and the ugly
City of Ottawa just released it's list of Council Priorities/Strategic
Investments to be funded over the next four years.
list includes some important investments such as $14.6
million to top up the infrastructure renewal program in
2016 and 2017; a few questionable investments like $755,000
over the next four years to pay for a Cycling Safety Improvement
Program; and a few downright outrageous recommendations
including a call to spend $600,000 to improve public engagement
in planning matters.
makes you wonder where this city's priorities are, or
to be more accruate, where Jim Watson's priorities are,
because let's not make any mistake about it, this is his
list. At least it's his for now. We'll have to wait to
see where the individual councillors stand on the matter.
an aside, but I love how the document is entitled Council
Priorities, when none of the councillors had any direct
input into the list of so-called priorities.)
2010, the 2010-2014 Strategic Investment Plan was hashed
out by city council over the course of several days. Not
so this time around. Despite the fact that the first-timers
on council were told during the budget process that they
would get a chance to try and acquire funding for various
initiatives during discussion of the Strategic Plan, the
will get no such opportunity beyond mere lip service.
Strategic Initiative Plan was put together by senior staff
in consultation with the Mayor's office and then presented
to the committee chairs and co-chairs for their input.
Just how much input they were afforded we'll never know.
Or least we'll never know beyond the spin.
fact of the matter is that the list has been made; the
money allocated and there's very little, if anything,
that can be done about it beyond a tweak here and there.
just another reminder that the real power at City Hall
rests in the hands of the mayor and senior staff. City
councillors have very little if any influence in the actual
decision-making process except to vote yea, or nay, and
God help you if you vote nay and risk becoming a pariah.
what does the list tell us? It tells us that in some areas
the city's priorities are in sink with some of its residents,
while in other areas they are totally out of whack.
instance, the list includes $300,000 to improve community
rinks; and $200,000 in low income recreation subsidies,
both worthy initiatives, but they pale in comparison to
the $750,000 that`s going to be spent on an infrastructure
standards reveiw, or $600,000 to improve public engagement
in planning matters -- arguably the biggest waste of money
on the entire list.
is $5.4 million for arts, heritage and culture groups,
but that`s money that never should have been cut out of
the budget in the first place. And before anyone bemoans
that investment, I bring your attention to the $4 million
that will be spent over the next four years
on something called the 2015-2018 Corporate People Plan.
is the 2015-2018 Corporate People Plan and what is the
money being spent on you ask? According to the person
who wrote the draft Strategic Initiative Plan, the $4
million will be used to A) maintain an up-to-date leadership
succession plan and increase the readiness of the successor
B) update the Corporate/Departmental Diversity Plans to
advance the diversity of the workforce and create a respectful,
inclusive workplace; C) create a roadmap to improve workplace
psychological wellbeing; and D) enhance the performance
development program to enable expectation/goal setting,
ongoing timely feedback, and tracking of completed performance
through a review process.
million dollars! Think about that every time some one
speeds down your street because there`s no money for traffic
calming measures; or you have to pay your chiropractor
for another spine realignment after driving over that
pot hole that never seems to get filled.
yes. Surprising, no. Disappointing, most defintiely. However,
the ball is now in the court of the new councillors Riley
Brockington, Jody Mitic, Jeff Leiper and Tobi Nussbaum,
George Darouze, Catherine McKeinney, Jean Clouthier and
they react and whether or not they are willing to take
on the Mayor, or staff, will tell us a lot about the next
hoping they have the courage and strength of their conviction
to at least speak up, rather than retire into the role
the very least, they should insist on a line item vote
when the plan comes before the committee of the whole
so we know exactly where the councillors stand on each
of the 63 initiatives. However, that's not very likely.
In all probability it will be presented as an omnibus
motion, something that was all the rage back in the Larry
O'Brien days, and passed by a show of hands.
more things change, the more they stay the same.
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please write to Fred Sherwin at email@example.com)
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