It’s five o’clock boys, put down the hoses


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Members of the city’s police and fire service account for an overwhelming majority of members in the Sunshine Club each year and 2014 was no exception.

Of the 96 city employees who earned greater than $100,000 last year, 81 work are based at the police station or fire halls.

This corner talked at length last week with Chief Darryl Pinnell who made it very clear, “A lot of it has to do with base salaries now. Things are getting up to the point where base salaries are getting close to that ($100,000) number.”

Likewise, we had a lengthy dialogue with Chief Rob Broadbent on the factors impacting the salaries of firefighters.

“If you look at the Sunshine List this year, you’re going to see a number of firefighters on it versus officers. It’s not uncommon for our officers to be there just by pay grids. Tack a few call-back fires or overtime shifts on top of an officer’s salary and it doesn’t take very much for them to bump over the $100,000 threshold.”
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Buckle up, we’re approaching ram speed


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The second meeting of the police building committee attracted a strange assortment of bedfellows Thursday morning at city hall.
Notables included former mayor Peter Ostojic, former alderman Marie Turvey and former Elgin County Board of Education chairman Bob McCaig.
Discussion of a new police headquarters, to be located on city-owned land adjacent to the Timken Centre, has generated such pushback the meeting had to be moved to a larger venue.
Deliberations had barely begun and McCaig couldn’t contain himself any longer.
“Why are you in such a hurray,” he blustered, as the committee attempted to establish a schedule for developing a request for proposal for architectural services.
“A group of people want to ram this through.” Continue reading

Homelessness is a reality in St. Thomas and Elgin


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It is estimated there are between 100 and 300 youth who are homeless at any given time, with a significant portion of these youth staying with friends for the short term.
This depressing picture is lifted from a draft copy of the 10-year Housing and Homelessness Plan for St. Thomas-Elgin developed by a steering committee of city staff and members of social agencies in conjunction with Tim Welch Consulting of Cambridge, Ont.
The report prepared by Elizabeth Sebestyen, the city’s housing services administrator, will be presented to council Monday with a recommendation it adopt the plan which articulates “the community’s long-term vision for the provision of housing and homelessness services over the next ten years, including a system for review and amendments every five years.”
The city is mandated under the province’s Housing Services Act 2011 to have such a plan in place by the end of this year.
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