Municipal election primer: is that hire necessary?

Does your city, town, village or hamlet love to hire, hire and hire some more?

The city council of Brantford, Ontario seems to think it needs a Director of Downtown Infrastructure Revitalization and Renewal Program.

The annual cost to taxpayers:  $175,000.

Funding for the position will come from the city’s capital budget.

The Brantford “City Hall” Expositor reported the following words emanating from the hallowed halls of city hall:  “When you look at the scope of the work that needs to be done in the downtown, we really do need to have a project manager, who is in contact with all of those who will be impacted by what’s being done.  We want to make sure people are aware well before the fact so that nothing comes as a surprise.”1

Therefore, you’d be stupid to think that the city can’t cope one more day without said director, right?

Hmm.  Wait, there’s more:  a reference was made to 1994 “when a lot of work was being done (downtown)” and “people and businesses didn’t know what was going on (City Hall included, if you ask us).”

That may have been the case in 1994, but who has overseen the work done downtown from 1995 to now? Perhaps it was the:

  1. Manager of Continuous Improvement (part of Public Works Department lambrinth2)
  2. Administrative Coordinator, Continuous Improvement Office
  3. Asset Management Specialist, Continuous Improvement Office
  4. Administrative Assistant #1, Continuous Improvement Office
  5. Administrative Assistant #2, Continuous Improvement Office
  6. Administrative Assistant #3, Continuous Improvement Office.

Perhaps it was someone form Facilities & Asset Management, such as:

  1. Director Facilities & Asset Management
  2. Capital Planning Coordinator #1, Facilities & Asset Management
  3. Capital Planning Coordinator #2, Facilities & Asset Management.

On the “make-sure-people-are-aware” front, it may have been one or more of the following people who kept the masses informed:

  1. Director of Communications & Community Engagement, Corporate Communications
  2. Senior Designer/Creative Director, Corporate Communications
  3. Web Technical Coodinator, Corporate Communications
  4. Communications Specialist #1, Corporate Communications
  5. Website Coordinator, Corporate Communications.
  6. Communications Specialist #2, Corporate Communications

Bottom line:  stuff happen in Downtown Brantford for the last twenty-three years without a Director of Downtown Infrastructure Revitalization and Renewal Program.  There are more than enough capable people within city hall’s bureaucratic bloat to oversee, for the next twenty-three years, what are basic jobs of a city hall.

One more thing, a capital budget is defined as “a budget allocating money for the acquisition or maintenance of fixed assets such as land, buildings, and equipment.”  Is Brantford’s intent to fund this new employee out of the capital budget consistent with the definition of a capital budget?  That’s right, it’s not!

A Brantfordian wonders if city hall understands basic accounting:  “You do know how a balance sheet works, right? So much money comes in, so much goes out, the difference is either profit or debt.”3

The new broom at Ontario’s Queen’s Park will start a long over due house cleaning, which includes an independent audit.  In October Ontarians need to make sure municipalities follow suit.  A new broom AND a house cleaning, that is!




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