Cornwall Ontario – Cornwall council has embarrassed the city multiple times over the last few terms. From the Fitzpatrick scandals, to the CFN boycott that included a mayor hitting the panic button over a t shirt he didn’t like, to this writers false arrest during the election while the mayor and his campaign manager were on the police board.
Add in integrity commissioner issues, multiple whistle blowers, worm kids, kids ice rinks, seniors listening to Abba and getting cited for noise, and you have a hot circus of amateur monkeys.
Circuses aren’t cheap and the tax levy rose about 20% per term while these payouts, hijinks, and high priced out of town lawyers rolled through town.
Now it turns out thanks to Andre Rivette’s leak to CBC that Geoff Clarke, under Maureen Adams, led council into a position that according to many, including its former HR Manager Robert Menagh, is about unfixable and will leave the city with no position other than surrender.
Menagh had been fired without cause, at a cost of 3 years salary, essentially to gag him from testifying against the City for the Fitzpatrick scandals. During his time in Cornwall there was labour peace and the elimination of two management positions in the HR department for as he termed “a lack of work needing to be done”.
Geoff Clarke, hired with a lot of questions, but seeming to be connected to Maureen Adams from their time working in the auto sector while in Toronto, seemed to have failed, been promoted up, hired back at least one of the positions Menagh eliminated at great cost to the tax payer, and given advice, championed by Adams to council, that would in effect potentially impact all CUPE compacts nationally.
After the union refusing to a 25% claw back of historic short term leave they ended up with no contract for over two years which has led to the current strike.
You can’t make this stuff up. Hit the play button to hear CFN one on one with Mr. Menagh as he explains the situation far better than this scribe can.
The city also will be looking at a huge payout as the eventual new contract will be retroactive. Workers will receive whatever raises they negotiate for starting from when the contract does, and with these developments CUPE now has extra leverage over City Hall. Estimates are as much as $1200 per worker or almost as much as $500K which to this writer’s knowledge wasn’t in the 2018 budget.
I asked Mr. Menagh how important guidance is from management, especially for those without much if any formal education (former Mayor Kilger for example didn’t graduate high school) or are space cadets such as Justin “One Term” Towndale. Mr. Menagh shared that management are paid extremely well and relied upon to not put council and the city in the position it is in now.
Essentially Geoff Clarke, if he truly understood municipal politics or could use Google, would know that a clawback of this nature was as Mr. Menagh put it, a “motherhood” issue right up there with seniority with about zero chance of ever being tackled.
Rob sent in a postscript to elaborate on my interview question about what could be done to ameliorate the mess:
In response to your last question to me about what could the City now do, on a going-forward basis, to extricate itself from what is now appearing to be a classic “zero- sum game” with respect to the reported “clawback” the City has proposed, I would like to make this suggestion.
If the City is really serious about this change to the sick leave plan and that it is not just someone’s vanity project, what it could do is have Council approve a new written City Personnel policy that would codify this benefit reduction for its non-union staff. I’m not sure this would necessarily carry the day but it would show how serious the City is about this, it would show leadership, and would demonstrate to all employees, and to the public at large, that there is no double standard at work here. That what’s good for the goose is good for the proverbial gander as well.As a bit of a post-script, I would note for you that I was always told that it was an unofficial City policy that; as goes the total compensation package for the unionized employees, the terms for the non-union employees would follow. During my time at the City, however, I observed this “policy” to be observed more in its breach than otherwise.
Several council members have expressed frustration at the mess that Cornwall is now.
A bigger irony is that apparently Councilor Elaine MacDonald, former President of the Labour Council and her monkey Carolye Hebert, both busy pimping for the NDP voted to support the clawback.
The buzz is that they sold out the City Workers to swing the BOM Art Centre Fiasco.
City Workers vote today on the latest offer which Mr. Rivette stated still included the clawback.
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