The folks up in London have the Joe Fontana fiasco to live with while we are saddled with the Tom Johnston tango – a two-step marrying entitlement with denial.
To recap, Johnston received compensation as St. Thomas Energy/Ascent board chairman in the form of Detroit Red Wing season tickets over a three-year period, in clear violation of a city policy prohibiting such remuneration.
Johnston has neither fessed up in public to the under-the-table palm greasing nor has he offered to pay back the value of the hockey ducats.
All of which prompted a scathing letter to the editor from reader Bill Sandison which questions the role of mayor and council in all of this.
“Any reasonable mayor might have asked the RCMP to investigate, but instead Mayor Heather Jackson takes comfort that ‘It’s stopped and it absolutely will not happen again . . . Now you need to repay this, you need to make amends and admit you made a mistake.’”
No, even more frustrating is the fact Johnston continues to sit in council chamber passing judgment on city business, bylaws, reports and the like when he has thumbed his nose at council protocol as if he were immune.
Johnston has lost the respect of his peers and ratepayers and so you wonder what earns him the right to vote on these matters.
EVERY REASON TO BE PROUD
While this corner has cut the administrative side of St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital little slack of late, it is appropriate at this time to let president and CEO Paul Collins take a bow for the recognition awarded the facility this week for its efforts in trimming ER wait times.
It’s a bit of a complex measure and so it makes sense to let Paul run through the process and that’s exactly what we did on Friday.
The ER waiting time target established by the South West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) and the ministry of health is eight hours. Now remember this is the time from when you arrive at the hospital until you are admitted and does not apply to situations where individuals are treated in emergency and released.
“The LHIN right now is trending for all of the hospitals at about 24 hours (waiting time) and ours is what you see (eight hours) which puts us in the number 1 position for the province. We had set our target with the LHIN at eight but our internal target is seven hours. Over time we would like to reach that target.”
If you’ve ever had to rely on ER services in London, the wait time can exceed that 24-hour target which is difficult to imagine.
There are a number of different wait times, as Paul explains.
“This wait time is for the patient who ultimately gets admitted and 90% of our admissions come through emerg. This would be the time from when they are triaged to when they are up on a floor in a bed.”
There are instances elsewhere, Paul advised, where patients could spend a day or even two on a stretcher in emergency waiting for a bed.
“There are quality concerns, there are safety concerns which is why that (the eight-hour target) became a focus for insuring anyone who was admitted that they are up (on a floor) in that amount of time.”
You can see why Paul and his staff are beaming at achieving, and ultimately aim to improve on, their target.
Paul went on to explain a feature introduced in to the ER known as the RAZ or rapid assessment zone and we’ll continue that conversation next week in this corner.
GET THE BALL ROLLING
Love the letter Bob Hagerty has sent to city council requesting formation of a committee to pursue the construction of an outdoor road hockey rink in the city.
It’s the great Canadian pastime and a similar rink was recently built not that far off in Delaware.
It would be a great draw for rink rats, young and old. However, that doesn’t absolve the city from its commitment to skateboarders.
PARK IT RIGHT HERE
Much of city council’s time Monday will be spent with a report from Brian Clement, director of engineering, dealing with the parking strategy for the St. Thomas consolidated courthouse project.
It summarizes input gathered at a public meeting held June 27 which generated 71 individual comment sheets.
A key recommendation is that parking on the west side of William Street, between Centre and Stanley streets be restricted.
Courthouse parking is a contentious issue and this latest council meeting will surely generate additional questions.
If you live in the area, mark this date on your calendar: Thursday, Nov. 29 at 7 p.m.
That’s the next public meeting to be held in the auditorium at Memorial arena, at which time the city will present the revised parking strategy and the session will include a question/answer period.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“It would be nice to have a mayor in St. Thomas who acted decisively and led, rather than one who relies on the “4 Ds” of failed leadership: denial (I don’t know), deflection (it’s someone at Ascent), delay (we’ll have a meeting) and defeat (nothing can be done).”
Reader Bill Sandison in a letter to the editor printed Wednesday on compensation received by Ald. Tom Johnston as board chairman of St. Thomas Energy/Ascent.
City Scope appears Saturday in the Times-Journal. Questions and comments may be emailed to email@example.com.Follow @ianscityscope
SOMETHING CAN & SHOULD BE DONE
To the mayor who thinks nothing can be done, the following short term actions strike me as obvious:
1. Have the appropriate authority (e.g. RCMP) conduct a criminal investigation
2. Until such time as that criminal investigation is complete;
– Remove Alderman Tom Johnston from participating in all committees and boards
– Suspend Alderman Tom Johnston’s voting rights
– Remove Alderman Tom Johnston from the shareholders of Ascent
3. Request a municipal audit of the financial affairs of the city under the Municipal Affairs Act, Part II General; Section 9. (1)
YES, YES, YES – I’d vote for you.
Suspend without pay!!!!!