The Business News Source for the Community of Sarnia - Lambton

Unhappy people get an $8,500 kiosk and a smiling face

Chris Cooke's picture
Thu, 05/02/2019 - 12:28 -- Chris Cooke

The madness continues.

Matt Mitro is like a drug user suffering from withdrawal.

Selling garage doors is apparently as boring as watching paint dry.


Now, that is a blood sport. A blood sport that he lost in last October’s election.

Mitro imploded along with most of his Council colleagues.

The ballots were counted and a majority just wanted him gone.

But he can’t leave.

In his own mind he has gone from a political somebody to political nobody.

His distain for the Mayor rages on.

In addition to charging the Mayor and three other Councillors with Code of Conduct violations and triggering an investigation by newly appointed Integrity Commissioner Paul Watson he shows up at Council meetings as if nothing happened.

Coughing, wheezing and disrupting.

He sits at the back like a grade schooler periodically pumping his hand trying to get the teacher’s attention.

Pick me, pick me from the back of the Council chamber.

And there he is as big as life wearing a white shirt emblazoned with a Canada logo looking much like a skunk at a garden party.

The most recent topic.

Development fees and a ridiculous $50,000.00 report from Watson and Associates of Toronto to more than double the amount developers pay to build on commercial and residential properties.

Bill Dennis, a realtor who by his own admission “made a fortune” selling houses in Corunna is outspoken about the report suggesting the theory of diminishing return would apply if Council approves anything close to what is being recommended. Services are less but houses are cheaper south of the City argues Dennis.

But Mitro, whose door business is up and down insists on speaking pumping his arm trying to get attention.

The Mayor cautiously lets him speak, vacating his normal head of Council chair allowing David Boushy who is facing similar allegations to fill in.

Clearly Mike Bradley wants nothing to do with Mitro who in a rambling discourse advocates for higher fees claiming abruptly that a City with a $145 million budget he helped create needs more money.

It never occurs to Mitro that the more you charge the less you sell. It is the theory of diminishing return and in his case falls on deaf ears.

Sarnia isn’t growing. Its assessment base isn’t growing yet under the Matt Mitro regime costs ballooned out of control. And Sarnians got tired of it all.  

Mitro likes to share the limelight with his buddy Brian White who unexpectedly was re-elected.

White who didn’t have any trouble spending like a drunken sailor when Margaret Misek – Evans was around is suddenly the crusader of the public purse.

Case in point?

The kiosk in the front lobby of City Hall.

The administration in general and finance director Suzanne Dieleman in particular suggest reinstating the kiosk would have a price tag of $84,000.00 and mean $19,000.00 in lost productivity.

White believes that’s outrageous.

I don’t know who is doing the math but if it is Dieleman she appears to have a calculator malfunction.

Installation has a price tag of $8,500.00 because the kiosk can no longer be just a kiosk at which the phone is answered and visitors are directed to a proper location. It has to be tricked out with a crash bar for quick get away, a key card accessible area and high glass to prevent people from jumping over it.
Last time I looked this was Sarnia City Hall not some Chaldean grocery in the slums of Detroit.

Mike Stark, who wants an $11,000.00 pay increase, computer, cell phone and more expense money for himself is not only bothered by the projected cost but has this distorted view that most people who come to City Hall are “not happy”.

It probably never occurs to him that he could be the source of their unhappiness.

Regressive and unnecessary were the words used by Nathan Colquhoun and Terry Burrell to describe the front lobby kiosk.

I could point out here that 16,800 voters wanted the kiosk and view it as a cost of doing business. Those were the people who voted for Mayor Mike Bradley who made the kiosk and a resumption of customer service at City Hall key planks in his re-election campaign.

I think it is fair to assume the unhappy people who come to City Hall would prefer a kiosk, a smiling face and someone to actually answers the damn phone to raises for City Councillors who have lost track of public priorities.

I could be wrong about all of this but I’m usually not.

Fine Print