"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Tuesday 19 May 2015


It's  cool out this morning .Looks like rain. I finally got around to reading the budget news story a second time. Particulary for an indication staff followed Council direction and provided information on  disposition of the 2014 budget for staff training. Didn't find it. 

I found information the budget was underspent by $48,000 or $50,000. Both figures were referenced in the story.,

2015 proposed budget was $196,000. 

Councilor Mrakas proposed a cut of $100,000. 

Staff opposed it.  Training has great advantage this way and that was the argument. 

Chief Financial Officer cited serious impediments to documenting  how the 2014 budget was spent. 
Despite purchase of $ 440,000. software for work and asset management in 2011 for exactly the purpose . Last time  that  swoon doggle was mentioned it was not yet up and running. Bits and Pieces of hardware were still being added to make it functional. 

The Mayor and Councillor Thom voted against requiring the documentation. The Mayor being critical  of Council's effort to  "micromanage " the business.  

Debate on the issue was interesting if not completely logical. 

Councillor Thompson was reluctant to support the $100,000 cut because of not knowing what the impact would be. Despite the Councillor's initial support for precise direction to staff to provide figures that would inform Council of the impact. 

Councillor Abel professed clear understanding of the point "the new council " wished to make and 
"If they want clarity I am not going to stand in the way of that or their direction" Councillor Abel has clearly in his mind divided the Council between old and new. 

Councillor. Thom , a new Councillor, declared those pushing for the cuts should be able to "make the case" to the rest of Council. He acknowledged his lack of understanding "for the cut  other than it is a nice round figure"

In the news story, Councillor Kim rounded out the debate ;

"Given the lack of information (on training ) thus far;$100,000. Being a nice found figure is good enough reason for me." He said. "I don't totally agree that those who want to cut the budget  further by $50,000 that that party has the burden of proof to provide that evidence.It should just as likely be the 
other side who wants to maintain or increase to have that burden of proof as well"

In the end ,if one is to track the comments in support of the $100,000 cut ,it  seems a majority of five  spoke in favour. 

Yet  the  story reads the  tax increase is based on a cut of  $50,000 not $100,000.

Go figure.

The town's web site doesn't help.


Anonymous said...

Both sides have to make their case. It is too late for this year but I can see ripples that I rather like for the future. Fingers and eyes firmly crossed.

Anonymous said...

Possibly as an alternative to "staff training" we should have a provision for "councillor training."

It would be better to have a trained council directing staff than an ignorant staff directing council.

Or whatever?

Anonymous said...

I think Cllr Abel was planning to 'lead' the new councillors. It is not working out that way imo.

Anonymous said...

He can be a bully and bullies dont lead people.They usually drag them agaist their will.

Anonymous said...

It's been 6 months and councillor Thom has been the most predictable. He very young. Green in politics and in life. You can see that in the budget meetings.

Anonymous said...

You should have seen Margaret Wente's column in yesterday's Globe and Mail.

It was headed: "Why firefighters are underworked and overpaid"

"It's good to be a firefighter, especially if you live in a small town. You're one of the best-paid guys around.You get lots of time off to go fishing or hunting or run your own business on the side. And your union always gets its way..

There's just one problem. The people you work for can't afford you anymore.

"We're spending 25 per cent of our operating budget on firefighters," Ted Luciani, the mayor of Thorold, Not., told me the other day. "It's not sustainable. We've hit the wall"

An arbitrator recently awarded them a retroactive 9.2 per cent that bumped there pay to $92,119,

Firefighting is increasingly a lucrative part-time job. Starting next year Thorold's firefighters will switch to 24-hour shifts, which means they'll work approximately seven shifts ever 28 days. The advantages of this arrangement are obvious. Mr. Luciani is not happy about this change. He figures that overtime and sick-pay costs will increase. Besides, he fumes, "We'll be paying them to sleep on the job.

Thanks to better building materials and stiffer fire safety regulations, the number of fires across Canada has plunged. In big cities, only a smaller number of the calls to the fire service are for actual fires. (In Toronto, only 9.9 per cent of calls to the fire service in 2013 were about fires; in Calgary it was just 3.4 per cent.)"

The cost of our own fire services jointly with Newmarket initially took a huge belly flop and splattered alarm across the two towns.

Soon we will be calling upon the fire department when we want to flush the toilet or take a shower.

Anonymous said...

I'd say that the new councillors are all smarter than him. Granted, that's not a very high bar.

Anonymous said...

I don't think they are going his way.

Anonymous said...

We'll see how they do when some nasty local squabble emerges from a committee. Like having a bus in your driveway or Mr.K's trees.

Anonymous said...

What about the Fire Services budget?

Earn while you sleep. Something is dreadfully out of whack here.

Anonymous said...

Until Cllr Pirri's voters tell him otherwise, he is going to support staff. I did not vote for him so can not give him a call, Others have to do it.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. Like Pirri was but the other 2 new ones might be helpful keeping off those who would use him.

Anonymous said...

Pirri has had 4 yrs to mature. Hasn't happened yet.