Mergers are all about creating efficiencies, so who will be left at the alter in health unit marriage?


city_scope_logo-cmykFriday’s announcement of the proposed merger of Elgin St. Thomas Public Health and Oxford County Public Health – which aligns with the province’s call for fewer health units with autonomous boards – is, no doubt, intended to create efficiencies.
Such is the desired effect of any merger, no matter the business sector.
To quote the media release, the two health units “began exploring a potential merger as a way of working towards a strong, unified rural voice for public health in Ontario.”
To further quote from the release, “The intent to merge was formalized through a letter of intent signed by Oxford County Warden David Mayberry on November 8 and Elgin St. Thomas Board of Health Chair Bernie Wiehle on November 9. The letter of intent commits both organizations to a review of each other’s finances, operations and assets; to equally sharing any costs associated with the merger; and to pursuing the necessary statutory and regulatory change at the provincial level before the merger becomes official.” Continue reading

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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.

Joan Rymal responds to March 28-15 City Scope


It is unfortunate that Earl got the impression that the message was “nasty” but that was not my intent. I had sent my email to request further information, as I am concerned about the downtown area and want to gather as much information as possible to make sure I have all the facts before making any decisions.

Joan Rymal.

Joan Rymal.


I am concerned about the amount of time that the DDB is focusing on waste management with the many issues that are facing our downtown core.

I had requested a meeting last week with the Mayor regarding this issue and there is a meeting scheduled for Tuesday, March 31 with the Waste Management committee.

I am also concerned about costs as the City does provide a second garbage pick up to the Talbot area between Stanley and Balaclava. This is in an effort to assist with the waste management of this area and is at no additional cost to the DDB. I wanted more information from the DDB, as I am wondering if further education needs to be done for the storeowners and tenants in this area.

I want to ensure our downtown streetscape is welcoming for all.

Thanks,
Joan

She is energized and ready for business


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In her inaugural address to the new council Monday, Mayor Heather Jackson sent a clear message she is ready to embrace change at city hall.

A priority is the implementation of a communication plan, which would include a communication officer working out of the clerk’s department. Speaking to the Times-Journal, Jackson stressed this would not be a new hire.

“It’s certainly not a new position,” advised Jackson. “Wendell (CAO Wendell Graves) and I have been talking about how we can make this happen without adding to the staff. We’ve got somebody now who does most of those functions but it’s not in anybody’s job description.”

Look for the manner in which council conducts business during its regular meetings to come under review in the new year.
Continue reading

‘We need a team of eight people with vision’ – aldermanic candidate Joan Rymal


Joan Rymal forwarded these thoughts for consideration as the Oct. 27 municipal election approaches . . .

“We have the money. Can we find a team of 8 people with vision to positively promote St.Thomas and make informed decisions with all the facts?

The police station issue has clearly identified the need to ensure we are not making decisions before all the facts are in.

Aldermanic candidate Joan Rymal.

Aldermanic candidate Joan Rymal.


The Class A & B Estimates for the New Police Station, that will give a final and complete cost, will be received by Council in February 2015.

The exact time when the Part 1 capital budget will be presented. This is a change to the usual budget process for 2015 because of the Election in 2014. This only happens once every 4 years.
What an opportunity for like minded individuals to sit down with all the facts and make an informed decision regarding this issue!

The Asset Management Plan gives direction to the city to follow and recommends spending $7,000,000 on capital projects for rehabilitation and replacement for 2015. Can that be enough for departmental capital projects to allow for council to focus budget efforts on the police issue?

We have the money to do this project the right way, the first time, making an informed decision and closely looking at budget numbers to see just how much money we can allocate. We have the potential to minimize tax increases and minimize adding more long term debt. And it will not involve any Staff layoffs or Service levels in the operating budget. The focus is on the capital budget.

What is the risk to wait and make the right decision in February 2015? Speculation is nothing but talk and only adds to citizen concerns about the future of St.Thomas.

The Police Services have been waiting 10 long years, waiting for the city to take care of their needs while they have taken care of the safety of this city without complaint about their workplace.

I think it’s time we do it.

Then, for 2016 – we’ll focus our efforts on another project.

How innovative! Imagine us taking care of ourselves and not waiting for some industry to come to town and save us!

We can do it. It is possible. Count me in to be part of this team.”

Very Sincerely,
Joan Rymal