And the new direction at STEGH is . . .?


Here’s your hat, there’s the door. That’s much the fashion in which Allan Weatherall was bounced from his position Wednesday as hospital foundation executive director.
The announcement from foundation board president Susan O’Brien couldn’t have been more terse.
“The board is seeking leadership that will fit with the future direction of the foundation.”
When O’Brien and CEO Paul Collins were asked specifically what this new direction is, both were vague at best.
“The foundation board still anticipates a major capital campaign,” advised Collins. “This is all connected to the re-scoped exercise that we are working on with the Ministry of Health and we’re hoping that we have that project.”

Allan Weatherall

Sounds like plenty of doubt and no clear direction on the campaign compass.
Do you think the beginning of the end for Weatherall was his personal email to Ald. Sam Yusuf back in April in which the executive director expressed disappointment the city had no plans to put aside hospital redevelopment funds in its Part 2 capital budget?

“That is not forward thinking at all as the hospital will in some form, in some way, need rebuilding,” his email noted.
“So why does the city not set some money aside to be ready for a time when it will be required? That is true community leadership and forward thinking, being proactive and not reactive.”
Yusuf, in turn, forwarded the email to his colleagues on council and the poop hit the already overheated fan.
Caught off guard, Weatherall told the Times-Journal at the time: “I was truly just trying to be helpful and my idea was certainly not to have been taken as criticism in any way or in any form. People know that is not me or my style. I want council to know that I am behind in full support, not against them.”
Not exactly a sterling example of the leadership O’Brien is seeking.

It’s been a tough few weeks for Ald. Tom Johnston.
From board chairman to out the door at Ascent, formerly St. Thomas Holdings Inc.
We have learned Johnston resigned from the board this week after recently stepping down as chairman.
The question that needs answering: How much pressure was exerted by the board on Johnston?
He had served on the board for close to eight years, why the sudden fall from grace in such a short period of time?

Two weeks ago we wrote of who will represent the city on the St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital board of governors.
Inflaming the situation was a letter sent to Mayor Heather Jackson two days after the hospital board’s AGM in which CEO Collins pointed out the city’s nominee for appointment “will be subject to Board interview and an assessment against the Board’s skills based matrix prior to acceptance to the board.”
Sounds all very buttoned down and an example of tried-and-true corporate efficiency.
That is until you actually hold a copy of this matrix in your hand.
Let’s see, potential board members are asked to rate themselves on a scale of 0 to 3 on their knowledge, skills and experience in a variety of categories, with 3 being advanced and 0 means no knowledge.
These categories include labour relations, construction and project management, political acumen, public affairs and communications, quality and performance management, and human resource management, among others.
Throw in attendance and we can see why the board nixed Yusuf’s appointment at its AGM.
Wouldn’t you love to see how the hospital CEO scored on the matrix and do you get to mark your own?
Put me down for a 3 in the transparency and contract negotiating categories.

Still with Johnston, what’s with his performance last Monday at city hall.
He waxed poetic about the Timken Centre, calling it a great venue for concerts and gushed praise on Ald. Jeff Kohler.
The change in direction is enough give you a severe case of whiplash.
The two fought each other in bitter battles for years on locating the city’s new twin-pad arena on Wellington Street. Johnston continually lobbied for a venue in the city’s south end on Sauve Avenue.
And who can forget the protracted stand-off over city credit cards? Johnston led the charge to dump the corporate cards, infuriating Kohler in the process.
Now, Johnston appears to have gone over to the other side.
Politics, indeed, makes for strange bedfellows.
Where will that leave Ald. Johnston when the time comes to vote on a proposed new police headquarters?

“When we developed the idea of an off-lease dog park, we agreed to a nice natural area, however what has developed is a crying shame and makes St. Thomas’s dog park a joke in other communities.”
The dog days of summer came early this year as Joe Spencer, president of St. Thomas Dog Owners Association, and the city square off over the state of the Lions Club Dog Park. Some areas are so overgrown, owners run the risk of losing small dogs in the vegetation.

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

One thought on “And the new direction at STEGH is . . .?

    “St. Thomas’s dog park a joke in other communities” opines Joe Spencer, president of St. Thomas Dog Owners Association.
    This is a microcosm of all that ails this burg. Everywhere you look it’s a joke.
    – (mis)management of the energy albatross that drains the financial lifeblood out of St. Thomas
    – lack of recreational programs and facilities for children
    – deplorable conditions for the physically challenged
    – disintegration of roads and sewers
    – how about purchasing land for a police station that is not going to built
    – almost non-existent by-law enforcement
    The list is seemingly endless.
    Just recently the mayor got all giddy about a 1,000 free hotdogs after kicking a million dollars in the teeth. She didn’t want any more negativity; days later Timken announced it is also closing – guess they didn’t get the mayor’s message. In a town where doing things half-assed is considered exceptional, is it any wonder that St. Thomas continues in a downward spiral.

    Is this the same alderman who was charged with assault and harassment of this wife? If it is, then house has been sold to go along with your musing, “… would this have something to do with the recently shuttered Talbot Rental business?” To a passerby looks likes somebody is liquidating their assets.

    Necessity delivers us from the embarrassment of choice ~ Luc de Clapiers


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