Sutherland Press building a backdrop for ‘smear’ campaign


The Sutherland Press building casts more than a shadow across Talbot Street . . . the moribund edifice projected a pall over last October’s mayoral race and ultimately proved a game-breaker in the final days of Cliff Barwick’s campaign.

Days before the trek to the polls, building owner David McGee dropped a bombshell — he was suing the City of St. Thomas, Barwick, St. Thomas police and other defendants for $3 million for punitive damages and aggravated damages as well as “mental distress, economic interference and, specifically, loss of income” for what the claim states was “unnecessary demolition” in July, 2008.
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In-depth interview with Elgin St. Thomas Public Health CEO Cynthia St. John

Cynthia St. John

On June 28, Elgin St. Thomas Public Health CEO Cynthia St. John met with City Scope to shed light on issues raised over the past several months, including staff cutbacks, her salary increase in 2009 of approx. $25,000 and the status of the organization’s current leasing arrangement with the County of Elgin for their office space at 99 Edward St. in St. Thomas
Also present was John Matsui of Makin’ Headlines, the London, Ont. public releations firm recently hired by ESTPH.
What follows is an expanded version of the interview that appeared in City Scope on July 3. We have not included incidental and background comments from John.
We start with Cynthia’s opening preamble.

CYNTHIA: I’m certainly committed to be as open and honest as I can be. Part of the challenge is matters of property, personnel and labour relations are closed-session board items and so it becomes a challenge in how you talk about them. Hopefully today we are able to have a conversation and share as much information as we can with each other. If there is something I’m not saying it’s because of that. It’s nothing to do with anything else.
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A commitment to honesty at Elgin St. Thomas Public Health

Deep-rooted concerns about her ability to adhere to privacy guidelines have proven a challenge to Elgin St. Thomas Public Health CEO Cynthia St. John in dealing with City Scope on matters of property, personnel and labour relations.
Her steadfast gatekeeper approach to preserving confidentiality is in contrast to other healthcare institutions, such as Elgin-St. Thomas General Hospital, which have been decidedly more forthcoming with the media when dealing with staff cutbacks and restructuring.
In an effort to open up the channels of communication, St. John and newly-hired PR guru John Matsui
agreed to sit down with City Scope earlier this week.
“I’m certainly committed to be as open and honest as I can be,” said St. John, to kick off the dialogue.
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Elgin St. Thomas Public Health retains services of public relations firm


City Scope this afternoon confirmed Elgin St. Thomas Public Health has hired a London, Ont., public relations firm, Makin’ Headlines. Company president John Matsui confirmed he has been retained by ESTPH CEO Cynthia St. John to sort out communication issues.
Matsui is billed on the firm’s website as a public relations/ public consultation specialist – dealing in the nvironment, technology and healthcare.
Success listed include:
= London Health Sciences Foundation/
St. Joseph’s Health Centre Foundation
Provided executed strategy that won a $15 million dollar grant from City of London.
– Town of Bosanquet
Created publicity campaign that diffused tensions between landowners and native groups at Ipperwash.
Succesfully managed news media and public opinion to allow development of a sanitary landfill site near Ottawa without a single objection.
ESTPH has been the subject of several City Scope posts over the past few months including these stories: Search for greener pastures is costing service to community and When the going gets tough head out on a road trip
Matsui has arranged for a meeting with himself, St. John and City Scope for Monday morning. Full details will be posted on the City Scope blog.