For the sake of employees, health unit board of directors should deal in facts


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Forget the showmanship by the trio of Elgin St. Thomas Public Health board members that dominated Monday’s council meeting.

Instead, let’s cut to the chase and deal with facts.

The health unit was the subject of a visit by the Ministry of Labour on Oct. 18, 2010 to investigate a complaint regarding harassment at 99 Edward St.

The Industrial Health and Safety Program officer in charge of dealing with the situation is Beth Nethercott, based out of London.

The health unit has policies on incident reporting, a civil and respectful workplace, complaint resolution, workplace harassment and workplace violence prevention. The incident report policy hasn’t been reviewed since July1, 2003.

An order has been issued to review, revise, clarify and streamline the process for reporting and investigating a complaint of harassment and the health unit must comply by Nov. 19.

In addition, health unit management was reminded under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, “it cannot dismiss or threaten to dismiss a worker; discipline or suspend or threaten to discipline or suspend a worker; impose any penalty upon a worker; or intimidate or coerce a worker, because the worker has acted in compliance with this Act or the regulations or an order made there under . . . ”

Those are facts.

It is frustrating some members of the board of directors have chosen to suggest everything is just hunky-dory at 99 Edward St., and complaints of harassment and a toxic workplace environment are just gossip . . . mere fodder for this corner.

A new board of directors will shortly be installed, perhaps those members will deal in facts.

See also,
curbing debate

MENDING FENCES

With the final sit down Monday for this edition of St. Thomas council, in-coming mayor Heather Jackson-Chapman can begin the messy task of clean-up after Messrs. Barwick, Johnston, Aarts and Campbell last week trashed whatever remained of the tenuous city/county partnership.

Jackson-Chapman is concerned irreparable damage was done during the well-orchestrated outburst over the state of affairs at Elgin St. Thomas Public Health.

In a conversation with City Scope, the soon-to-be mayor remarked all the foursome did was make the relationship worse with their grandstanding.

“As far as I’m concerned, that didn’t need to be done. With our neighbours and partners, we’re going to have to do a lot of fence-mending to get past this and put things in the right direction.

The city and county need to be working together, she stressed, in light of the economic doldrums in which we remain mired.

“We’re never going to get out of this mess we’re in economically if we don’t work co-operatively.”

With two of the protagonists exiting the scene Monday, perhaps the incoming council can quickly agree a spirit of co-operation should be priority number 1.

CRYSTAL BALL GAZING

This corner normally leaves the new year prognostications until the end of December, however with Tuesday’s announcement by MPP Steve Peters he will step out of the political spotlight next fall, we just can’t resist speculating as to who the local players will be in the October, 2011 provincial vote.

In this corner, resplendent in Tory blue, is none other than Jeff Kohler. He began his political comeback by winning an aldermanic seat in the Oct. 25 municipal election, and now that Peters is about to ease his grip on Elgin-Middlesex-London riding, Kohler is eager to win promotion to the Ontario Legislature where he can join uncle Frank Klees.

To our left, wearing the red trunks, is newcomer Mark Cosens, who has yet to officially assume his place in council chambers and no doubt will seize the opportunity to fast-track his way to Toronto, with expert coaching from mentor Peters.

You can bet one thing, when the glow of Christmas lights fades, the battle for EML supremacy will quickly heat up with the Tories parachuting in money and personnel in an attempt to wrest the riding away from the Grits.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“My focus has been to serve people and put people first . . . I can rhyme off all kinds of buildings and investments that have been made, but for me, I hope my legacy is people recognize I was truly committed to public service.”

Elgin-Middlesex-London MPP Steve Peters announced this week he will not seek re-election next fall when Ontario goes to the polls.

City Scope appears every Saturday in the Times-Journal. Questions and comments may be e-mailed to: mccallum@stthomastimesjournal.com.

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