Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Council Votes To Spent Another $140,000

Councillors Anderson, Brennan, Johnstone, McKay 
and Mayor Ruttan Vote For City Spin Doctor

Councillor Brennan introduced a motion at the FPCOW yesterday which will require the financial plan to be 're-jigged' as it no longer conforms to the plan given three readings at the last council meeting.

Demonstrating her lack of understanding Councillor Johnstone said it would not affect the Financial Plan as it was not being spent this year. There was no basis for that decision, as now the city manager will be able to fill the position so that council and staff can defer comment to the new 'spin doctor' rather than having to answer questions directly. Transparency you say??

At a time when the Mayor and Councillors who voted to hire a spin doctor, would tell you they are doing their best to hold the line on taxes, in five minutes they decided to spend what is arguably an unnecessary $140,000.

This person will still not be allowed to shed any light on the decision making process that led to the decision to spend the equivalent of 5 years tax increase on a new office for staff. The fact, that a year after the fact, neither city council, nor city staff want their decision scrutinized, just adds further fuel to the fire of suspicion surrounding this questionable decision.

If City Councillors and City Staff know what they are doing and why they are doing it, why would they need a professional wordsmith to craft their message? I understand the desire to have someone to hide behind as many Councillors seem of the opinion they won't be held accountable for the things they have not said.

Given the way the local press polishes up press releases from the city now and avoids all reporting that might be contrary to the city 'spin', I can't really imagine how a full time spin doctor will fill their days and weeks at city hall. Does it really take $140,000 a year to craft one or two press releases every month??

$3000.00 A Week To Tell YOU What City Hall Is Doing?

I follow city hall going's on probably as much as anyone in the city (I know, I know, silly me) and I can not for the life of me imagine how the city is going to need to craft even one message a week to tell Nanaimo taxpayers how your money is being spent.

Presuming they can actually find one thing a week to put on the spinning wheel, it is likely going to cost Nanaimo taxpayers $3,000 for that 'news' item.

Has this city council lost all credibility when they say they care how your money is spent, then turn around and fork out $3,000 a week to write a press release?? A the very best, this could be a very part time, contracted expense used occasionally when something really important has to be conveyed to the public.

No Sir, Mayor Ruttan and Councillors Anderson, Brennan, McKay and Johnstone cleary demonstrate their disregard for how they spend YOUR money.



  1. You are to be commended for publishing your online report of Tuesday, February 21st regarding the decision made by Council at its Finance Policy/Committee of the Whole Meeting of Monday, February 20th, (pursuant to Coun. Brennan’s motion).

    I see that a report on this Council decision appears in the Thursday, February 23rd online edition of the NDN.

  2. Refer to page 3, section 1 of the “CITY OF NANAIMO FIVE-YEAR FINANCIAL PLAN 2012 – 2016”, where it speaks specifically about the topic of corporate communication challenges:

    “It is not included as a recommended item solely because of the cost. In the absence of this position staff has recently structured a new staff communications committee that utilizes existing personnel resources from throughout the organization to tackle corporate communication challenges. While I am hopeful this committee will improve the City‟s corporate communications performance, it is too early to fully assess the effectiveness of this initiative.”

    So ... What was the outcome of the assessment of the initiative? How was the justification for additional bureaucracy at City Hall arrived at?

  3. This is incredible!! Thanks for keeping us informed before it makes the newspapers. Who usually get it all mixed up if they get it at all.


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