Base salary root cause of significant numbers in Sunshine Club – St. Thomas police chief


When 41% of municipal employees appearing on the so-called Sunshine List are members of one branch or service, it’s a surefire way to draw the attention – and the ire – of ratepayers who are on the hook.
That was the case in 2016 when 46 of the 113 municipal employees who earned in excess of $100,000 in 2016 were members of the St. Thomas Police Service. That’s a healthy bump up from 31 in 2015.
But every picture tells a story and it wasn’t a healthy amount of overtime or so-called duty pay that pushed those individuals over the $100,000 bar, stressed St. Thomas Police Chief Darryl Pinnell, it is the reality base salaries for first-class constables are already hovering around that benchmark.

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Move to new home tantalizingly close for St. Thomas Police Service


After numerous studies and consulting reports, dithering over decisions and often rancorous debate, the St. Thomas Police Service is just weeks away from moving into their new digs adjacent to the Timken Centre.
At a reference committee meeting Monday afternoon, Chief Darryl Pinnell apprised city council on the status of the new headquarters on CASO Crossing, with a likely move-in date in April or May.

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Time to come clean: are water bill payments keeping Ascent afloat?


city_scope_logo-cmykA troubling state of affairs when your water bill payment appears to be the only thing keeping Ascent/St. Thomas Energy afloat.

Of much greater concern is the lack of transparency at city hall and the lack of due diligence on the part of city council.

Let’s start in the finance department where we appear to caught director of finance David Aristone in an awkward moment.

Exactly one year ago, when council dealt with the 2014 consolidated financial statements, that document revealed Ascent Group – 100 per cent owners of St. Thomas Energy – rang up an operating loss of $6.8 million. That compared with a $1.4 million profit in 2013. Continue reading

Proof we can put aside our differences


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Never has the Canadian flag looked so resplendent as it did on this brilliant late-autumn afternoon. Dozens upon dozens of them flapping vigorously in the stiff breeze, reaching out to welcome home for the final time John Gallagher, killed Nov. 4 while volunteering with Kurdish forces to fight against ISIS in Syria.
Several hundred people stood along the Col. Talbot Road

SAMSUNG

St. Thomas firefighters

overpass Friday — some for hours — patiently waiting to pay tribute to the former Wheatley resident.
Dozens and dozens of young people, several St. Thomas air cadets and numerous vets, individuals in wheel chairs and seniors gingerly hiking up the embankment to pay their respects, accompanied by a large contingent of city fire, police and EMS personnel.
All of them standing resolutely together to thank this young man — indeed all Canadians who have served and fallen — and in the process remind us we can put aside our differences and be proud of who we are.

On a day to remember, someone frankly forgot


city_scope_logo-cmyk If you ever feared the love and respect we lavish on our veterans has diminished to any extent, an unfortunate incident Wednesday at city hall should allay any fears the true meaning of Remembrance Day has faded over time.
Prior to the ceremony of remembrance at the Great War Memorial in front of the hospital, the Times-Journal was alerted to the fact flags flying at city hall were not at half-mast, marking the first time ever this tradition has failed to be observed.
When a photo of the flags was posted to our Facebook page, all hell broke loose.
Was this a new direction at city hall or simply an oversight on the part of administration or staff?
“I’m disappointed with the council,” posted Christopher-Raymond Trottier. Continue reading

A return to core business or fire sale at Ascent?


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Couldn’t help but notice this week the Ascent office/workshop on Harper Rd. was not only for sale, but now had a ‘sold’ sign out front.
Seems odd in that the media were invited out to that same location earlier this year to get a first-hand look at the projects undertaken at the former ECM Controls, purchased by St. Thomas Energy in November, 2010.
At that time, ECM Controls employed 10 people who designed and built industrial controls. As shareholder and owner of St. Thomas Holding (the parent company), city council unanimously green-lighted the move, asking no questions nor providing comment on the move.
So what happened in the intervening five years? Continue reading

Another case of demolition by neglect


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The frustration was clearly evident in the voice of Pauline Wimbush. “It’s like having a child or a pet that you are neglecting.”

Friday was her “day in court,” so to speak, when she was invited to city hall to present her concerns about living next door to a derelict house at 46 Kains St. — whose owner continues to pay property taxes but resides in Holland.

In attendance were CAO Wendell Graves, chief building inspector Chris Peck, bylaw enforcement officer Rob McDonald and St. Thomas Fire Chief Rob Broadbent.

All sympathized with Wimbush but were in agreement there is no quick fix.

To the chagrin of Wimbush who, due to increasing difficulty navigating stairs in her large home, is anxious to sell and move to a single-storey residence.
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