don't want a group of irate taxpayers knocking on our door saying, 'Why'd you give away the farm?'

    We have a financial responsibility to the corporation..."

    "It is my opinion not to leave this in the hands of a third party that's 400 or 500 kilometres away… "It is the responsibility of the parties to reach an agreement. The city of Windsor is prepared to sit down and reach an agreement."

    "The history of arbitrators is one of giving away the farm -- they're known to give away the farm."

Mini-Gord jumped in telling us:

  • "True, arbitration could easily end the strike.

    But it wouldn't settle or solve the main issue facing Windsor, which is balancing the budget without raising taxes in a climate of collapsing tax revenues."

And quoting anonymous sources, he tells us:

  • "And the employer's -- or in Windsor's case, the taxpayer's -- ability to afford the outcome of a binding arbitration is never considered, although it may be referred to in passing.

    "They just give it lip service," one of the officials said of mitigating local economic circumstances. "They'll write, 'We realize the (hospital/municipality) can't afford to pay. But we're awarding X, X, and X per cent.' "

Gord said this too but the Firefighters Arbitration interim award clearly proved him wrong:

  • "The big pitch from CUPE this week is that they want the dispute sent to binding arbitration for an "impartial third-party decision." That's a laugher. In this province binding arbitration typically means some tweedy, left-leaning university prof who has never worked in the real world winds up giving the union, impartially, exactly what it wants, regardless of the municipality's financial status. No wonder firefighters have learned to love that process. If the city were to go down that road, it might as well throw in the towel now."

Edgar, mini-Gord, Gord...all wrong on whether economic conditions can be considered. I find it all very strange that none of them seemed to have done the basic research to know that was not correct.

Doesn't someone owe CUPE an apology? And Windsorites as well!

Read this please from the City's representative in the arbitration. If it was not going to be considered as claimed, why did he write it:

Gee, look at that...economic conditions are allowed to be argued.

Oh if the Star had only reported on the Lewenza Ward meeting. Perhaps Edgar would have taken the same action as Toronto's David Miller. If only.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What 400 Building Audit

Is it just me or have you, dear reader, noticed that there is a strange stench in the air around City Hall.

It does not seem like the smell of garbage not picked up since the CUPE strike or the odours that may or may not come from the Zalev site depending with whom you are speaking or the pollution spewing out from the unscrubbed exhaust from the Tunnel ventilation building.

It is more like the Hamlet-type rotten smell.

Or maybe I am wrong. There may be a simple explanation available that no one has heard yet that will clear the air quickly.

I am more confused than ever before right now with respect to the 400 Building and Furniture audits.

I thought I understood everything and the Audit Reports that came out explained everything fully. After all, we taxpayers spent about $700,000 with experts from KPMG and from the law firm of Miller Thomson who assisted our Internal Auditor, or is it our Auditor General Office now, to come up with these volumes of shocking reports.

Little did I know, until after reading the letter from Vindella’s lawyer, that they were compliant. Here is a copy of it

Little did I know that the Auditors never saw the letter to Eagle suggesting that they won the bid for some of the Furniture.

  • “City staff have agreed to meet with one of the losing bidders of a $1.6-million contract connected to the controversial 400 City Hall Square building.

    Angela Berry, the city's lead internal auditor, said Paul Fields, president of Eagle Office Furniture, had offered new information during a presentation he made to council Monday night and deserved to be heard.

    "I'm in shock with the information that was not included in this report,"

Amazingly though, Ms Critchley, now the City Clerk and formerly in Purchasing, was able to run out of the Council Chambers and return with the letter in 5 minutes. Strange that it was never forwarded on to the Lead Auditor. Almost sounds like a repeat of the 11 boxes fiasco doesn’t it. No problem though, no one at Council seemed concerned.

Of course, there was scrambling around telling us how the “lowest compliant” bidder on the furniture as stated in the letter, according to Mr. Fields, really wasn’t necessarily the one who was going to get the contract. Some silly excuse about writing on a City letter to Eagle “without prejudice” that was in my opinion “with prejudice” because the City was trying to get a firm price from Eagle. Then there was something else about a 120 day period expiring which is an easy way to destroy a fair bidding system. A judge would have fun with that one

But let us come back to the big dollar item, the building itself.

Now Vindella’s lawyer, Mr. Martini, is a well-respected litigator in town. He was at Council to answer questions but surprisingly none were posed to him. I am sure that he would not send off a letter claiming compliance by Vindella unless he had done his due diligence.

Accordingly, the only thing that I can conclude, if he is correct, is that someone at City Hall has it in for the Company and wants to destroy its reputation as a result of the comments made in the Audit Report. It was payback time for something. The underlined portion of his letter suggests that Mr. Martini came to the same conclusion as I.

Clearly, if what Mr. Martini says is right, the Lead Auditor, the KPMG forensic accounting people and the outside Toronto lawyers were completely misled and that is why the Report came out the way it did.

How that could possibly happen needs to be investigated thoroughly by the police, a judicial inquiry or by the Auditor General Office itself since it has the power to have people testify under oath. I would think that Mr. Martini has no choice on behalf of his client but to demand it. This is serious business.

If the Star through mini-Gord can tell us that we have a corrupt Councillor, then in effect, Mr. Martini’s letter is telling us that there is an element of corruption in City Hall that needs investigating immediately in order to be cleaned out now.

In passing, I got tired of Mr. Roman telling us how much it would cost to do an inquiry. How much will it cost us NOT to do one is the real question. And as for his comments about the “oath” not meaning all that much…well it means something to me. I personally would not lie while under oath to take the fall for someone and risk going to jail for perjury.

Let us assume for the sake of argument that Vindella was not compliant. That is not a smear on that company. It just means that they did not meet the terms and conditions of the RFP. That happens all the time in bids.

Then, the question that is unanswered and must be, unlike watching the childish game being played between the Mayor and Councillor Halberstadt over questions at Council, was the one asked by Councillor Lewenza:

  • How did non-compliant parties—furniture and building-- win the deals when they should have been disqualified instead?

That issue suggests perhaps, as one alternative, corruption of a different kind doesn’t it that has nothing to do with the contractor. It all has all to do with City Hall. And for that we need a thorough third party investigation! After all as Councillor Halberstadt, a member of the Audit Committee, said:

  • “Rather than defending his conduct, ex Councillor Carlesimo should be thankful that the audit committee did not recommend to Council a full-blown Public Inquiry. Then he and the other members of the selection committee would have been put under oath... ”

The saving taxpayers money excuse that was put forward as a possible reason seems to me a phony one and does not hold water at all. Mady should have won if that was the case!

  • “The three city councillors who made up a subcommittee that broke city rules during selection of a contractor for the 400 CIty Hall Square building should be regarded as "heroes" and not have been made scapegoats in an audit of the $32.5-million project, one of the subcommittee members said Tuesday.

    "Our only interest was taxpayers," said Peter Carlesimo, a former city councillor who sat on the subcommittee that came under fire in the audit…

    "What happened when we did the matrix it raised some questions on the low scores for Vindella," he said. "But what jumped out was they were the lowest by $2.3 million. Because of the spread we needed to be convinced on whether the lowest bidder could do the job." It was for that reason that Vindella was contacted after the deadline, he said.

    "We acted in good faith and acted in trying to bring the project in at the lowest price to council," Valentinis said. "I know what we did. We will be taking a lot of heat, but I also know a microscope was on this. Our mandate was there to keep price as the focus and we did that. We are talking $2.3 million here."

Heroes? Read Page 108 of the Audit Report.

If the Mady bid was $28 per square foot lower than that of Vindella, then the City overspent by millions of dollars. Now THAT is worthy of an investigation don’t you think!

The guy now who should be furious is Chuck Mady! It seems that someone went out of their way to make sure he did not win. Why? Who had it in for him? He got smart though…he left town soon thereafter.

Interestingly, the Audit Report devoted little attention to his bid. I never understood why.

This whole episode stinks. I have raised other concerns in other BLOGs about how this matter has been treated and the roles that some members of Council played that to me are not understandable.

As I said, perhaps there is a simple explanation that tells us all. I would love to hear it. It cannot be done now since Council has washed its hands of this matter.

Oh well, Councillor Gignac is happy that the recommendations passed make everything OK. Rest assured now fellow Windsorites. All is well.

At least until the Arena audit! If we ever have one.

Lewenza vs Brister: The Great Debate That Will Never Happen

We need some reality soon about City labour negotiations and what the City failed to achieve. Too bad that we do not have a media similar to Toronto's that forced their Mayor not to run again after his CUPE strike failure.

We need the the facts. Instead, we get mini-Gord
  • “Good luck to PETU trying to land a better deal than most taxpayers get. It didn't pan out for the last group that tried.”

I wish that Junior would actually schedule a debate between him and the Councillor formerly known as Councillor Budget. I would expect that one of the items in the debate which would involve the champions of the softliners and hardliners on Council would be labour relations including issues such as the CUPE strike, PETU and outsourcing.

Actually, Brister would be a stand-in for the Mayor who would not have the nerve to face Lewenza and to take responsibility for failing to achieve his objectives with CUPE.

Edgar can claim with PETU:

  • “Francis said the city has spent about $300,000 fighting the certification effort. He said it was a matter of "spending dollars in the short-term to protect the long-term interests of the residents of the City of Windsor ... sometimes you have to do that, absolutely."

He could NOT justify that. With both CUPE and PETU, we spent short-term dollars and failed to protect the long-term. Lewenza would rip him to shreds and Edgar knows it!

Frankly, Councillor Lewenza owes it to us to have the debate because the Star refused to cover his Ward meeting where he explained how our Mayor and the hardliners failed to achieve their goals during the 101 day strike and cost us more money instead.

I would doubt that the Star would have the balls not to cover the debate so Junior’s findings would finally become public.

The debate would be one-sided though because Brister would NOT show up. He has to be in my opinion the most politically cowardly of all of the Members of Council, refusing the many invitations from John Fairley to appear on Face-To-Face. He is terrified since he knows that John would crucify him with one lifitng of his eye-brow.

Which Councillor runs to Star columnists more quickly than Brister to get his story out? He dare not tell the public directly in a debate what he thinks for fear of being ridiculed and embarrassed.

At the least, we can assume that Brister is NOT mini-Gord’s “corrupt Member of Council” since mini-Gord need not offer him anything and Brister will still come to him.

Poor Dave, he just cannot see past his own ego to understand that he is being set up to run for Mayor so Edgar (aka) Eddie can sneak in. Oh well. His loss will be our gain

Take Mini-Gord’s Saturday column. Please.

It is just a barrel of laughs with Brister the supposed star. It was designed to counter the public backlash after the results of the PETU deal became public.

It actually demonstrates that “combative” Edgar Francis did not show “inspired leadership!” Thanks to mini-Gord we now know whom to blame and what Edgar’s re-election campaign will be spun around:

  • “The architect of the deal, insiders tell me, was Mayor Eddie Francis. So it's thanks to him municipal taxpayers across Canada win another big one.”

Hmmm, I wonder if the corrupt Councillor was the insider telling tales.

And Dave stupidly is going along for the ride thinking that being a penny-pincher is winning him votes.

  • “Coun. Dave Brister says he will vote against the settlement Monday, but he predicts he will be the only one to do so."

If the Star ever folds, mini-Gord need not worry about getting a new job. He has a terrific second career of making an Edgar silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Gord better watch out. He has competition.

How can mini-Gord possibly say:

  • “The disbanding of the managers' union at city hall this week could prove to be a turning point cited decades from now as the point Windsor finally changed…

    In Windsor, that amounts to nothing less than a momentous development -- a revolution. A tiger changing its stripes. History…

    News of this deal travelled across Canada in a flash, reaching ears that were either shocked to learn the bad news -- or pleasantly surprised to hear that in Windsor, some people are adapting to reality.”

No it’s not. It is the professional equivalent of the “near-riot” that caused Edgar to fold and David Miller in Toronto as well.

It is middle managers forcing the Mayor to blink and knuckle under. Do you really think in the end that the City could allow their managers to unionize in the face of more potential labour unrest. The City would be paralyzed. Edgar was forced to give up. The day before the settlement he claimed:

  • "The new [PETU] proposal is something "that council has not agreed to and will not agree to," Mayor Eddie Francis told reporters. While there was "always a chance" that talks could resume, Francis said the last offer the city made to the managers -- overwhelmingly rejected in a vote last month -- was "the best proposal that we had."

Does mini-Gord actually ever read his own newspaper’s stories?

These are words being put in CUPE’s mouth by mini-Gord:

  • “The decertification is also a terrible setback for CUPE, which had hoped to create a unified front for the next set of contract negotiations, pitting both hourly and most managers against taxpayers and city council in 2013.”

Professionals don’t want to join unions unless they have too. Sounds arrogant and it probably is. Mini-Gord forgot why this started:

  • “Fearing they are sitting ducks for cost-cutting targets at city hall, non-union municipal workers have hired a labour lawyer to consider organizing a bargaining unit over the city's attempts to reduce retirement benefits…

    But John Miceli, president of the Civic Association of Non Union Employees (CANUE), the group representing 270 mid-level managers and supervisors at city hall, said the proposed takeaway is a slippery slope that could lead to an avalanche of concessions.

    "We look at it as punitive because they can do what they want to do with us," Miceli said Friday. "We are vulnerable."

They were the ones who were to take the hit to lose PRBs first to be used as a precedent by Edgar.

Years of animosity have been created and hundreds of thousands of dollars have been wasted in fighting unionization because of the Mayor.

  • “It's been an expensive fight, with the city estimating its tab so far, just in outside lawyers, at more than $300,000 to keep another union from getting established at city hall.”

When this all started, PETU’s Miceli was right after all

  • "What happened at the OLRB is that (management) vigorously opposed us," said Miceli. "They will continue to and will use tax dollars to do so . . . At a time when departmental budgets are being cut, programs are in jeopardy and the real possibility of an increase in taxes is on the horizon . . . the strategy of the city to outspend our organization is unconscionable."

Too bad taxpayers lost again. Here are some key provisions as reported:

  • Similar wage increases to that won by CUPE at a taxpayer cost of $365,000 for last year and about $557,000 annually for 2010, increasing forever. Compounded over the work lifetime of a manager, the amounts are in the multi-millions.

  • "PETU argues about 400 of Windsor's almost 420 non-union city employees -- including engineers, planners, administrators and lawyers -- should be included in the new union." "The city has argued that as few as 20 employees would actually be eligible for membership." The deal allows "CANUE to increase its membership to 350 -- up from the previous cap of 240"

  • "Under the new agreement, if employees work overtime they will be permitted to choose whether they take time off or receive payment for their overtime hours" where before they got a flat-rate "extra week off per year in return for working the extra hours."

  • a formal mechanism for resolving disputes, which involves non-binding mediation.

Naw, mini-Gord is just spreading the wrong news.

  • “But what the heck did they expect from a council which faced down CUPE and won?”

He knows the hardliners lost on CUPE and now you know they lost with PETU too!

He has to say what he does because he said:

  • “The trouble now is, PETU will be negotiating in an election year. Any councillor condemning taxpayers to paying for public sector wage increases in perpetuity could see their seats at risk.”

He does not want to be responsible for all of the hardliners being turfed from office when the truth comes out if we have the Great debate.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Does MDOT Need New Leadership Now

If Michigan gets the Federal matching grants because of the Bridge Company spending, I want a 10% finder's fee since I have been pleading with Michigan to grab them for a long time.

As an example, my BLOG June 12, 2008:

    That is what the Enhancement Project is worth to Michigan for use in their road system plus not spending money on a new bridge that is not needed."

It is justified because MDOT did not seem to know or care if the funds were available. So send US$160M my way Guv if you please.

How the Governor can sit there and say and do nothing is beyond me? Perhaps that is what happens when one is a lame-duck Governor. Why she has not asked her senior MDOT managers to look for new jobs as well is beyond me.

I got it. If you do nothing when Canada is delaying the Enhancement Bridge project which is vital to your State and would create thousands of jobs, then why take up the Bridge Company offer that fills up State coffers by $1.6B.

If you do not think that MDOT's actions against the Bridge Company are not personal, just like dumping tons of dirt and placing equipment to block access to the Bridge, then read on.

If I was to ask you to spend one dollar and then I would give you four dollars in return, wouldn't you take that deal in a heartbeat? If I told you that you did not have to spend your dollar but could take advantage of someone else's spending, would you not think that this was one sweet deal that should be grabbed at once, especially if you have little money.

Remember this:

  • "Hundreds of Mich. road projects slashed

    Work to fall 60% in five-year plan; bridge jobs set to drop 65%

    Lansing -- Construction projects on Interstates 96, 94, 75 and other Metro Detroit commuter routes are among hundreds to be cut or delayed by the state as the sour economy empties the fund for repairs.

    A five-year road and bridge program announced by the Michigan Department of Transportation last week would delay more than 100 road projects and 575 bridge projects statewide. That translates into a 60 percent decrease in road work and more than a 65 percent decrease in bridge projects. Also, more than 375 miles of road improvements would be postponed."

Consider this Detroit Free Press story and then explain to me what other answer you have other than animosity or perhaps stupidity:

  • "Ambassador Bridge owner offers state deal on aid

    Already locked in litigation, Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel (Matty) Moroun, and the Michigan Department of Transportation have found yet another issue to disagree on.

    That issue is the local match that MDOT must come up with to qualify for federal highway funds. Short of cash, MDOT estimates it will have to forgo $475 million in federal aid for roads and bridges in 2011 because it lacks about $84 million in local matching funds.

    Moroun said he can help. Federal law allows MDOT to count private investment in certain projects as the 20% local match for U.S. aid. Moroun said he has invested roughly $400 million in work on his bridge since the 1990s that could qualify. If accepted by U.S. highway authorities, that could bring in about $1.6 billion in federal aid in coming years.

    The private investment is known as "toll credits" because the work was done on a tolled bridge. MDOT in the past has used toll credits generated by three publicly owned bridges -- the Blue Water Bridge, the Mackinac Bridge and the International Bridge at Sault Ste. Marie -- to match federal aid to pay for local bus systems and the like.

    Toll credits are used widely by other states as well.

    But MDOT balks at using Moroun's toll credits. For one thing, MDOT spokesman Bill Shreck said, Moroun has never presented a full accounting of his investment at the bridge -- something he would have to do for his toll credits to qualify as a match for federal aid.

    "When they've offered in the past, they've never, ever submitted the forms," he said.

    Another problem is that toll credits are "like Monopoly money," Shreck said. They provide a match on paper but don't provide actual cash. So if they triggered the 80% federal funding, MDOT would still be 20% short of full funding for any given project...

    Moroun's position: He'll allow his toll credits to be used as a local match for federal aid only if MDOT promises not to use that money to support competing bridge projects.

    "We've said we'll give those to you when you demonstrate that you're not going to use this money against us," said Mickey Blashfield, head of government relations for Moroun...

    Carmine Palombo, director of transportation for the Southeast Michigan Council on Governments, said Moroun and MDOT need to call a truce.

    "I have been trying to suggest that they need to sit down and talk because it's just going to escalate," Palombo said. "The state can't afford this, financially or any other which way you look at it."

I sat there reading the story and not believing it. Why doesn't MDOT call Moroun's bluff? Ask for the supporting materials. He would have to produce them or suffer the consequences.

It should be easy for MDOT to agree on how the money should be spent since there are many non-DRIC projects that need fixing now.

I just hate this accurate but narrow way that MDOT tried to deal with this issue:

  • "If it's an offer, nobody at MDOT has heard about it, according to Bill Shreck, the department's director of communications.

    "I haven't seen anything on paper and neither has anyone else at MDOT," Shreck said."

The Bridge Company has only been offering it for years; it was a subject at the Cropsey hearings. Why bother to offer it if MDOT was always unwilling to acknowledge that the money could be used. In fact, MDOT seemed to be fighting NOT to get the money rather than fighting to get it. Bizarre.

In fact, here is an article from Crains Detroit a year ago. That damned amnesia disease is impacting MDOT spokespeople too now:

  • "Moroun offers up credits for transportation projects; no takers

    It's possible the Michigan Department of Transportation could benefit from Manuel Moroun's $1 billion construction budget for the planned twin span to the Ambassador Bridge — even while it continues to plan a competitor bridge.

    Moroun's construction expenditures over the years, plus toll revenue, could be used to generate up to $2 billion in credits to cover the state or local match on other federally funded transportation projects...

    A federal law permits states to use money raised (or spent on infrastructure) by public or private toll authorities — including Moroun's Detroit International Bridge Co. — to act as a credit toward the required matching funds for federal transportation project funding... .”

    MDOT has sent two letters to Moroun asking to explore the toll credit funding, but the bridge company wants guarantees the money wouldn't help competing projects."

So what is the hold-up? MDOT itself.

Hasn't MDOT denied for years that Bridge Company money could be used for matching grants? Now they would have to reverse themselves. As I Blogged before:

  • "That could explain as well why the MDOT Director muddied up the waters again as far as I was concerned about the federal matching grants after Stamper merely read out what was said in plain English on the FHWA website to try to clarify things. It seemed pretty clear to me. However, Legislators have to be kept confused about whether or not the Enhancement Project bridge would bring in a couple of billion dollars to be used for the the Michigan Road system. Confirming that it would bring in all that money would make things very easy for an Enhancement Project bridge to be built wouldn't it."

Of course, by doing so they would have proven that they were liars or incompetent. Or both. It is even worse for them now because they have admitted that money spent on public bridges can be used for matching grants.

It would appear that money received from the Feds is "good money" if it comes from public bridge expenditures but "Monopoly money" if it comes from expenditures from a private crossing.

I would have thought it was a simple matter to agree on projects as well and if so, why won't MDOT provide the guarantee requested that the money will not be used to harm Moroun's business.

MDOT does have a budget for road and bridge works. Please don't tell me that money cannot be found for which matching grants can be applied for.

Is this complete insanity or what? Excuses, excuses, excuses. And phony ones as well.

Why does the Governor allow her Department to help destroy roads and bridges due to non-repair in her State because of their foolishness.

Carmine Palombo had the right answer: call a truce.

But of course, that will NOT happen with the lame-duck Governor. She owes Canada one when she ended the downriver bridge idea on her own to help get her re-elected. MDOT will not act because then they would lose face with their Transport Canada friends and the illegal blocking of Moroun would fall apart.

I think the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association needs to wake up and do some serious lobbying in Lansing. It should be easy for a Republican candidate for Governor to pick up their cause. There is only a gift of $1.6B at stake. And lots of jobs too.

Edgar And The 400 Furniture Audit

More on the 400 Building audit. This time the Furniture. A comparable fiasco with potential lawsuits.

How will Councillor Halberstadt justify this time not calling for a public inquiry?

What a complete farce this City has become.

The Audit Report on the Furniture for the 400 Building demonstrates that our Mayor/Businessperson/Lawyer is not immune from screw-ups under his watch for which he must take the ultimate reponsibility and blame. He cannot blame this on former Mayor Hurst as much as he would like to I am sure. The finger of blame points right at Edgar (aka Eddie)Francis since he was in charge during this time.

How can this lack of information be credible after so little time has passed OR is it like the missing 11 boxes of files on the 400 Building audit that will mysteriously show up one day. Administration is out of control. Record-keeping is a disgrace and needs improvement now:
  • "The 400 CHS Tender has been significantly hampered by the unavailability of most of the key documents, for example, the essential documentation of the furniture tender evaluation and perhaps even the Tender package as issued. Accordingly, the findings, opinions and recommendations expressed in this report and the attached legal memorandum are based upon, and limited by, the facts and documents which were available for review.

    Administration tried, but was unable to rectify this scope limitation. Due to the passage of time, Administration was unable to locate the documents required to overcome the limitation."

Even with this caveat, the handling of this tender would have caused Edgar to resign if he had been a Cabinet Minister at the Senior Level. He would have been hounded and then destroyed during Question Period in the Commons or at Queen's Park until he submitted his letter of resignation. Imagine the Report if the Auditor had the complete files.

However, at Windsor Council, no one makes a peep and some Windsor reporters dare not rock the boat or risk their jobs in a troubled economy.

  • "Eagle is the only compliant bidder under the Tender."

They did NOT get the City Furniture contract.

Where is the judicial inquiry or the police investigation after this 400 Building Furniture mess, never mind what happened on the building itself.

How can that be you might legitimately ask if there is a Tender process. Read on and weep or will mini-Gord write again as he did with the 400 Building audit:

  • "400 audit much ado about nothing

    Nobody stole anything, and nobody screwed up any aspect of the project.

    So what's the big deal?"

Don’t you find it remarkable how well our Mayor has been protected from any kind of criticism with respect to the 400 building audit. Or the Furniture audit. He must have known about the problems of the Limitations Period respecting contractor claims as an example because he read the draft report before the time expired.

Oh, I understand that the building mess all happened about three quarters of a decade ago under a different Mayor and Administration and that we ought to “move on.” However, life is not that simple:

  • Eagle Office claims it was cheated of $1.6M city contract

    A local office supply company says it was cheated out of a $1.6 million contract for the 400 City Hall Square building and is considering legal action against the city.

    “I'm weighing my odds,” Paul Fields, president of Eagle Office Furniture, said a meeting Wednesday of the city’s audit committee. “I'm sitting back and looking at what EllisDon is doing. I've talked to a couple of lawyers already.”

    Toronto-based EllisDon Corp. has said it will decide next week whether to sue the city after an audit revealed Vindella Enterprises was unfairly awarded a contract by council in 2002 to construct the $32.5-million 400 building.”

Even in that Star furniture story, the word Mayor or Francis never appeared once!

While Edgar can legitimately say that he was not the Mayor when the 400 Building Tender went out, although he was on the Council, he was the Mayor when the Furniture Tender went out.

This is Edgar's baby. He must take responsibility as the CEO for the mess that took place in any lawsuit that may arise therefrom. It is clear from the Audit the Mayor and Council are deeply involved and must take the blame and the hit for whatever happens.

Take a look at the following comments from the Audit Report on Furniture and wonder why it was not reported: (The headlines are mine)


  • The City’s Purchasing department did not manage Tender 02-04. The City hired a consultant to write the furniture specifications and to oversee the administration of the Tender. The consultant drafted Tender 02-04, all specifications, instructions and bid forms, and supplied copies to the tenderers on behalf of the City...

    However, the work of these consultants is normally very closely coordinated with the municipality's purchasing department. Due to insufficient levels of staffing in the City’s purchasing department at the time, that close coordination did not occur in this case...

  • The City’s Purchasing department was not involved in the furniture fit-up Tender. The entire Tender process was outsourced to a consultant. While this is not an abnormal practice, the way it was done is irregular, in that there is no contract or engagement letter on file at the City that outlines what the consultant was paid to deliver on behalf of the City.

  • c) This scenario is remarkably similar to the project planning issues identified in the February 2009 Audit Report I of the 400 CHS project. The City did not appropriately plan for its furniture needs and specifications did not ensure its furniture requirements were clearly stated in the Tender document and did not assign appropriate City staff resources to oversee and protect the interests of the City.

  • d) Of certain importance, current Administration has advised the AGO that in 2002, the City’s Purchasing department consisted of two individuals who had responsibility over the purchasing activity of the entire City. The staffing condition of the Purchasing department was addressed by Council and Administration, following the results and recommendations outlined in a 2003 PriceWaterhouseCoopers report prepared for the City of Windsor entitled, Control and Procedures Review of the Financial Services Function of the Corporate Services Department....

  • The confusion is understandable, as there was no one on the City’s purchasing department working on the tender, and indeed, no other City staff working on it. The risk of recurrence of this situation has been addressed through additional controls in the new Purchasing By-Law 400-2004, and through additional staff within the City’s Purchasing department...We have been advised by current Administration that at that time, all of the purchasing activity for the entire City of Windsor was being conducted by only two persons...

  • Perhaps due to the significant level of confusion among Administration throughout this project, and certainly due to the many errors that took place (some unknown to Administration at that time), the Purchasing Manager that addressed the issues at Council was provided with some information that was not accurate or factual. However, having no history on the project,what the Purchasing Manager reported to Council was based on this incorrect information.


  • The Tender Document Issued by the City was Unclear and Caused Confusion

    There were many contradictory statements within the Tender Bid Package issued by the City that caused confusion among both bidders and those evaluating the bids with regards to how the City would award the parts of Tender 02-04.


  • As early as September 12, 2003, the City was aware of a PWGSC budget expenditure and timing constraint that would affect the project fit-ups. PWGSC advised the City, in an email, that PWGSC had received direction to purchase furniture screens by March 31, 2004. PWGSC was to ensure purchase and possession of the furniture screens occurred by that date, or PWGSC would be at risk of forfeiting the funding...

  • The City did not issue the Tender until January 16, 2004... almost a month late... We were unable to find documentation to explain the change in date the Tender was issued...

  • On February 2, 2004, the day before Tender 02-04 closed, Administration reported (Council report 10006):
    - “PWGSC had advised Administration that the funding for expenditures within their fit up program is extremely time sensitive and subject to being lost if not expended within any given federal government fiscal year end of March 31.

    - The Council report was not clear in disclosing the fact that Administration had been advised of the urgent action PWGSC would have to take, unless the City itself moved quickly, on September 12, 2003."

    [The Feds' budget need effectively was allowed to run the process to Windsor's detriment and the City's failure to act in a timely fashion compounded the problem]
  • In a letter dated February 9, 2004, Eagle sent a lengthy letter to Mayor Francis. Among other things, Eagle complained about the treatment of Tayco and its apparent disqualification for not meeting specifications. Eagle made no mention of its own bid although it was clear that Eagle felt it was wrong on the part of the City to award a contract to Monarch when Tayco provided a lower price. Eagle does not mention the bid of Mayhew which is lower than the bid submitted by Tayco. [And what did the Mayor do about this?]
  • The City’s Choice To Award “Part C” of Tender 02-04 to Monarch

    a) May 30, 2005: Over a year after Part A of Tender 02-04 was awarded to Monarch, the City’s Purchasing department stepped in to complete the process – to deal with Part C, the City’s furniture needs.

    b) On May 30, 2005 the City’s Purchasing Manager, along with the Corporate Projects Manager, attended an in-camera meeting of Council to explain the issues to date, the errors made by the City and to recommend future action to deal with the City’s furniture needs...

    Monarch was not the lowest bidder for Part C of Tender 02-04. However, Purchasing made the recommendation [To Council] to award Tender 02-04 to Monarch for justifiable business reasons, including, but not limited to:

    “With the permission of the Chair of the Steering Committee, Administration met with …Monarch…to discuss this option. …During these discussions it became clear…that Monarch had clearly been told by City representatives that it had been awarded Part C of the contract.” (Monarch had, acting on reasonable expectations, incurred other expenses & developed plans in preparation for the contract) [NOTE: EXCEPT, the Star reported that Fields of Eagle "complained he had the lowest bid under C — and even received a letter indicating he was the successful bidder. But his C bid was lumped together by city decision-makers with his other bid on A and B, no longer making him the lowest, he said." It would ber interesting to know who signed that letter and what the consequences are of that]...

  • In the May 30, 2005 in-camera report, the Administration limited financial comparison to the bids received from Eagle, Monarch and Inscape. The report stated a cost savings of $47,547 would have been achieved – If Eagle had been chosen over Monarch...

  • In a report to Council May 30th, 2005, administration recommended that a contract be executed with Monarch to purchase the furniture specified in Part C at the price originally bid by Monarch in February of 2004. According to the report, Monarch offered the best combined price (Part A and Part C) among all bidders. When the award was made to Monarch for Part C, the City was well aware that other bidders had offered significantly lower pricing for the Part C furniture only – though for a different manufacturer. "


  • The City did not scope out/develop specifications for building Fit-Ups for the part of the space being occupied by the City or for its own office furniture needs. The result was a negative budget variance of $1,792,955 or 47% over budget on this item

  • Further, the City breached the “bidding contract” with the bidder which submitted a compliant bid (Eagle) when it awarded the contract for Part A to a bidder – Monarch –which had submitted a non-compliant bid. Bidders which submit non-compliant bids do not have the “bidding contract” with the City. Non-compliant bids should be disregarded, not accepted.

  • Part C of the furniture tender was awarded to Monarch, even though it did not submit the lowest Part C bid...the AGO can only speculate that the potential savings could be somewhere between $47,547 and $179,211..

  • Thus, Council approved piggybacking a new contract onto another contract that it had
    not yet approved. Council was not advised that the Purchasing By-Law did not permit
    piggybacking the WPS contract onto an unapproved contract.

  • The actions of the City affected the City’s goodwill with the Tender Proponents, which damage the City’s ability to attract quality proponents to participate in future Tender and RFP calls.

  • The City evaluated the bids received as though the bid documents did reflect the four issues mentioned above. In doing so, the City breached its implied obligation under the “bidding contract” to treat all bidders fairly and evenly. Further, the City breached the “bidding contract” with the bidder which submitted a compliant bid (Eagle) when it awarded the contract for Part A to a bidder - Monarch – which had submitted a non-compliant bid. Bidders which submit noncompliant bids do not have the “bidding contract” with the City.

  • With respect to the award of a contract for WPS, the City did not follow by-law 9-2000 and sole sourced the furniture purchase to the supplier awarded the contract for Part A, namely Monarch.


  • (iv) What Are the Implications of Making the Issues Respecting the Tender Public?
    The issue is one of risk management. The City will have to assess the likelihood that any of the bidders will take action against the City. If the assessment is that there is no serious chance of a bidder taking action (keeping in mind that only one bidder can recover substantial damages), then the report may be made public, from a purely legal perspective. If the City is concerned that one or more bidders will bring an action against the City, then the City may consider either redactions from the report or preserving the report as an in camera document.

    The City should consider not making the report on the Tender public at all. Owner errors in running bid processes – stemming from a lack of understanding of the “bidding contract” – are very common. The difficulties with the Tender do not involve any form of outside interference with the process. Canada obtained the furniture it wanted from the lowest pre-qualified bidder (although not necessarily the lowest compliant pre-qualified bidder). [In other words, hide from the public the fiasco! Why bother having audit reports and accountability if it is all to be hidden if there are problems.]

Do you see what I mean? Edgar should be called upon to explain how things got out so far out of control under his stewardship of this City including while he was a member of Council.

I hope someone from the citizens who will be speaking at Council on Monday about the audit will demand accountability through an outside party.