Kenning #1 In City
Ruttan #9 In City
The local daily published it's 'Top 20 Most Powerful People List' and it seems they have finally figured out who really wields the power at city hall when it comes to running things and making policy.
Al Kenning, city manager has been moved from #7 last year to #1 this year and John Ruttan, city mayor has been demoted from #1 last year to #9 this year.
Readers of this blog will know this comes as no surprise, at it is obvious who makes policy and calls the shots when it comes to decision making at city hall. Readers of this blog, will also recognize the flaw in the structure as it allows Mr. Kenning to avoid accountability as all final decisions rest with city council. Of course, the way things are presented by city staff, is what determines the outcome of council decisions. Basically, council takes whatever staff says as being the gospel truth and simply rubber stamp whatever Mr. Kenning recommends.
Many of these major decisions are made behind closed doors far away from any form of public scrutiny, which further removes Kenning or Ruttan from being accountable for their decisions. The old annex as an example springs to mind as does the Colliery Dam decisions. Both are decisions which staff and council fear being brought out into the harsh glare of public scrutiny.
Even the very decision of when to go in-camera and keep the minutes in-camera is a decision based on the advice of Mr. Kenning. City Council just basically smile and nod, and rubber stamp whatever he says. This is why many decisions are still kept secret even though the need for privacy has long since passed.
The Daily points out that the unpopularity of the Colliery Dams decision are potential hazards for Mayor Ruttan, but fail to mention that Mr. Kenning was the architect of that whole decision including providing cost estimates to replace the dams, which were not provided by the city-hired engineer but Mr. Kenning himself. The decision to remove the dams rather than rehab appears to have been a policy decision made by Mr. Kenning long before it was presented to council.
Yes, it seems the daily has it right, but they fail to mention that the most powerful man in the city, can avoid responsibility and accountability as he can hide behind Mayor and Council as being the final decision makers.
If pay levels also reflect the levels of power at city hall then clearly Mr. Kenning is of much greater value than Mr. Ruttan. According to the 2011 SOFI reports Mr. Ruttan is paid $80,857.55 which pales by comparison to Mr. Kenning's $223,269.45.
Many Nanaimo taxpayers might argue that both men are being over paid, but that is a subject for another day.