Oh, that’s the way we’ve always done things


It’s no longer business as usual at city hall, asserts Ald. Gord Campbell.
“Or, this is the way we’ve always done it,” continues the chairman of the city’s personnel and labour relations committee.
“We’re taking a look at everything – the departments, departmental structure and not just to save money, but to make things more efficient and to improve the system.”
City Scope contacted Ald. Campbell after learning deputy clerk Rick Beachey had been laid off earlier this week.
The re-structuring is the brainchild of CAO Wendell Graves, whom Campbell praised for the initiative.
The purpose of the exercise is not to get rid of people, Campbell stressed.
“The purpose of the exercise is simply to make things more efficient. And to look at everything. I don’t know how many outside contracts we have, and you say something to someone and they say: ‘Oh, that’s the way we’ve always done that.’ Well wait a minute, things have changed over the last 20 years.”

Is their a better way of conducting business at city hall, questions Campbell.
“That’s what we’re doing here. It’s something we inherited long ago and we’ve never questioned things.
“This was always really a Wendell Graves initiative. He promised us he was going to do some things and he’s accomplished several of them. And one of the things he was going to look at was our structure and that’s what we’re doing now. We’re going to look at every department. This is just the beginning.”
This is not a witch hunt, Campbell assured.
“We’re trying to do things better. If there are some cost efficiencies in it, that’s great.

A tough week over on Elm Street as hospital staff and administration are left in the lurch as to the status of their $100 million redevelopment plans following delivery Tuesday of the provincial budget.
The question on everyone’s mind: What exactly is rescoping?
According to health minister Deb Matthews, the project is neither cancelled nor delayed.
“We are taking a second look at the project,” Matthews told the T-J.
“We are in very difficult times,” she reminded. “It was a tough budget. We had to make difficult decisions and we think that’s our responsibility as government, to make sure that our decisions reflect both the need and the fiscal reality.”
Isn’t it marvelous this fiscal reality was was not on the radar of the McGuinty government last September when Matthews was in St. Thomas to announce the project, just three weeks in advance of the October election.
My, how quickly the state of the fiscal landscape can catch a government off guard.
The political about-face is not lost on MPP Jeff Yurek.
“Ontario’s fiscal reality is nothing new. It was clear back in September that Ontario faced a $16 billion deficit,” stressed Yurek, “if the minister knew she couldn’t follow through on the investment, why would she make this promise?”
Yurek continued: “Worst of all, the Liberals needed to lie to us about the state of affairs in order to get elected. It’s time the government take some responsibility and be honest with the public.”
Responsibility and honesty . . . the perfect segue into the second contributor to a miserable week at STEGH.
A televised expose on Monday documented the shocking state of housekeeping at the hospital. T-J reporter Nick Lypaczewski has more on this today as our Page 1 story.
Or, as one faithful reader observed, based on her personal experience: “I never did see a cleaning staff the three days I was in, but I did see excellent nurses run off their feet. My nursing care was superb.”
There’s no abdication of responsibility on this one. The buck stops squarely at the office marked CEO.

Pictured at right is Ald. Campbell with a Shamrock Shuffle T-shirt given to those who participated in the Inn Out of the Cold walk/run fundraiser.

Look carefully and you’ll see his name, on the same line as that of Bob McCaig, at bottom left.
If you recall, the two were embroiled in a dust-up in this corner earlier this year after McCaig implied the good alderman was an underachiever.
Campbell notes the T-shirt is proof underachievers, like himself, can reside next to overachievers, like McCaig.

“We’re going to make sure that the projects are aligned with the components of our action plan that talk about delivering procedures outside of hospitals if they don’t need to be performed inside the hospital.”
Mind-spinning bafflegab from health minister Deb Matthews on the rationale behind rescoping redevelopment plans at St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital.

City Scope appears every Saturday in the Times-Journal. Questions and comments may be emailed to ian.mccallum@sunmedia.ca.

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