Any misinformation in CEO debate was self-inflicted


The hospital refers to it as a media release. Instead, Wednesday’s announcement of a new employment agreement with CEO Paul Collins is instead a feeble attempt at damage control.

The five-year pact has proven to be a poorly kept secret and follows on the heels of the hospital board’s nose-thumbing in the direction of municipal councils in St. Thomas and Elgin.

Let’s put the hospital release under the microscope.

“The board of governors approved a new, final agreement for current CEO Paul Collins.”

The key here is “final” in the hope this will deflect criticism from chairman Bruce Babcock and his board, who have taken heat for not beginning the process of finding a replacement for Collins after his retire/rehire shuffle last June.

Instead, Babcock fans the flames higher.

“. . . this employment agreement is a matter for the board to decide,” he is quoted in the release

So, thanks for your input St. Thomas and Elgin and we’ll drop by shortly to arrange for your contribution to the redevelopment fund.

Further in the release, Babcock speaks to debate in the community about rehiring Collins.

“Unfortunately the debate is fuelled by misunderstanding and misinformation.”

Uh Bruce, any misunderstanding and misinformation has been self-inflicted.

Why was no release issued last June when the original deal with Collins was inked and kept well away from the media and your own hospital staff?

“Paul has brought so much success to this hospital,” gushes Babcock.

You’re telling us that success wasn’t apparent last June and so didn’t warrant a media release to trumpet Collins’ retirement and your board’s sterling effort to re-sign him?

Perhaps the most outrageous statement in the entire release (and a crowning example of the arrogance that pervades the hospital boardroom) is the following:

“We could not have achieved the redevelopment project approval without him,” touts Babcock.

And so outgoing MPP Steve Peters gets no credit whatsoever for his role in steering the hospital redevelopment project one step closer to fruition?

Let’s face facts, Messrs. Babcock and Collins. If there hadn’t been a provincial vote on Oct. 6, the hospital project wouldn’t even be on the provincial radar today.

Unfortunately, in spite of assertions otherwise, St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital did become a political football and the Liberal and PC candidate should be taken to task for that.


Can you believe the antics of aldermen Mark Cosens and Tom Johnston at Monday’s council meeting?

They’re entrusted to guide a $100-million corporation through turbulent times and instead more resemble a pair of petulant kids wrangling in the sandbox.

“I want to play with Johnny,” bawls one. “Nah, nah, I’m not going to let you,” taunts the other.


Equally at fault is Mayor Heather Jackson-Chapman for not calling both out of order and putting an end to this nonsense long before it reached the painful 30-minute mark.

Leadership was a popular buzzword during the 2010 municipal campaign. That should be amended to mature leadership.


Nice to see Ald. Lori Baldwin-Sands take a moment Monday to stand up and announce her return to the council chamber after her leave of absence to run her provincial campaign.

And, to thank council for taking care of business over the past month while offering a shout out to the residents of St. Thomas and Elgin who cast their vote for her on Oct. 6.

A nice touch.


Ahh, fall — a glorious three pages in the calendar.

Sure there’s the crispness in the air — a blessed relief from the brow-drenching humidity of summer.

Then there’s the colours and nostril-tingling aroma of falling leaves.

It’s a time of tradition, with the World Series and Grey Cup.

And, our very own local custom — the mayor’s ceremonial jaunt to Japan.

We understand Mayor Jackson-Chapman will wing her way over with Bob Wheeler, general manager of St. Thomas Economic Development Corp., early next month.

Funny, don’t recall her announcing to council and ratepayers the continuation of this quaint tradition.

Nor did we realize she was a fan of crawdad fishing. Isn’t that one of the reasons given for former mayor Cliff Barwick’s trip?

While absent from city, Jackson-Chapman has installed Ald. Jeff Kohler as acting mayor.

Shouldn’t that task have fallen to Ald. Baldwin-Sands, the top vote-getter on council in the last municipal vote?


“They (environmental services) delved further into that situation than one paragraph. We got the Coles Notes; I want to see the whole novel and I’m told it’s there. It’s ready for me to look at.”

Ald. Mark Cosens at the height of his protracted verbal tussle with Ald. Tom Johnston as the two squared off Monday over access to staff at city hall.

City Scope appears Saturday in the Times-Journal. Questions and comments may be emailed to:

One thought on “Any misinformation in CEO debate was self-inflicted


    Don’t know if you actually watched the meeting but what I observed was Ald. Cosens staying on point in calm, controlled manner while Ald. Johnston appeared to become unglued by raising his voice, interrupting and refusing to deal with the point in question.
    As for leadership;
    City CAO Wendell Graves sat like a bump on a log as failed commitments by his staff and access to his staff dominated this portion of the meeting. It was his silence and absence of any kind of leadership that surprised me the most.


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