However, this week, we have reason to believe the executive director isn’t exactly being up front about the comings and goings at Elgin St. Thomas Public Health.
To refresh, this corner passed along details of a media release sent our way explaining the background to the 2010 budget and the resultant staff reduction of 3.45 full-time employees.
Let’s just clarify things a tad.
Seems the four employees originally discussed in City Scope are a separate issue from the above employees, who were laid off in the past couple of weeks.
A topic of discussion yet to be dealt with by St. John.
Of those four employees, indeed, two were only a couple of years shy of retirement as alluded to here.
Now, it appears the organization is beginning to re-hire for the terminated dental positions, including a new dental hygienist.
So, what gives?
And why is the part-time dental consultant still on board?
If things have gone off the tracks in that department, shouldn’t this individual (supposedly with all the technical smarts) be held accountable?
This would tend to add credence to the suspicion, harboured here, that this organization has become top-heavy in the administrative end — a trait mirrored in other public sector bodies.
I mean, what exactly is a special projects manager and how does this individual contribute to improving the day-to-day operations at Elgin St. Thomas Public Health?
Not to mention the delivery of services by front-line staff.
And, where is the corresponding increase in that staff — the real face of the public organization. Remember, when it comes time to live with the budget, it’s the front-line staff who bear the burden.
We can only surmise morale has plummeted, while employee grievances are on the elevator up.
We would like to elaborate further on that point, however OPSEU and CUPE spokespeople appear reluctant to pick up the phone.
In the meantime, St. John appeared before Elgin county council on Tuesday, where she challenged us on the accuracy of reporting her $25,000 increase in salary in 2009.
Some of that was due to overtime associated with the H1N1 pandemic, she asserted.
The pandemic that failed to materialize, we could argue.
In any event, as a salaried manager, why is St. John reaping overtime benefits for the swine flu non-event?
How many other managers were rewarded in such fashion?
We understand St. John is diligently working on her Master’s Degree. We can only trust the copious amount of time spent on this endeavour does not interfere with her managerial duties at Elgin St. Thomas Public Health.
PIE IN THE SKY
It’s patently clear mayoral candidate Mark Cosens hasn’t included a new police headquarters as a plank in his election platform.
Why else would he peg the cost of a new home for city police at $30 million, other than to discredit efforts of the police headquarters building committee?
You have to ask from what part of the stratosphere did Cosens pull this figure.
If he had bothered to read the April 1 edition of the Times-Journal, he would have better educated himself on matters affecting the corporation.
In that story, T-J reporter Kyle Rea outlined, in detail, the funding options available to the city in order to cover the estimated $15 million cost of the new facility.
That’s right … $15 million.
The higher figure being bandied about is nothing short of fear-mongering.
Which has this corner wondering, are the Joe Preston and Steve Peters’ camps so desperate to dump Mayor Cliff Barwick in October they are willing to support distribution of such misinformation?
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“From my knowledge of the industry for 26 years, that’s a practice we’ve done and I know most other municipalities do the same thing. Just keep quiet.”
Ross Tucker, parks and recreation manager, on his policy, to date, which calls for the city to avoid filing reports of vandalism to city police in an effort to keep such news out of the Times-Journal and avoid copy-cat incidents.
City Scope appears every Saturday in the Times-Journal. Questions and comments may be e-mailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org.