Monday, December 24, 2012

Core Review Opposition Predictable


The failed motion to conduct a core services review at city hall was a predictable outcome, prior to the vote I was offering 2:1 odds against passage of Councilor Kipp's motion. I was unable to make any money by wagering on the outcome, as no one I know would take the bet. The reason? To any regular council watcher, the possibility that motion would pass had as much chance as the proverbial snowball in hell.

I realize what is offered here, is no more than my personal opinion based on the past five years of watching more council meetings than I have personally cared to and as such is no more valid than anyone else's opinion who also pays attention.

Councilor Brennan and Greves opposition was clearly predictable given their support base, both financially and at the polls. They both would have deserved support from the local trade unions and the labour movement in general. Some might see this as a good balance to counter the councilors who have the interests of business primarily as there financial support base.

In Nanaimo there also appears a strong special interest group who, although less visible represent considerable sway at election time, and that is the arts and culture (think theatres and such)  lobby group. This group doesn't bring a lot of financial support to a candidates chances at election time, but could bring enough votes to help determine the outcome at the polls.

Another interest group even harder to define would represent the 'sports' lobby in Nanaimo who may also bring more support at the polls than cash in the campaign war chest, but they exist nonetheless.

The biggest group in Nanaimo who have no special lobby groups are the 73% of all voters who chose not to vote last election.  Which is why special interest groups with less than 15% of the eligible vote get to decide how your tax dollars get spent.

Core Reviews Are Feared In Some Camps

Again, my opinion only. But I think councilors with a pro-labour bent simply have to oppose core service reviews as they are seen as a threat to union-protected jobs which they fear could be eliminated as the result of a core services review. Councilors who see such reviews as being potentially disruptive to city staff also oppose such reviews on that basis. They apparently don't see the benefit that could come from such a review which could create better ways of doing things with a resultant economic saving to the Nanaimo taxpayer.

Both Councilor Brennan and Greves spoke at length as to why they opposed a core service review, although given the review was to be defined by a council committee many of their objections did not seem valid. The acceptance of any core review recommendations would also be subject to council approval, so you have to wonder what they thought was at stake.

Both of these councilors have strong support from the labour lobby in Nanaimo which is clear from their campaign contributions. For example Councilor Greves received $6500 from trade unions for his by-election campaign and $16,000 from trade unions for his general election campaign, for a total in one year of $22,500.00.

Councilor Brennan received $6500.00 from trade unions in the 2011 general election and $10,000.00 from trade unions in her '08 failed mayoral campaign bid.

Taxpayers Only Losers As Result Of Failed Review

Any corporation the size of the city of Nanaimo can always benefit from a review of how they conduct the affairs of a corporation doing nearly one billion dollars of business in five years. To think that the entrenched management would offer the same fresh perspective as an outside consulting firm is foolish to say the least.

City hall is forever hiring outside guns (consultants) to help guide the city in the decision making process, for example we spent $120,000 on a strategic plan to guide policy at city hall. This study by the way was deemed necessary by Mr. Kenning as a precursor to a core service review. To suggest that city hall management need outside assistance for things like figuring out how to extend the seawalk, plan transportation etc. etc. and at the same time reject a core review to provide overall management, just makes no sense.

Councilors who opposed the review were Brennan, Greves, Johnstone, Pattje and Mayor Ruttan.

 Losers of this defeated vote are Nanaimo taxpayers! 
What else is new?



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