Sunday, November 18, 2012

How Well Does City Hall Serve Nanaimo Taxpayers?

 City Hall Means City Staff Management & City Council

The role that city staff plays in the decision making process at city hall is often overlooked and the responsibility for such decisions is directed only at city council. While technically, city council does have the final decision the advice they act upon comes nearly exclusively from senior city staff, with Mr. Kenning being the most senior.

This is a little game played at city hall which pretty well absolves city staff of accountability or responsibility. Even if things do get a little heated at city hall, city staff can always tie on one of those golden parachutes and bail with a half million or so. Sweet!

Some Examples Of Questionable Mis/Management At City Hall

None of the following examples were undertaken without the consent of city council, but they were all undertaken on the advice of city staff. The execution of these decisions also falls to city staff and city staff alone.

Port of Nanaimo Centre better known as The Conference Centre:

The first convention centre was going to be built on the site of the old Malaspina Hotel, where the Pacifica condos now rest. The first deal was to see a hotel and convention centre built for about $12 million. Management at city hall responsible for overseeing this project were not able to get the deal done and it kept rising until when it hit $20 million or so finally wound up scrapped.

Next, the nice guys from out of town came and pitched and beguiled council and city staff into the idea of building a hotel and convention centre right down town. We were told, and in fact voted on this project coming in at $52 million. Once again, the project managers at city hall (not council) did not see this project done on budget and it ballooned to at the very least $72 million, after bulldozing the civic arena as all part of this rush to glory.

Paid $3 million To 'Manage' Project

During this whole fiasco, city hall management entered into an agreement to pay $3million to manage the project with the condition it include the building of a hotel. When the hotel did not materialize, the brain trust at city hall sued to get the money back. Guess what? No refunds! Just another example of the shrewd project management skills demonstrated at city hall.

Paid $1 million a year to manage VICC Via a Sole Source Offer:

Once again the ability to manage projects is demonstrated in the granting of a $1 million a year contract to a company to manage the convention centre. The cherry on the top of this deal was the fact the operator could renew for a further 5 years without the city having the option to seek a competitive bid.

There are many more examples of major projects that have been mishandled by city hall which arguably are putting a burden on Nanaimo taxpayers they may simply not be able to bear. City hall seems to forget the average 'household' in Nanaimo earns less than nearly any single person employed by the city.

I intend to shed a little light on some of these other blunders but there is enough here that might actually encourage the 73% of Nanaimo taxpayers who didn't vote for any of council, to actually sit up and pay attention.

The next council meeting is Monday Nov. 19th ...... are you paying attention to what city hall is up to next?


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