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Chris Cooke's picture

The City Hall drama we can’t afford

Tue, 09/06/2016 - 09:48 -- Chris Cooke

The drama continues at Sarnia City Hall at great expense to taxpayers.

Matt Mitro and the newbie Councillors seem oblivious.

They continue to wallow in the drama that is Mike Bradley. It is like they are drugged and can’t help themselves.

They spent $62,000.00 on a 14 page report from the Integrity Commissioner and now seem emboldened by the fact the final cost will top $100,000.00. According to Mitro the Integrity Commissioner’s bill will seem miniscule compared with a human resources investigation of the mayor.

Can we move on … please?

Do we really need to piss away this kind of money when our infrastructure is a mess and we can only break even by robbing the capital budget to fund the operating budget?

Mitro and the newbies gave City Manager Margaret Misek – Evans a $25,000.00 raise. She’s only been in the position three years and now makes $180,000.00.

She makes more than any City Manager before her.

Margaret Misek - Evans seemed embarrassed when I asked how she got to that kind of money. “I report to Council and it was a Council decision,” she noted.

Yes, it was a Council decision and it was done at a closed meeting behind closed doors and was only made public because I asked.

At first I was given salary ranges but that quickly changed when I suggested I was asking about pay cheques of civil servants making more than $100,000.00. I’m speaking about public pay cheques of public civil servants decided by a City Council behind closed doors.

Two days later when the salary information showed up on my Blackberry it included salaries of senior managers but only the salary range of the newly hired Communications Coordinator.

That’s right; Sarnia has a Communications Coordinator named Katarina Ovens who makes between $43,534.00 and $66,976.00.

Which brings me to this.

I’m not sure why we need her but we have her.

If I want to know something I ask. I ask members of City Council. I ask the City Manager. I ask the Finance Director. I ask the Mayor. But I never ask Katarina Ovens.

I don’t need a go between.

I only mention this because I believe the City has lost its focus.

We appear to have a weak Council driven by newbie Councillors who are making inappropriate decisions because they don’t understand where the money comes from. There aren’t any money trees in my back yard yet since Margaret and the newbies arrived my property taxes have increased 25 per cent.

The roads are terrible. I actually bent a wheel on Lakeshore Road in front of Sunripe and I notice the garbage collector still manages to leave a bag or two in the bottom of my almost empty cans.

Mitro likes to believe the mayor is responsible for everything that is financially wrong with the City and he must be punished for harassing City Hall staff and meeting with his union buddies.

That may be fine with Mitro and the newbies but it isn’t okay with me.

And I suspect a majority of my neighbours; friends and fellow taxpayers are on my side not his.

It’s time to stop the drama and stop the money meter at City Hall.

If it means accepting resignations of a few bureaucrats or eliminating a few newbies at the next election I’m okay with that.

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