Treading Water Budget for Cornwall Highlights Failure @ City Hall – by Jamie Gilcig 030918

Cornwall Ontario – What an ugly budget procedure this year has been, and it’s not over yet.    What we’re starting to see clearly is that the adage that you get the government you deserve always comes home to roost.   A motion to cap an increase @ 4% because of a raping of reserve funds?  Lack of infrastructure?  How many water main breaks did we have in the past two Winters?

The major issue is the labour and union folk voting en masse to keep people like Elaine MacDonald and “Flipper” Clement elected.

Telling an overtaxed population as an elected official that taxes are good and we should pay more is way to Nero like for this scribbler.   In just about any other community it would be grounds for being run out of town.

The manner in which Ms Clement has been giving out sound bites is even scarier.   Non committal except to up costs and try and be nice to her voting bloc.  Clearly this councilor is no deep thinker with no real solutions.

The biggest scam has been the bait and switch by City Management which starts at the top with Maureen Adams who clearly is a major problem for those that want to see Cornwall become more fiscally responsible.  The irony that she lives in Long Sault and doesn’t have to pay for her machinations is not lost on many.   Her not answering to the allegations about her history with the now many titled Geoff Clarke is starting to loom in Fitzpatrick like shadows.

With rumblings again of some of our elected officials wanting to eat the capital of the Progress Fund it’s time for the public to get involved this election.

It really is time to go full Brampton 2.0 and clean house, not just of council, but of city managers who are the root of the problem.

There is plenty to cut from the budget without going after pizza for committee meetings, and paltry amounts for grass cutting.

The Police Board for example has two members of council on it.   Surely these two, if the political will were there,  could convince one of the other two members to side with them and demand that the CCPS cut their budget by 5%?

That would be about $1 million extra cash to start.   Cut the fire budget by the same 5% and the cash adds up.

If all staff, union and non union took at 1% cut that would put another bag of cash on the table.

Cut Aultsville Theatre and you have another $100K.  Should the city be funding any service that isn’t open to the public for free or a very minor fee like our now lost public art gallery?  Does that make sense?  The Woodhouse Museum?  Again, what is the return for the investment?   If the City has no say in its running then it’s time to chop its donation.

The cost of outdoor pools clearly is too expensive for a city that is mulling killing pizza for committees, especially with the overhead of the aquatic centre.

There’s a certain irony in that one of the few services in the black is our Marina.   Could it be in the black because it’s essentially outsourced?    IE, not run by city staff?   If the unions have priced salaries beyond responsible fiscal boundaries that’s frightening and a problem that workers have to be a part of the solution of.  We can’t outsource all of our municipal services.

This writer is no Tim Hudak.  We should take care of our city workers, but if we’ve over hired or because of cronyism simply have too much dead weight like the inept Janice Robinson,  there has to be solutions, and city workers need to work with new management rather than simply be told that they now have wage and hiring freezes.



Workers aren’t dumb, and morale is important.   They have the answers generally more than a high priced consultant will.

There was a scary report suggesting that there’d be more action at the Complex if the city “partners” up with promoters.    That’s a slippery slope that this city has failed at before with the old Cornwall Comets.   The city should not be in the business of business in this scribblers opinion.   It should be in the business of supporting business and allowing it to blossom so there are more revenues to tax.

The Complex is a white elephant.  Mostly used as waterfront office space which makes no sense as much as Bob Peters might like his office view.  It’s time to start to think about the long term goals of the complex and the land it sits on.  It needs too much redevelopment to be a serious contender for an OHL team, and we now have the Benson Centre for the Colts.    In the short term reviewing current bylaws and fees might help as well as actually promoting the location and services where people actually read and the eyeballs are.

$2M per year on our library?   With a population of about 40,000 (we haven’t been at 46K in ages) that comes out to nearly $50 per person per year!   Either we need to chop that budget down or find alternative uses for the building(such as an art centre) to help maintain library services (no, I’m not suggesting we kill our library) The budget for our one location is actually more per person than the City of Ottawa spends on its 34 branches!  Does that make sense?

The point is that there is plenty to cut from the budget without losing out on important services or pizza for non paid committee members.  But it takes political will to make that happen, especially if city managers are being difficult or ineffective.

And jamming in development fees and accommodation fees in the manner in which they’re being discusses simply reeks of desperation and puts more pressure on the very people that are putting cash in city coffers.

Ironically many of this council were quite happy to give former HR Manager Rob Menagh his walking papers without cause and eat a few years of salary.   Simply why not dump some of those with cause, and generally a lack of success is a cause.


Choosing people for council shouldn’t be about popularity.  It should be about strength and leadership and who you feel will work and achieve the goals that you share as a voter.   It shouldn’t be because someone’s dad runs the Children’s Treatment Centre or they were the pet monkey of the Labour Council Prez.  (and how on earth could a LBP end up on council, but the lovely and charming person that mops up at City Hall can’t run?)  Or even worse that they were a cokehead police informant, or future #metoo monster.

At the end of the day this mess will take a generation to clean up.   Or things will get worse year by year.

Cornwall is at a crossroads.  What happens with the waterfront development on the former Domtar lands and Crown lands will define this community.

Will we get “Lumleyed” again, or will people open their eyes and put some homework into finding solutions?

What do you think dear CFN viewers?  You can post your comments below.


  1. For me basic quality of life comes first, theatres 2nd. In no particulare order, Fire, Police and Roads (infrastructure) are my #1 focus, then parks. After that it’s planning the future.
    If quality of life goes so do the people

  2. So many things to comment on in this article, both pro and con. I’ll try to do my comments up this weekend. But limiting it to 400 characters???

  3. Author

    One thought at a time dude 🙂

  4. This mess starts with the Mayor, he allowed administration to be the cluster F#@K it has become. Adams only cares about the elites. We the little people see it. Geoff Clarke what does he do? many want to know originally hired for labor relations yet they are now hiring a labor relations person #2. Would the city not serve the tax base well and make Clarke do his job? Nope, not Adams, her pet toy.

  5. Along with Janice Robinson. What does Mark Boileau, and Knob Peters do beside cost tax payers a fortune? Again Maureen Adams pets. Need I forget the Fire Chief? this clown does not even live remotely close to Cornwall, and we still think his pants are too tight. John St. Marseille? any bike lanes opening soon or awards banquets in Toronto when your real work is here? The Hall sees everything.

  6. “Mr. Rusted Bolt”, you are on fire man ! These so called budget deliberations are a farce ! The “gongers”, tossed out meaningless (as far as the budget is concerned) items, to grab the attention of we peasants , while ignoring the real areas that need a serious look ! The 11 “gongers” should ALL be tossed this fall. We could have a zero increase , with real cuts at City Hall, Police & Fire ?

  7. We union see just what GM’s and others actually do in a day why do we need all of them? Council wants to cut look at the GM’s. My previous example, do we need an HR Manager or whatever he goes by now who can not do labor stuff? Previous to him we had HR Managers doing it themselves yet they want to hire another labor relations person and at what cost council? wake up. How can the CAO not see this?

  8. Author

    Rusted Bolt are you confirming that you work for the City?

  9. Jamie, maybe, maybe not. Does not take much to see what really is happening. Workers speak on the street and everywhere in between. Council wants to raise taxes, freeze jobs, unions without contracts for years and this Geoff Clarke gets away with it. Managers, council and CAO doing what about it, yes hire him a labor relations guy and make the tax base pay for it and look for cuts elsewhere, smart

  10. Hi, funny you mentioned union worker for the city should take a pay cut, I do not agree as with minuim wage increase so does grocery bills, taxes etc. Union workers need a raise also , as I noticed no unionized workers were in in the sunshine list, it was all management. Front line workers are not the problem, and yes I agree we need a change at city hall in the next election

  11. Author

    Sorry Sheldon, the Sunshine List is FULL of Unionized city workers from Police to Fire services especially.

  12. yes sorry, but I meant city of cornwall cupe employees, I think fire and police are in a different catagory

  13. Author

    Check the sunshine list dude!

  14. not going to argue with you, as you have a lot of good thoughts about to save money, but I think cupe employees deserve a raise and not a freeze. the city knew this a year ago, and no, I do not work for the city

  15. Author

    Sheldon are you a CUPE member or union rep?

  16. Hi Jamie,,,, , I AM NOT a City employee or a Union Rep ! However, I must agree, that it is unfair to compare POLICE & FIRE to inside & outside workers (City shops, Parks , etc) ……. IMO, most, if not all , of the Police were sunshined, but, please correct me, I really didn’t notice many “peasants” on that list. REMEMBER, who got the wage increases , before the freeze ?

  17. Author

    That would be the management.

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