Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Friday, February 26, 2010

Is There Bullying In The Political Workplace

Edgar (aka Eddie) may need a holiday after his vacation in Mexico
  • "To sit on a beach in Mexico and lob grenades my way, and drag my family into this, is offensive. And it's very, very bad politics."

He better learn to turn off his Blackberry after the second major faux pas he has made while away. Except the two mistakes tie in together in an unexpected way as you will see at the end of this BLOG.


The concept of dealing with bullying is a relatively new concept that is gaining a lot of attention these days and not just amongst children and in schools. Bullying comes in many shapes and sizes and the consequences can be very severe. Here is a definition that I saw involving adults and jobs:

  • Definition of Workplace Bullying

    Workplace Bullying is repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons (the targets) by one or more perpetrators that takes one or more of the following forms:

    ■Verbal abuse.
    ■Offensive conduct/behaviors (including nonverbal) which are threatening, humiliating or intimidating
    ■Work interference — sabotage — which prevents work from getting done.

    Workplace Bullying...

    Is driven by perpetrators' need to control the targeted individual(s).
    Is initiated by bullies who choose their targets, timing, location and methods.
    Escalates to involve others who side with the bully either voluntarily through coercion.
    Undermines legitimate business interests when bullies' personal agendas take precedence over work itself."

Workplace bullying can take place in a political work environment just as it can in a business environment. If you have been reading any of the English newspapers online, then you would have seen the storm that has broken out around the British PM:

  • "The Prime Minister’s fitness to govern was called into question last night after allegations that No 10 staff had called an anti-bullying charity.

    Christine Pratt, the chief executive of the National Bullying Helpline, made the claims hours after reports that Sir Gus O’Donnell, the Cabinet Secretary, had approached Gordon Brown about his treatment of personnel.

    Mrs Pratt told a television interviewer that staff working for Mr Brown had made “three of four” calls and downloaded advice from the charity’s website.

    “I have personally taken a call from staff in the Prime Minister’s office, staff who believe they are working in a bullying culture and that it has caused them some stress,” she said. “We would have hoped Gordon Brown would lead by example. If an employer receives complaints, they should investigate.”

The anti-bullying Hotline lady has taken a few hits herself subsequently, with several of her Executive resigning since she supposedly breached a confidence. Moreover, she is now being attacked rather viciously I think, a different form of bullying perhaps if one dares attack the Leader:

  • "Minister Phil Woolas launches personal attack on Christine Pratt

    Government criticism of the head of an anti-bullying charity morphed into an outright personal attack today when Christine Pratt was mocked by a minister as a “prat of a woman”.

    The founder of the National Bullying Helpline has faced a concerted campaign to discredit her and her organisation since claiming that staff at No 10 had asked for help to flight bullying at work.

    Phil Woolas, the Immigration Minister, launched the most aggressive attack yet while suggesting that she would be regretting her actions."

So let us look locally and ask could the same thing happen in Windsor? Do the City's Human Resources surveys reveal any kind of bullying concerns by staff members? Do staff members feel intimidated? If so, has it become worse after the 101 day strike and the outsourcing debate or are attempts being made to reduce concerns?

I have a reason for setting this out obviously. I was absolutely offended by the comments by Edgar (aka Eddie) in the Star in the arena audit story Would his comments meet the criteria of "bullying?" That is for you, dear reader, to decide for yourself. As for me, I believe the Mayor's comments are a disgrace:

  • "Construction of the $72.1-million WFCU Centre will go under the microscope of the city auditor general's department.

    "Our goal is to look at value for money," said lead internal auditor Angela Berry of the upcoming arena audit.

    "I can't tell you exactly what we are going to look at yet. What we will do is talk to people first to find out what are the concerns. It's starting now. We will meet with people. Then once we go and look, you are going to find something and that will lead to more questions..."

    Coun. Alan Halberstadt, a member of the audit committee, said he was pleased the WFCU audit will begin.

    "There are a lot of questions being asked by critics and it's good to have those questions addressed and answered," he said.

    He said a land swap deal with developer Shmuel Farhi "should be eyeballed on this. There were a lot of questions raised about that and whether the city got a good deal."

    But Mayor Eddie Francis questioned in a phone interview Monday the need for an audit and accused Halberstadt of "creating a cloud of suspicion where there should be none."

    He said there were no "unanswered questions" and that Halberstadt was part of the discussions on the new arena until "declaring a conflict at the 11th hour."

    "If he wanted answers to the questions, he should have stayed on as part of the process," said Francis.

    While such audits are "free of political interference," Francis, referring to the steep price of the 400 building audit, said he wants to ensure council provides "oversight."

    "We're not going to sit back and let them spend another $600,000 on an audit," he said."

Obviously, the Mayor is concerned. His career could be ended if there are negative comments raised around the arena deal by an audit as there was with the 400 Building.

The biggest obvious issue that can be answered quickly and easily is whether the arena was properly single-sourced. The issue was raised again by Jim Lyons of the Construction Association

  • "Jim Lyons, executive director of the Windsor Construction Association, recently criticized the city for circumventing an "open and transparent" system when it ruled out competitive bidding for the project."

But Edgar answered it in a way that means nothing but looks impressive:

  • "Mayor Eddie Francis said that even though the city sole-sourced the arena project, it was approved through a bylaw and resolution of council."

So what Mr. Mayor. If it was wrong, passing a by-law does nothing to make it right. Or is this his way of sharing blame with the Councillors in advance, deflecting attention from himself, in advance?

Clearly there is no love lost between Edgar and the "Your arrogance knows no bounds" Councillor. But attacking Halberstadt already? Is it because he is a member of the Audit Committee and Edgar is going after him in advance to let him know how he can be dealt with?

You remember I am sure the "unanswered question" show-down over the 400 Building audit at the Council meeting between Edgar and Alan. Here we go again but in advance!

Why would the Mayor question the need for an audit? Because the finger of blame could point at him or has he set up already the Councillor formerly known as Councillor Budget for the fall with the help of a Messenger columnist! Did you hear him demanding an end to the 400 Audit? Why now?

A major project was finished costing over $70M. Isn't it normal to see what was done right and what was done wrong to improve just like with the 400 Building? Why not take the praise for a job well done or is he afraid of something that might be uncovered since he was so intimately involved in the arena file?

The only thing in a cloud is the Mayor's head if he does not think that people are suspicious about what went on. Again, if there is no "cloud of suspicion," then let the audit go forward and make Councillor Halberstadt eat his words.

It is completely disingenuous for the Mayor to claim that there are no "unanswered" questions. Merely by saying so does not make the questions disappear.

The Mayor needs to explain this circuitous logic of his. If Councillor Halberstadt declared a "conflict," then he would be in breach of the Municipal Conflict of Interst Act if he "should have stayed on as part of the process." The Mayor as a lawyer ought to know better.

However, it is Edgar sticking his nose into the Audit Committee's function that I find appalling!

No it is NOT his or Council's job to "provide[s] "oversight." That smells of political interference.

If it takes $600K to do a proper job, so be it! That is most unfortunate but that is what may happen on a major audit that takes years to be completed using outside assistance where there were strange events taking place like 11 boxes being found all of a sudden.

Perhaps the Mayor should ensure that ALL files are made available to the Auditor including all of his files and that ALL personnel are available for interviews including himself so the costs and time-period involved are minimized.

I am sure that he would want the whole story out before the election!

But in the end, the person at risk is Angela Berry and her career.

  • "Findings of a recently completed audit of the $32.5-million 400 City Hall Square building project shows Berry and her audit co-workers will not shy away from controversy during the arena audit."

How would you like to be in her shoes today with the Mayor's outburst and him saying that there was nothing wrong on the file! How comfortable is she going to feel going into the audit fearing perhaps that if there is something negative discovered, especially if it hurts the Council members involved, that she might get "punished" down the road? How secure should she feel today since the Chair of the Audit Committee is invisible on the Mayor's comments and should have denounced them!

I see that the Star was so concerned about the Mayor's side of the story not getting out that they had to phone him while he is on holidays. Can we be generous and say that the Mayor was taken by surprise and his remarks reflect that. Why not?

Or could we say in the alternative that this has all been premeditated and part of a campaign to scare the Audit group in anticipation of an audit on the arena. As I Blogged before:

  • "Then we have the Mayor telling us this as he wants Councillors Halberstadt and Marra removed as members of the Audit Committee:

    "Two audit committee members are city councillors, prompting Mayor Eddie Francis to call the audit process "politicized."

    "It's taken up a lot of time and effort," he said.

    "The audit committee's there to serve as an independent function, as an independent oversight of the affairs of the corporation."

    Edgar said on Eh-channel that he thinks other investigations into other City activities are politically motivated and are wasting resources. Frankly, I have NO idea what he is talking about on this issue. What else is being examined that we do not know about that is taking up so much Audit time?

    How did the audit which is a normal activity all of a sudden become "politicized" and who is making it such. Hardly Councillors Marra and Halberstadt. They are looing like fools letting the process go on and on and on!

    Also he wants Max Zalev out too since he is on Enwin but Max wants Councillors on it because they bring the municipal perspective.

    Funny, I have not heard these complaints before when the Audit Committee was invisible on WUC as an example or not taking action on the 400 Building. Is it now political because of Councillor "Mayor in Waiting" and Councillor "Your Arrogance Has no bounds" who cannot be controlled since it is getting to re-election time

    This is all of course utter nonesense but nothing more that the beginning of a demand to depoliticize the Committee and appoint "unbiased" citizens to the Committee after a very long vettign process of course. Just like with the WEDC CEO process.

    Ho, Ho, Ho...the Star even gets in on the subject. You think they are supporting taxpayers. Hardly. They are helping Edgar stall things off:

    "If the audit committee is unwilling to immediately release the Dunbar audit, the committee should be immediately dissolved and a separate investigation launched to explain how a group of officials who are responsible for ensuring transparency and accountability, instead seem to be accomplishing the opposite.

    That should last until waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay after the next municipal election!

    So what is this all about? What is the real story behind this? We know it is the old Edgar stall game but why?

    As I BLOGGED before, it has nothing to do with the 400 Building but everything to do with the Arena. "11 Boxes As A Stalling Device"

You be the judge of that too, dear reader.

The Marra incident involving his family and now this. It could prove to be a very expensive and costly vacation for Edgar in more ways than one.

Don't forget that Councillor Marra is also on the Audit Committee.

"And it’s very, very bad politics”

Here is a copy of the email that was sent by Councillor Marra to the Mayor and Council about his absence from Council from time to time. I thought it was important for you to read it for yourself. [Note parts were deleted by me for obvious reasons].

Note to whom it was addressed in the body of the email and its date.

And no, I did NOT get it from Councillor Marra so do not dump on him. In fact, I received it from one of my inside sources.

  • "Coun. Bill Marra is upset that the mayor’s office released attendance records without providing context.

    “The part that most offended me was that when the information was released, there was every opportunity for the mayor and the mayor’s office to say, ‘We should tell you that in November of ‘08, Coun. Marra told us what was going on,’” Marra said Wednesday, a day after attendance was made public, while Mayor Eddie Francis was on vacation.

    “To sit on a beach in Mexico and lob grenades my way, and drag my family into this, is offensive. And it’s very, very bad politics.”

What is sad also is the meanness of some people on the Star Forum who are calling for Marra to resign because his wife is ill and think he ought NOT to run for Mayor. Is this part of the dirty tricks campaign too?

Be fair, has anyone really felt that the City has suffered because the Councillor has been away for on average 6 Council meetings per year. I doubt it but for the Star story.

Yes, Bill ought NOT to run for Mayor if he was a micromanger and had to travel the world for no good reason and had to be the Chair of most Boards, a lot of which pay nice fees and who had to have his nose into everything including being the Voice of Council whenever it suited him.

He ought NOT to run if he cannot delegate either and does not trust his staff on many matters and has to go to outside consultants.

Fortunately, Bill runs a large organization already and knows how to work with others to accomplish the organization's objectives. He does NOT have to do everything himself. Isn't that how successful business executives operate?

Let's be fair as well. Edgar (aka Eddie) generates work. It is HIS decision to work so many hours per day not anyone else's. I doubt if that is really necessary.

There is no need for all of this drama in a smallish City of 200,000 plus. As I Blogged before, to go from A to B in Windsor under Edgar, we have travel through all of the letters of the alphabet.

Oh and what do you think of the Mayor's Office now and their speed in giving out information to the media:

  • "Francis said by phone Wedesday that his office was merely responding to requests from the media and other councillors, after a sparsely attended Monday meeting where a number of items were deferred because the mayor and four councillors were absent.

    “I wasn’t even there Monday night when this became an issue,” said Francis, who noted that it’s up to voters to decide whether their elected officials are performing their duties well. “After the discussion that took place Monday night at council, we received a number of inquiries Tuesday morning. They wanted to know whether we could give them a sense of what the numbers may be.”

Here is an email I sent. Note the time and date:

  • "----- Original Message -----

    From: Ed Arditti
    To: Mayor Francis
    Sent: Thursday, February 25, 2010 8:00 AM
    Subject: Media Inquiry

    As an accredited Blogger who writes on politics in Windsor, please provide me immediately with the following information from the start of the Mayor's second term until today.:

    --number of Committee meetings that the Mayor did not attend
    --number of Committee meetings in which the Mayor was NOT there for the entire meeting eg he arrived late or left early
    --number of airplane trips that the Mayor has taken on Windsor business whether as Mayor or a member of a Board or committee and out of which airport he has flown for each trip (note I do not care what the destination is or whom he was meeting or for what reason)

    Considering the speed in which the Mayor's Office answered the media requests re absences, I expect this information today so I may Blog it tomorrow.

    After all as the Mayor said:

    ""It's about accountability. We knock on doors saying we want to represent you at the table.... I think the public has a right to know,"

Darn, no reply yet. What a dirty shame!


Sarah Butler is NOT Preston Cedar but a real person who worked in Edgar's office at one time.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Election Dirty Tricks

When Bill Marra ran for Mayor, he made 2 big mistakes that cost him the election.

Edgar (aka Eddie) just made a huge one that will cost him his job IF Marra decides to run. And electioneering has not even started yet.

It demonstrates how scared Edgar, and the Messenger, are of Marra because they know that Marra would beat Edgar easily whether it is a two or multi-person race. Heck he would not even have to campaign to beat Edgar:
  • "Mayor's release of attendance figures called 'bad politics' by Marra

    “The part that most offended me was that when the information was released, there was every opportunity for the mayor and the mayor’s office to say, ‘We should tell you that in November of ‘08, Coun. Marra told us what was going on,’” Marra said Wednesday, a day after attendance was made public, while Mayor Eddie Francis was on vacation.

    “To sit on a beach in Mexico and lob grenades my way, and drag my family into this, is offensive. And it’s very, very bad politics.”

    Francis said by phone Wedesday that his office was merely responding to requests from the media and other councillors...

    “After the discussion that took place Monday night at council, we received a number of inquiries Tuesday morning. They wanted to know whether we could give them a sense of what the numbers may be...”

    Marra provided The Star an email he had sent to Francis and other councillors in November 2008, explaining that he had missed some council meetings because of his wife Rita’s health and that he would have to miss some more in the future."

Wow, when does City Hall respond this quickly!

Edgar's fingerprints are all over this one. Tell us specifically who inquired Mr. Mayor! Who were the Councillors who asked and exactly when? Did they ask your Chief of Staff? No one would dare do anything including releasing any data without Edgar's express approval.

Wasn't Edgar the one who was so upset re family during the CUPE strike:

  • "Pickets target mayor's home; Move by CUPE 'crossed a line,' says Francis

    Mayor Eddie Francis is outraged that CUPE has "crossed a line" by sending striking workers to picket his private residence and the homes of other council members.

    "They can picket me all they want. They can hurl names at me. They can follow me during the entire course of the day," said the mayor with noticeable anger.

    "But when you take this to the family home, you've crossed a line (and) I think it's offensive to all of us."

This cheap shot was directed right at "family," Marra's family! Don't blame Edgar though, blame the media. And Councillors. Never blame Edgar.

But if the Mayor misses Council for family reasons, a vacation not health problems for a spouse, everything is ok:

  • "The mayor missed council himself this week because he took a few days off to spend with his young family."

If Bill runs and Edgar loses, Edgar should remember one thing : "La famiglia sonno ogni cosa."


You know that Edgar blew this one big time. Mini-Gord was assigned the task to close this down and do serious damage control BEFORE Marra gets any more sympathy and Kudos for doing three jobs well---Home, Council and Office:

  • "Council truancy overblown

    So now Windsor voters know how many of city council's 139 regular meetings each councillor missed over the past three years -- if that's important.

    On Monday, fuelled by righteous indignation at the sight of seven empty council seats, some councillors harrumphed loudly about the poor attendance of those not present to defend themselves.

    It would have been an interesting charge had there been an important issue on the table on Monday, like, say, outsourcing garbage collection. But it was an exceptionally light week for council business, so the harrumphs were mostly grandstanding."

BLOGExclusive: Has Councillor Dilkens Been Abducted By Aliens

Or is he on the Mayor's S**T List for some reason?

Oh this is serious. I am not kidding.

At one time, I thought that Henderson might have been spirited away. I had suggested it in relation to a Councillor too:
  • "Wait a minute. Was this column written by Gord? Have any of the columns in the last few months been written by Gord? Museum last week, University this week. They can hardly be said to be "hard-hitting views" from the Star's "provocative city columnist."

    Someone on the Star may be signalling that Gord may have been abducted, by aliens perhaps. I had suggested that concept before in relation to a Councillor

    "The Star quoted him in an early story but something happened between then and now. He must have been abducted by aliens. The published Star story did not mention his quotes."

Check out this BLOG too: "Councillor Dilkens Is A Non-Person"

What other explanation could be the answer when one reads

  • "Neither the acting-mayor, CAO Helga Reidel nor deputy clerk Steve Vlachodimos were able to say what had happened to Dilkens or Gignac"

  • "Drew Dilkens's whereabouts remained a mystery as of Tuesday night."

But wait, the BLOGMesiter may have the answer:

  1. The infamous City Hall amnesia disease
  2. Windsor Star Journalism

I decided to find out if bandidos had kidnapped my Ward 1 Councillor and, as an enquiring media rep even though a mere BLOGGER, I emailed him asking what happened to him.

My email was sent out at 8:58 PM on Wednesday and I received a reply at 12:06 AM Thursday. Now why couldn't the Star do that?

Unfortunately, the explanation was NOT exciting:

  • "I'm on vacation with my family....its u of w [his course] spring break."

And as for no one at City Hall knowing where he was:

  • "I told [Name of Person] that I wasn't going to be back until Monday's public session....I asked him to pull an in camera item from the agenda on march 1st....yet he wasn't aware that I was away......whatever."

Darn, it just means that he and Councillor Marra are in for a rough ride for the next election. How boring.

Star Forums

Read the Star so you can peer into the future:

Amazing, a simple explanation supposedly. They fixed the clock according to some people on the Forum. I went back to do an image of that to clarify matters this morning and what did I see when I went to the Star Forum.

Poof: The whole discussion had vanished, disappeared, not a trace of it. As if it never existed like the Lewenza Ward meeting!

Absence Does Not Make The Heart Grow Fonder

It's cheap shot time in Windsor.

Yup, Councillor Marra missed on average about 6 Council meetings a year.

Yup the Star played it out on a headline

Yup, the Star pointed out, as everyone at City Hall knows, that his wife is quite ill and MUST travel out of town frequently for treatment.

Yup, it was a cheap shot.

Yup, Edgar (aka Eddie) and the Star are desperately afraid that Bill Marra might be the next Mayor.

This reminded me about what Edgar told me when he first ran for Mayor. In the year before the election, he did not spend one single penny on expenses so that when the story appeared in the press, it would show how frugal he was in comparison with other Councillors.

Oh, that was the year he ran against Marra for Mayor. Déjà vu?

Too bad we did not find out how many Committee meetings Edgar missed or only attended for a few minutes since he gets paid for those too. And he keeps those fees all to himself and does not share them as Councillors do:
  • "the capital budget requires $19.6 million in spending this year to match the system’s needs, he said.

    “It’s easy to maintain the status quo, but that does nothing to ensure we are providing safe and reliable water,” Wladarski said.

    The board Thursday approved spending $12 million on capital projects for 2010 and will decide in the spring after the public consultation sessions whether to approve the hike to bolster the infrastructure spending and match the request by Wladarski and administration.

    WUC commissioner George Sandala said he agrees with the rate hike.

    “These are tough economic times. I get that,” he said. “But the public needs some idea what we need to invest in our system to keep our water safe. We are not self-sufficient.”

    WUC member Mayor Eddie Francis was absent because of a trip to England, but chairman Ken Lewenza Jr. said the commission will listen to public comments before making any final decisions."

Did you notice that the Mayor just wants to look at "in-camera, special or budget meetings." Considering that he calls them, I am sure his attendance will be almost perfect there! Marra's absence numbers will be huge then too since many in camera meetings are held on the same night as a Council meetings.

Oooops, missing that WUC meeting does not count. Edgar put another term to keep his numbers low: "do not include any meetings missed by councillors or himself because of city business." That means no matter how long the UK trip was.

Silly me. I thought the Mayor and Council were supposed to run the City since we have so many important issues to solve. Didn't Edgar scold the Councillors and tell them to stop electioneering? Of course now he wants openness and transparency when he can slam Marra:

  • "It's about accountability. We knock on doors saying we want to represent you at the table.... I think the public has a right to know," said Mayor Eddie Francis."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Same Old With The Arena Profits

It's ok. We can find money for the arena shortfall but not for daycare. Strange set of values at City Hall.

Just read the 2009 and 2010 stories on the Arena's falling income and compare.

Poor Edgar. The Arena was not supposed to be ready yet. The Administration report had at least another year of "negotiating" with Project Ice Track before they would get screwed. You see Edgar wanted the arena started but not finished while he was Mayor or rather, just opened when he was Mayor since if the revenues came short, he would get blamed.

Project ice Track moving to Tecumseh caused heartburn and the deal had to be signed prematurely as far as Edgar was concerned.

Cluck, cluck, cluck. The chickens are coming home to roost.

  • WFCU Centre profits fall short
    May 7, 2009

    If non-OHL events lose money annually at the WFCU Centre it will fall on to the backs of city taxpayers, according to an agreement with operator Global Spectrum.

    The facility manager — which receives a $90,000 annual management fee from the city — has admitted this week in a report to council non-hockey events expected to come in droves has so far failed to materialize. The result has the WFCU Centre generating less than half of the anticipated profits being turned over to the city.

    It was expected $1.5 million would be the net benefit for city pocketbooks from WFCU operations in 2009, but is now instead projected to be $705,131 — over $800,000 less than anticipated.

    Global Spectrum has dropped its projection for non-OHL events in 2009 at the arena from 71 to 39.

    "It’s still profitable but not as much as we hoped at this point," said city treasurer, Onorio Colucci.

    The city could have chosen to go on its own to book shows at the arena, Colucci said, but turned to the expertise of Global Spectrum — the same company that manages the John Labatt Centre in London and more than 70 similar facilities across the U.S. and Canada.

    "If they do really well, they get a share," Colucci said.

    Any profits generated by Global Spectrum belong to the city up to $300,000 annually, according to the city’s contract. Anything over that, the agency keeps 50 per cent of the next increment up to $400,000; 20 per cent up of anything over $400,000; and 25 per cent of any amount over $500,000.

    It is a 20-year deal — but based on certain criteria either party can walk away with 30-days notice, said Jan Wilson, the city’s executive director of recreation.

    The $811,000 shortfall in profits has left the city’s recreation department facing a 12 per cent reduction in its 2009 budget — slated to be $6.5 million — unless council decides to either pull funds from another department or add more revenues from the tax levy. The department’s 2008 budget was $7.4 million.

    A report to council Wednesday pointed to the region’s economy and difficulty booking non-OHL events as reasons for lower revenues. But ice and floor rental revenues at the WFCU Centre are also $300,000 lower than anticipated.

    "Times are tough and people are cutting back," Colucci said. "People can’t afford hockey and ice skating, so there are less people and that lowers the ice time. We feel it’s temporary and it will come back.

    Global Spectrum officials said Thursday being a new venue has been the main hurdle to attracting more shows to the arena.

    "It takes time to get on the radar with promoters and proving yourself," said Rich Trella, general manger of events for Global Spectrum at the WFCU Centre.

    The economy has also been a factor with not as many acts touring or wanting to risk coming to a smaller market such as Windsor, he said.

    "We expect with time we will get more as we get familiar with promoters," Trella said. "Those who have come in are happy with the amenities. There has been a lot of positive feedback, so that will help get the word out about the facility."

    The 71 non-OHL events annually will remain a target, but Trella guesses it will take at least a couple years for Global Spectrum to get there.

    "When we go into new facilities, sometimes it takes awhile," he said. "It takes time to get going with promoters and them to realize money can be made here...

    City administration remains uncertain on future budget projections for the WFCU Centre beyond 2009, Colucci said.

    "Clearly it’s bringing in lower revenues than projected in our budget, but the critical thing is it’s still profitable," he said."

Latest arena news. Note it came out 3 months earlier than last year. Can't have bad news coming out so close to the Municipal election:

  • "Number of non-OHL events at WFCU Centre way below prediction
    February 12, 2010

    The WFCU Centre drew only 18 non-OHL events — a quarter of the 71 spectacles Windsorites had been promised — in its first full year of operation. [They could not even hit their revised number of 39. This is reassuring: 71 remains a "target" and our expensively hired manager "guesses" it will take at least a couple years for Global Spectrum to get there. ]

    The lacklustre performance is forcing city council to withdraw $676,551 from a municipal reserve fund to help balance the recreation department’s 2010 budget. [Isn't that around the amount that Municipal daycare costs]

    “It’s extremely concerning,” Coun. Bill Marra said of the need for another deep draw on reserves after a previous injection of $811,000 for the same purpose last year. [I wonder if Administration can estimate what next year's results might be. Ooops, cannot do that because they would really cause a problem "City administration remains uncertain on future budget projections for the WFCU Centre beyond 2009]

    Global Spectrum, the management company hired to attract and handle bookings at the east-end sports and entertainment facility, blamed the ailing economy and the facility’s newness for 2009’s poor performance. But Marra questioned why those factors weren’t part of the original business plan projections.

    “It’s common sense to me — they should have recognized that. They didn’t come anywhere near their target,” he said. [I thought we retained the firm because of "the expertise of Global Spectrum — the same company that manages the John Labatt Centre in London and more than 70 similar facilities across the U.S. and Canada."

    Wow, sounds like Serco. Watch Edgar (aka Eddie) kick them out and take this over too now. Let's set up another private company for which he can be the Chair. Oh dear, we heard these excuses before..."A report to council Wednesday pointed to the region’s economy and difficulty booking non-OHL events...being a new venue has been the main hurdle to attracting more shows to the arena."It takes time to get on the radar with promoters and proving yourself,"]

    The city ended up pocketing less than half the $1.5 million net income initially projected from WFCU Centre operations in 2009. As recently as last spring, city council was being advised that the facility would see 39 rather than 71 events, but the year ended with the $65-million facility hosting only one special event every 20 days. [Half of the revised number]

    Administration is forecasting a second consecutive under-performing year. This year’s projection is for 40 non-OHL events, down from an originally forecast 71 shows in the big bowl. [That might mean less than 10 real events. I see that Administration is doing some projections. Why not pretend to give us hope]

    A spokesman for Global Spectrum, a division of U.S. giant Comcast-Spectacor, said this year won’t end with another abysmal showing. [What word is worse than "abysmal?"]

    “I don’t think people should worry,” said Trent Merritt, general manager of events at the WFCU. [He may not think so but I do.]

    “We’ve already got some great events lined up, some top-notch events the likes of which haven’t played in Windsor before,” said Merritt, part of a new management team Global Spectrum recently put in place in Windsor. [Don't you find it surprising that we aren't told what these events are. I hope they do better than the old management team.]

    Mayor Eddie Francis said the WFCU Centre’s anemic performance thus far doesn’t mean the facility is a money-loser but that it’s simply bringing in “less gravy.” [Errr, Edgar. We did so poorly in spite of the Spits doing so well and in a new, modern arena. What happens when the Spits don't do so well?]

    By consolidating operations at three former single-pad arenas and a community centre into a single facility, Francis said ratepayers are already saving more than a half-million dollars annually. The “business case” for the WFCU Centre, with its main spectator bowl and three additional community rinks that opened in December 2008, was “not dependent on event nights,” he said. [Clearly not because we could NOT attract events. Global Spectrum is part of the arena MegaProject game. Low construction costs, high revenues to justify marching forward in the wrong spot that turn into high costs and overstated revenues resulting in taxpayers losing. What has happened to the sale of those other 3 properties by the way? When will we be told that they cannot be sold or, to save face, that they wil be used for other purposes]

    City treasurer Onorio Colucci said the centre is “breaking even, give or take about $50,000.” He added that administration struggled over whether to recommend another draw on reserves but concluded the profitability problem is short-term. [Income taxes were short-term too and we still have them. This tells me that profits have dropped from $750K last year to virtually nothing this year]

    The WFCU Centre is simply not making as much operating profit as originally envisioned, said Colucci. [DUH, thanks for telling us the obvious.]

    Colucci said the recreation department’s budget was reduced — from $6.33 million in 2009 to $6.19 million this year — “to reflect the reduced profit” anticipated at the WFCU Centre. He said the $676,551 draw from reserves is based on an assumption of 41 non-OHL events in 2010. [So the draw from reserves will be much higher if 41 events don't take place. How will it jump from 18 to 41 pray tell?]

    A long playoff run by the defending OHL champion Windsor Spitfires would help the bottom line. The city gets a dollar for every Spitfire ticket sold, while the city surcharge on all non-OHL events is $2 per ticket. [I wonder if the Spits winning the Memorial Cup again was factored into the revenues already. If they weren't, revenues will take a huge hit]

    Global Spectrum, which manages dozens of similar facilities across North America, gets a $90,000 annual management fee from the city and shares in any profits above the first $300,000 from events at the WFCU Centre. [The Spits do OK on their lucrative licensing arrangement with the City. They make most of it while we financed the arena. I bet they aren't suffering as much as we are.]

    Marra said he hopes Global Spectrum has got it right this time.

    “I’d rather see them underestimate than have them go through this again. The next council is going to be very reluctant to accept the same answers next year,” he said. [Three times unlucky!]

Another Meeting For The Star To Ignore

I heard that Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario's President Fred Hahn will be in Windsor tonight to address the socio/economic impact of elimination of public daycare from the landscape of Windsor & Essex County. The address will be at CAW Local 444 Union Hall, 1855 Turner Rd, Windsor 6:30 pm.

Do Not Dare Support Moroun

You too can be hammered if you do!

Finally, the Star has printed an anti-Moroun column written by Jack Lessenberry the Michigan member of Wayne State University's journalism faculty, who writes on issues and people in Michigan. It's darn well about time!

He writes a column for the Star and others and this is the first time that I recall that the Star published a border one from him. Why Dave Battagello of the Star has even been interviewed by him and appeared in a podcast with him. Obviously, Jack likes him calling him:
  • "by far the best-informed journalist covering the bridge wars."

The column is another of his blasts against Moroun so it is not all new or unexpected but why is the Star running it now?

The Lessenberry column has been publishesd in other spots as well recently from Dome Magazine "Bridge Blockers" to the Toledo Blade "One man must not stop new bridge over Detroit River" to Traverse City Record-Eagle "Border crossing control"

I tried to write a Letter to the Editor in reply but I was refused:

  • "We can't publish your submission because space for letters is reserved for local writers."

But it is the Star that at least was honest in its headline as to what the purpose of the column seems to be:

"The Cropsey factor"

Jack really went after Cropsey, the Majority Floor Leader of the Michigan Senate. Was it to get him to back off of his support of the Moroun project or at least to get his colleagues to disown him? After all, a decision on DRIC by the Michigan Legislature is quickly approaching.

Do you think Jack likes Alan. You judge from what Jack wrote in 2007:

  • "Coming a Cropper: State Sen. Alan Cropsey (R- Dewitt, west of Lansing) isn't a guy you would normally think of as a transportation expert. During his college days at that intellectual powerhouse, Bob Jones University, he studied how to teach math (fundamentalist math, naturally) to little kids.

    Nor is he on the transportation committee. But he has been fighting hard to protect the interests of Matty Moroun, the shadowy billionaire who wants monopoly control of commercial traffic across the Detroit River. Old Matt has that now, thanks to his ownership of the Ambassador Bridge...

    Wouldn't it be a good idea for some reporter at this point to carefully scrutinize who has been donating to Alan Cropsey's political campaigns?"

I guess that they have been trying for years and found nothing because the best that Lessenberry can come up with now is:

  • "Matty Moroun has been known to contribute heavily to the campaigns of politicians he wants to influence, but it isn't clear that he has been a big donor to Cropsey."

Poor Jack, he just cannot believe that anyone could possibly have an opinion that differs from his:

  • "What motivates the other enemy of a new bridge is more baffling, however.

    He is Michigan Senate Majority Leader Alan Cropsey (R-DeWitt) whose Lansing-area district is far removed from the Ambassador Bridge and the Detroit River...

    What is clear, however, is that Cropsey has been the Ambassador Bridge's strongest champion in the legislature, fighting even attempts to study the need for a new bridge, which he calls a "boondoggle."

DUH, the DRIC bridge is a boondoggle Jack and Alan opposes it. Is that so hard to understand? In case Jack does not know, boondoggle means, it's "a project that wastes time and money."

Hmmmm. Spending $60+M over 7 years to develop a solution that makes no sense when we needed decisive action on a new crossing seems to fit the definition.

Jack ought to read the book by the Danish professor Brent Flyvbjerg "Megaprojects and Risk" and especially take a look at the formula:
(Underestimated costs) + (Overestimated benefits) = (Project approval)

Jack writes all these horror stories about Michigan's economy

  • "This year promises to be a make-it-or-break-it year for Michigan. The state faces massive unemployment, probably its toughest budget deficit in history, and tougher choices about whether to raise taxes or gut higher education, revenue sharing and perhaps public schools as well."

Yet he seems unable to grasp Cropsey's concern:

  • "Over and over again, he has sought to kill funding for a new bridge, saying Michigan can't afford it and that Moroun should be allowed to "twin" his bridge."

What an effort by Jack. Impressive. However, I think that Jack has been writing too much. He deserves a break. Perhaps he needs to get refreshed and return to

  • "One of my favorite places in Washington, D.C., especially on nice, not-too-hot autumn days, is the great open-air mall between the Lincoln Memorial and the Capitol..."

You never know who might just appear and enlighten him about the border file.

More Stories

I bet you thought I could not possibly find stories like these


Obviously, Hasbro learned from our Mayor. The votes on which City will win out and be placed on the Monopoly Board game have gone "in camera."

I mean, after all, how many games would be sold with Windsor on the Board but NOT a major city like Toronto as an example.

All that effort by Edgar (aka Eddie) playing games and not looking after real City business may have gone to waste.


The voting was finished a few days ago. Did we win? Here is the latest official word as of yesterday:
  • "Hello Ed,

    Thanks for your interest in Monopoly.

    We will not be revealing the results until late June this year, just before the game is available in stores (Canada Day timeframe).

    The suspense seems to be killing everyone

    I hope this information helps."


Read the Amherstburg Echo for news that the Star does not want to report in detail since it would be about the request to defer the decision on daycare closure for a month for consultation:

  • Municipal daycare faces September closure
    Windsor city council shoots down motion to defer matter for one month
    The Amherstburg Echo

    WINDSOR-ESSEX COUNTY — Windsor city council has voted to close all the municipally-run daycares in the region, including those in Amherstburg and Tecumseh.

    Amherstburg's closure was extended from April to September but that will likely do little to appease those locally who opposed the closure. City councillor Ken Lewenza Jr. had a motion on the floor to defer the decision for a month but that motion failed...

    County council voted unanimously for the city to defer a decision on closing the daycares at a special meeting they held in Essex last Wednesday night...

    Liz Cipkar, representing the Ontario Coalition for Better Child Care, said that county parents are "very frustrated with the lack of representation in this matter" and believed children receive an excellent quality of care at municipal centres.

    Marion Overholt from Legal Assistance of Windsor noted the connection between the area's high unemployment and the declining enrollment. She was in favour of the request to the city asking to postpone a decision on the matter.

    "What is the rush?" she asked.

    Overholt asked Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis the same question Monday night and asked "what is there lose" by waiting for 30 days "and allow this community to come together."

    Tecumseh Mayor Gary McNamara admitted to feeling "a bit embarrassed" to have learned about it the way the county did. Media reports, getting tips from residents and finding out through another issue the previous week at county council were how the matter came to light to the county.

    "We need to get some answers. There's so many unanswered questions. We need a lot of questions answered," said McNamara...

    Amherstburg Mayor Wayne Hurst said it was clear the city has the authority to make the decision on the daycares, but wanted county council to send a message to the city to "step back and take a deep breath" and begin a consultation process.

    Leamington Deputy Mayor Rob Schmidt noted the county controls EMS service but consults with the city on matters relating to it and hoped the city would welcome input on daycares.

    "We should have input into this because we do help pay for part of that and it affects county residents," said Schmidt.

    Warden Nelson Santos thought the issue should be deferred until a joint city and county council meeting is held.

    "There's a whole world of information that we need to get an understanding of," said Santos.

    Warsh suggested this matter had been in the works for approximately five years and that there had been consultation over that time. She said the correspondence had gone to the county CAO Brian Gregg.

    "We did consult five-years-ago. We did talk to people and get ideas," she said. "We are under no legal obligation to consult with the county but we have done that."


  • "Mayors meet with a common goal

    DONCASTER Mayor Peter Davies has met his counterpart from Windsor, Ontario, Canada, to discuss possible commercial links between the towns.

    Trade links with Canada have been forged by the council's Invest in Doncaster team whose visit to a trade fair in Montreal in March resulted in Canadian firm Renaissance creating up to 70 new jobs by opening its European headquarters at Robin Hood Airport's business park.

    The team also made contact with the Mayor of Windsor, Eddie Francis, who has been keen to learn how Doncaster Council has supported the growth of Robin Hood Airport and how the towns can work together.

    Mr Davies said: "Windsor airport is of a very similar size and stature to our own. They also have similar ambitions in terms of increasing the number of airlines and businesses located on site. Robin Hood Airport is one of the borough's biggest assets and I am very keen to help business links around the world."

    Mayor Francis added: "A partnership between Robin Hood Airport and Windsor International Airport will serve both towns well as we strive to increase our global passenger, business and commercial operations."

However, here is what WE know.

Windsor, Ontario airport is a one-scheduled-airline City primarily with flights to Toronto, Ontario and now with a new several month per year Westjet service to Calgary. Our traffic volumes are low and our cargo business is not in very good shape. I have strong doubts that any transatlantic carrier would choose to fly here considering that world-scale Detroit Metro Airport is right next door and the drive to Toronto is about 4 hours away. In fact, the "airline" cargo business future we face is truck-based as a feeder to existing airports.

From a Windsor perspective, Robin Hood airport is not in great shape either from what I have read with traffic volumes down considerably. In fact, I note that the airport owner might want to sell its majority stake.

As a taxpayer, my suggestions to the two mayors is to spend your time on more important matters. Grand ambitions to increase airline numbers and business development sound very worthy but if they make no sense, and it does not in my opinion for Windsor at least, then look at more reasonable and practical ways to achieve economic redevelopment.

I am so tired, as is my pocketbook, for pie-in-the-sky ideas from politicians.


Didn't Edgar go to Coventry too?

  • "Business leaders from Windsor’s sister city of Coventry will visit in May on a trade mission designed to explore investment opportunities for British companies seeking access to the giant U.S. market across the river...

    “A good stepping-off point to get into the United States is Windsor. You have such a massive marketplace at your doorstep,” Doug Squires, president of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, told The Star in a phone interview today.

    Squires said Coventry’s experience was very similar to the economic pain currently being felt by Windsor. Once known as Britain’s “motor city,” he said Coventry was a manufacturing centre that experienced “a major collapse of the auto sector.”

If so, did he learn:

  • "Coventry Airport for sale
    7th May 2009

    Coventry Airport is being put up for sale by its shareholders and directors.

    Over £6million has been invested in infrastructure at the airport since the takeover from the TUI Group, including upgrading the airport ground lighting system, resurfacing part of the runway, new signage for the runway and taxiways and ongoing improvements to Air Traffic Control.

    Centrally located in the West Midlands, Coventry Airport is easily accessible with the midlands motorway network and major trunk roads close by. A local bus service links the airport with Coventry Rail station, giving a mainline service to London in just 60 minutes by train. Two million people live within a 35 minute drive of the airport and 8 million live within 60 minutes.

    Airport Director Brian Cox said “Coventry Airport offers excellent potential, giving the prospective buyer a wealth of opportunities. We look forward to reaching an agreement with a scheduled passenger carrier in the near future. Presently we are concentrating on developing the airport as a ‘Midland Hub’ for cargo, executive jets and ad hoc charter operations. We have also decided to invest in a dedicated Fixed Based Operation (FBO) facility that will be completed by the end of May 2009. The excellent rapport we have built with our neighbours, customers and clients is complemented by a flexible, professional management and ground handling team, offering a safe, secure and efficient service to all”.

    KPMG has been appointed as advisors to the sale."

Gee, that plan sounds familiar too.

And then this:

  • "Coventry Airport shuts down

    Tuesday, 8 December 2009

    Coventry Airport has closed, the Civil Aviation Authority said today.

    The CAA said the airport's owner, West Midlands Airport Ltd, had today issued a Notice to Airmen informing them of the closure.

    The owners had been due to appear in the High Court tomorrow to respond to a winding-up petition.

    The airport has not been used for scheduled passenger flights since airline Thomsonfly ceased operations in November 2008.

    Since then, Coventry has been operating as a cargo terminal and a base for executive jets and aviation-related businesses.

    The CAA said the Notice to Airmen effectively informed pilots and aircraft that the airport was no longer operational."

Oh no, could Edgar have been there for this as well as taking over Robin Hood:

  • "Talks to reopen Coventry Airport
    The council said it is committed to keeping the site as an airport

    Talks are taking place with businesses about reopening Coventry's airport.

    The city council has said it is holding discussions with two consortiums in a bid to reopen the Baginton site after it closed earlier this month.

    Administrators have said they are looking at a range of options to secure its future.

    Deputy council leader Kevin Foster said he was hopeful one of the consortiums would take over the airport as it was important for jobs in the area.

    He added the council was committed to keeping the site as an airport as it would be good for the economy."

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

BLOGEXCLUSIVE: Outsourcing Garbage Could Cost City Millions

  • "CONCLUSION--the award of the 100% option at this time will cost the taxpayer AT LEAST $1,216,196 MORE than now. Does anyone expect that Council will see this as a "good thing??"
Add in the cost of the Toronto Miller Thomson law firm whom I have heard is assisting on drafting the tender documents, another outside consultant to make sure Edgar (aka Eddie) does not have his 400 Building fiasco, and what you have is a political agenda that will cost taxpayers millions.

Except we will never hear about it unless the CUPE leadership raises it and I have my doubts that they will do so aggressively. It will be non-reported in the Star just like the Lewenza Ward meeting so it does not exist.

Oh CUPE may tell Council that they are prepared to offer a "no strike" term in their collective agreement so the public will not be inconvenienced if there is another strike but it won't protect their members' jobs one little bit against the Council hardliners who need to beat CUPE to get re-elected.

Take a look at this memo that was provided to me anonymously, prepared by City management for Senior City officials, and gasp! [I deleted the author's name publicly for obvious reasons but Administration will know who it is]. Outsourcing of garbage will cost us millions, not save us money! In fact, if the numbers are right, the loss itself in carrying costs of the millions it will cost us would almost equal the so-called savings we would be making by outsourcing! Double-click it to make it bigger

Obviously, this memo will have to be discredited now that it is public. I wonder who will be given that job?

The most ludicrous part as an example. The Tender documents I am sure will ask the winner to provide for new equipmnet. Who would buy our used garbage trucks? No one or not at a good price. We will write off a million or so as to its value according to the memo. My understanding is that most municipalities wait until their equipment needs replacing before they go to tender. Not Windsor with our Council's political agenda!

It will be fascinating to see how the final Administration Report presented to the Mayor and Council will read. It will be be fascinating as well to see if CUPE leadership brings up the money issues. What will be most fascinating is if Council will ignore all of this this because of the political advantage they would lose if they were seen to be backtracking in the face of those greedy CUPE [expletive deleted]. Can't have citizens inconvenienced after all for the next CUPE strike in a few years.

I just do not get it. Our garbage workers are just about the best in Canada and some want to outsource it. Hmmm, which company that does not rank as high on the list will get the work?

But look at all of the money that we will save is the knee-jerk response. We heard that in the daycare debate didn't we. It is a shame that Councillor Halberstadt does not say publicly at Council everything that he says after Council meetings in his BLOG that might give a different perspective on "savings:"

  • "More than that, this strategy would staunch the flow of some 80 city workers–full-time, regular part time and temporary part time – onto the street. As it is now, temps will be separated in September, while 90 regular full-time and regular part-time workers will have bumping rights with 40 hired prior to 1993 totally protected.

    HR is facing an horrendous task in placing displaced childcare workers within the corporation. This necessitates training money and knocking the city’s most junior employees out the door over the next few years. People will bump into jobs they don’t like and are not suited for, many of them lower paying. This can’t be good for efficiency.

    If alternative employment is not found for all of the CUPE 543 employees with bumping rights, the contract allows the union to prevent the city from hiring some 120 summer students this year. This is virtually a certainty, according the 543 president Jean Fox. And the city would also be blocked from hiring up to 200 unpaid student and work placement positions. This can’t be good for productivity.

    All of this comes at the cost of further damaging morale at City Hall. The delay and reassessment of closing three of the daycare centres would temper these emotion-sapping exercises.

    The collective agreements tie the downsizing process up in knots, and I anticipate that bumping language will be a huge issue in the next round of negotiations. But that won’t come until 2012.

    As for the budget issues, the seven closures will save the city $743,000 a year. That is welcome and significant going forward, but there will be little or no gain this year since the layoffs will not kick in until September.

    Monday’s decision will save the city only $266,458 in salaries and day care accessories in 2010. Virtually overlooked by the media in Monday’s resolution were big-time transitional costs:

    ** $300,000 related to the placement of two temporary full-time employee relations assistants to assist with the placement, counseling and job-search assistance of pink-slipped employees.

    ** $5,500 for six additional counseling and trauma debriefing sessions through the employee family assistance program.

    ** $70,000 to allow all displaced employees an opportunity to complete their internal Computer Proficiency Certificate in addition to a variety of Employee Development workshops.

    The cost of keeping Jefferson, Glengarry and College open is at a net city cost of $333,465 per year, less than the $375,500 for the three trauma-mitigation items listed above.

    The $375,500 will be absorbed by Old Faithful – the under-funded Budget Stabilization Reserve. There will also be “temporary” utility and maintenance costs incurred prior to the disposition of the city-owned facilities. From the 400 Building and WFCU consolidation experiences, we know how “non-temporary” that is likely to be. The Glengarry facility is locked into a 99-year lease which will have to be bought out or otherwise dealt with.

    We cannot forget the coterie of daycare non-union managers who will be absorbed within the corporation or given expensive severance packages.

    As you can see the toll of restructuring is excruciatingly high in both human and dollar costs, although there is no doubt Monday’s decision was politically shrewd."

Politically shrewd ie be re-elected is more important it seems than people and pretend savings in the end.

And that brings me back to the garbage outsourcing debate that we will have.

Take a look at that memo again. Notice the $536,00 savings that the hardliners will gloat over and which will be plastered all over the pages and columns of the Windsor Star.

That sum is described as "the most optimistic calculation and the Savings will likely be much less." That $536K could of course be reduced by another 20% bringing the amount down to $428K. That amount would be further reduced by City management costs to what amount? Zero perhaps?

Don't look so closely at the TOTAL MINIMUM ADDED COST TO THE CORPORATION OF $1.7M.

That amount could be tripled to over $5M easily.

Add in over a million dollars in fleet and equipment losses and perhaps a higher tender price than projected along with management costs to police the contract and the elimination of the garbage worker jobs could wind up costing us close to $7M.

But of course, unless you read this BLOG and see the memo, you will never know a word of this.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Pie In The Sky Hits Us In The Face

Way to go Edgar (aka Eddie) and President & CEO, Windsor International Airport, Ms Nazzani.

That's showing 'em! Now we are on the world's stage again just in time for the big news from the Monopoly announcement.

Hey now we can say
  • "Windsor Airport currently offers direct flights to Toronto, Cuba and Pelee Island --the latter two only in winter -- but the sky could soon be the limit. Add on one daily flight to Calgary from May 31 to Oct. 30 and things are really humming."

By the way, whatever happened to those Mexicana flights?

  • "Mexicana Airlines has agreed to revive its Mexico-to-Windsor charter to facilitate the quick transfer of migrant workers coming from Mexico to Essex County."

Now I am being positive and a big civic booster so lay off me!

However, one small item Edgar forgot to tell us. How much is this all costing us. Ms Nazzani at Council in one of her presentations told us that carriers need incentives. Small airports in the US often throw money at carriers to get them to have an operation at their airport. Here is something I saw about that:

Sure looks to me as if we will be paying a lot for a 3 month air service for 3 years so we can make it easier for Edgar to send our best and brightest out West to work and ultimately to move their families away from here.

No wonder the City had to pay for the $100K for the Luftahnsa study. I wonder if the airport has any money left in the bank after Westjet negotiated its deal. Now Air Canada will want to renegotiate too as will the carrier to Pelee Island.

Speaking of the airport, I have a small problem. Perhaps someone could straighten me out. I thought we wanted a cargo village here:

  • "Windsor Airport is ideally situated to cash in on the "remarkable business forces and competition" surrounding a growing demand for air cargo services, say the German consultants hired by the city.

    Essex County growers forced to truck their specialty produce across the border to reach air freight services not available locally are among the business interests likely to jump at the chance to use a local air cargo facility, the consultants say...

    With other regional airports -- notably London and Hamilton -- actively pursuing the same business, Mayor Eddie Francis said he wants Windsor to move fast on the next phase, developing an actual business plan with an outline of what facilities are required."

I wish that Edgar had told Jeff Watson about his plans. Jeff said he talked to Edgar the same day he was interviewed by John Fairley on Face-To-Face recently. They did not talk about a cargo village but about a maintenance and repair station here.

Huh, where did that idea come from? How much will it cost to build repair hangars for 747s and Airbuses? Who wants those other teeny-weeny planes for our world-class airport repair shop.

Jeff told us that we were not going to have air freighters land here as in London but it would be a truck based air freight business. That is what Lufthansa said too but that has not really been picked up now has it.

Now do you get it? Now you know WHY Edgar will agree to upgrade E C Row to the Ambassador Bridge and will flopflop on his opposition to trucks on the Expressway. Now we know why we needed to retain Lufthansa. They will do the dirty deed about talking about the need to expand the road, not Edgar. Edgar will be "forced" to go along with what the world's expert says must be done. What else can he say if we are to create jobs, jobs, jobs..

No wonder the Province through Sandra threw in $200K. They get rid of Greenlink that way.

Heck, if Edgar wanted a truck based cargo hub, he should have contacted Matty Moroun. He knows something about that business and could have helped out.

Does Edgar Need An Epidural

There is no doubt that Edgar (aka Eddie) needs major medical assistance. No not for freakingoutitis but how to negotiate labour deals with our Unions.

Heck, he needs an epidural! No, considering how many labour issues he has, a continuous epidural

I was going to suggest that fellow Council Member Ken Lewenza Jr. might teach Edgar a thing or two. He was involved in the WUC and Transit Windsor negotiations and they settled without a strike. However, knowing Edgar, he would not even consider that from a mere Councillor.

So I thought he might want to get help from a CEO, Windsor Regional Hospital CEO David Musyj. He is a pretty tough guy when it comes to labour negotiating. Remember this article he wrote in the Star on November 14:
  • "Typical with other health care institutions across the province, wages and benefits at Windsor Regional total approximately 65 per cent of its operating budget. With declining provincial revenues, pressure to address health care spending is acute.

    Of the 3,000 employees at WRH, 93 per cent are members of a bargaining unit...

    At a minimum, we need an immediate wage and benefit freeze for health care workers and/or clear language in HLDA that prohibits arbitrators from awarding wage and benefit increases greater than the funding increases provided to the health care institution from the provincial government."

That was very much like Edgar's NetZero position wasn't it that the hardliners tried to force CUPE to accept. Remember, no wage increases resulting in a 101 day strike with the Union ultimately getting increases that cost the City more than if they settled early on.

What he said was "fighting words" you would think. Subsequently we learned, to cut costs:

  • "He [Musyj] noted the hospital embarked on a zero-based budgeting exercise this year..

    Musyj said they have been gathering input from staff on operational efficiencies and have been comparing Windsor Regional's practices with other hospitals in the province of similar size.

    "We've compared program by program," said Musyj. "We benchmark ourselves to make sure we're in the top 25 per cent."

    He said when staff uncover methods to improve the process in a cost-efficient manner, they replicate the process at Windsor Regional...

    But, he said, the hospital does not want to unfairly spread the impact on the nine bargaining units at the hospital.

    "We don't want to be in a situation where we give a two per cent increase to Peter but have to lay off Paul, and cut patient services,"

Hmmm, let me money by improving operations and try to treat ALL employees fairly to minimize layoffs in one group only. That seems like a novel approach. One the City would never consider .

Then the union jumped in and things got a bit hot, especially when the Star was attacked too:

  • "It was no surprise to see The Windsor Star editorial supporting the position of Windsor Regional Hospital CEO David Musyj in his mission to freeze wages and benefits of front-line health care workers.

    Mr. Musyj has made his opinion a very clear and public matter, yet not one single letter to the editor has been printed in support of his position.

    This would strongly suggest that The Star did not receive any letters supporting Mr. Musyj's position, so they took it upon themselves to provide one.

    After all, attacking public service workers became an acceptable practice in 2009, with record unemployment rates making a community ripe to turn on each other."

Imagine, suggesting that the paper was one-sided in its approach. How shocking! What a nerve! Next thing the Unions might say is that the Star did not cover a Councillor Ward meeting that showed that our Mayor and the hardliners failed in how they negotiated in the strike. Believe it or not, some Columnists might be allowed to claim that Edgar won.

What was the result with such diametrically opposed views? What labour disturbances did they have since they are not allowed to strike...It seems none and they reached a DEAL:

  • "Windsor Regional Hospital reaches labour deal

    It was a good day for Windsor Regional Hospital and its CEO David Musyj, even though he took about 30 pies in the face.

    The hospital board on Thursday ratified a tentative deal with two of three CAW units, comprising almost 600 of its 2,700 unionized employees, in the midst of tightening provincial funding.

    The proposed one-year deal with CAW union Local 2458 — which represents housekeeping, food and nutrition workers, as well as plumbers and electricians — represents the current year, expiring March 31. CAW members must still ratify the deal next week...

    “We give the CAW credit for recognizing that we can’t go beyond the one-year, 2009 settlement because we do not yet know what our funding for 2010 will be,” board chairman Mike Ray said. “So the fact that they have taken that into consideration speaks very highly of them.”

    Normally hospital contracts last two or three years. But the two sides went for a one-year deal, which in essence took only a matter of weeks to negotiate."

Is there a reason that the Hospital could arive at a settlement within weeks but the City could not until after a 101 day strike? Is there a reason why CAW trusted Hospital managment but clearly, CUPE did not trust Edgar?

Lewenze got a deal with no strike, Musyj got one too but Edgar had a 101 day strike, had to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars with PETU, is still in negotiations with firefighters after a 3 year "interim" arbitrated award and now has to hire an outside lawyer for police negtiations.

A short stay for Edgar at Windsor Regional with CEO Musyj might just be what the doctor, and taxpayers, should order. I am sure that the last thing that Edgar needs should be labour pains.