Alyssa Blais Panhandles Council – Should the Agape Centre Be Sold to Create a Fund to Feed Those in Need in Cornwall Ontario?
CFN – Alyssa Blais is s lovely woman. Kinda smart, nice most times when she’s not under the influence of people like Gilles Latour, but she’s caught in the headlights as her patronage appointment to run the Agape Food Bank facility has led to crisis within the community.
Ms Blais just went before council asking for $60,000 cash, probably enough to just about cover her salary. For someone that’s being groomed for a council run, an odd gesture.
Agape sadly, under her management, has changed as you can see from this interview we shot for our former sponsor, Paul Lefebvre of the Best Western in Cornwall.
Surely there’s a need in our city of 46,000 people as there are in most cities. Surely a position of this importance should be given on merit and not cronyism? Ms Blais shared the salaries paid out at the Agape which amount to over $500K per year.
You can feed a lot of people on those salaries and probably far better than some of what’s given out or fed at the Agape kitchens.
Ms Blais complained to the budget council about volunteers? Volunteers are the backbone of strong communities. Maybe the issue isn’t with the volunteers, but how they are treated? Maybe some of the Agape’s best volunteers have left or are discouraged by Ms Blais’s team? Again, shouldn’t it be part of her management team to build a strong corp of volunteers?
One anonymous former volunteer volunteered this comment:
They, in my opinion got rid of most of their volunteers to put in friends on their payroll. They kept the volunteers mentally or physically challenged as they get money to keep them
Ms Blais also complains about having to buy so much food. Again, if stronger out reach into the community was made perhaps she’d get better results?
CFN for example is the largest newspaper in our city and we do not receive press releases from this group because Ms Blais’ feelings were hurt by our previous stories. Who loses in the end? Good professional management requires communications skills. When CFN tried to organize an event when the video above was shot we were not met with enthusiasm so we let it slide. (We wanted to sponsor lunches)
The question becomes why would this facility’s board allow cronyism to in the first place, and how can they justify their budget?
This scribbler looks at the numbers and I just shake my head. If you can’t run this place with more volunteers and open up to the community so that they’ll publicly support it then it would probably be best to sell the facility and create a fund to feed the poor in Cornwall.
After all how many people a year rely on its services? 1000? 2000? You can give out an awful lot of gift cards to grocery stores for the Agape’s budget. Of course Ms Blais might not have the same platform to run on in less than two years, and she might have to find a non patronage job too. (Her gig before Agape was via the graces of Bob Peters ( running the Business Development service thingy hosted in city offices)
Sadly some people in this city don’t get it. If you are earning your bread on the backs of the tax payer you can’t play personal politics and silly monkeys. You have to be professional. You can’t exclude people. You can’t just keep giving contracts and gigs out to your friends at the exclusion of those with talent. You have to get tangible results.
Hopefully one day we get better at this. In the meanwhile Council has to decide to scratch her a cheque for $60K or not while they are scrambling for dollars.
The last time Agape scored big with the city was in 2009 when Cornwall coughed up $200K something that caused many to stop donating completely.
The people of Cornwall; though not the wealthiest in Ontario are very generous; but if smells funky you get funky.
The poor should never be the fodder of political folly. Those that need our help should receive it, and this sort of circus show should be fixed. Agape either needs a new board or the current one to clean up its act and make sure that this desperately needed service is run properly.
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