Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A community divided, the real fix is eleven months away.

My fellow blogger Mr Prince is calling for a town hall meeting, the people that signed the petition are waiting for municipal affairs.

I think this municipality at this point in its short history is deeply divided, unfortunately it is not going to be repaired in the next eleven months. Any one of us can wish for a different out come but realistically it is not coming in the short term. The petition and municipal affairs will run its cause and hopefully something will come of that, if not then people need to be preparing for October 21st 2013 that will be the communities next real opportunity for “change”.

Why do I feel it’s too late for real change with this council, the issues that have been put in front of the taxpayers over the last two years have been too numerous and two divisive.

Can a town hall meeting fix these issues? I don’t think so, most of the people I speak to could care less about a town hall meeting they have seen them become a platform for our leader to pump his chest, berate anybody that disagrees with him. I was so shocked when I watched a highly educated seventy year old man walk across a room to the sound of a few boos, waving his arms and telling the people to bring it on. (Leadership?)

I sat down last Friday and listened to a veteran administrator tell a reporter the way it is. (Yes it was as bad has it sounds). Communications has not been this council’s downfall in all honesty they have probably done a better job of communicating than any previous council, the problem is not so much communications it is what they have said and done. 

This Council believes in building a Bureaucracy by the time they have restructured they will have gone through more administrators in eighteen months than any other council in our history and have more upper management in place then we have ever seen before. Mean while we have a demoralized workforce that is scared and bullied to the point where a large percentage of them are in fear of their jobs.

This community has no commercial tax base, if we only did what we could pay for three quarters of what happens in this community would not happen. The key for this community is volunteers I came to learn this lesson over the last ten years, are there any volunteers left? Sure there are but not many, with what happened with Thunder in the Valley/Rum Runner Days and the Firemen situation who’s going to step forward. Want more proof of that look at municipal boards despite three months of advertising nine boards are short of members. Why do you think council backpedaled on getting rid of the Swimming Pool Authority two weeks ago? They desperately need to reverse the perception in the public forum as to how volunteers are being treated. What we did not  need is a member of council slamming the public because they didn’t support their way of doing things on the Rum Runner days weekend maybe just maybe the silent majority did not want it to change.  

The public has spoken about how they feel, despite the fact that 2500 people signed a petition in less than three weeks (more than double what is legally required). This council and its members can only focus on the “silent majority still supports us”, “or people were bullied and intimidated into signing”. Tell those people to contact municipal affairs I am sure the powers to be would love an excuse not to deal with this petition. Does it not say that the public has a problem with where you are going?

Look at our tax situation we hear great fanfare about a three year budget that only had annual increases of 2.5%, I didn’t hear anybody from council or administration tell us that Franchise Fees were going to increase more than 300% in three years.

Will the books balance at the end of the year? Of course they will I could spend hours writing about how numbers are shuffled. For example  take a look at Manager of Corporate Services, that position was only filled for three months this year. The other nine months of monies set aside for that position will be used to make the numbers work. My concern is the million dollars a year of administration moving forward how do we pay for that in future years when all the positions are filled year round?

Financial credibility is there any out there, after waiting for three and a half months look at the numbers that were presented for Rum Runner Days, remember the talk about $150-$200,000 not even close.   

Community Peace Officers all those that think these positions are going to pay for themselves raise your hand now. That’s a fallacy that will be proven over time, I can remember the consultant telling council at a G+P meeting that there were 290+ locations in violation of the unsightly premises bylaw how many of them have been cleaned up? Is there a date that they will be cleaned up by? So what happens with the bylaw officers once they are cleaned up?

Promises even though they were followed with a “you can take this with a grain of salt”
CLC gone before first snowfall, sharing Ranchlands tax base, Quebec manufacturer, deal with the hotel developer done in two weeks, two more, thirty days, heavy industry with up to 700 jobs. Politically you can sell hope all you want but sooner than later it has to be realized or you lose creditability.    

I think we have reached the point where the majority (be they loud or silent) do not pay a whole lot of attention anymore to what this council has to say or do. Most people are counting down the time until Oct 21,2013. Will a town hall meeting change that?   


Anonymous said...

Dean did you see the following under the terms of reference for the Economic Development board

"Committee members may not publicly criticize other Committee members or the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass Council, the Economic Development Officer or its staff member(s)."

Are they expected to take a blood oath. Did not see this language under any other terms of reference.


Anonymous said...

I have worked for companies where you don't criticize the company. I think that is a very popular thing nowadays. They are probably within their rights. I think companies expect you to be supportive of them.

Anonymous said...

I have no interest in anything these guys have to say.


Peter Rosner said...

You are very right in your assesment of things Dean. What i see coming is a bureaucratic monster that is going to have to be fed from our wallets. I discussed a lot of this with counciler Gallant the other day but he is determined they are on the right path and they got it covered.

Anonymous said...

"Committee members may not publicly criticize other Committee members or the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass Council, the Economic Development Officer or its staff member(s)."

How nice. A gag order in case one does not conform to a certain person's agenda. Isn't this a major form of supression? This type of thinking mirrors exactly what goes on within this council and its running of the municipality at this time.

... and the line up for volunteers starts where?

Anonymous said...

A committee member, here, is not an employee of any company, but a volunteer, and should be prized for all their input and thoughts in order to further the cause of whatever society that they believe in and chose to give thier time to. Isn't that what feeling good as a volunteer,(giving back to the community), is all about?

Anonymous said...

So far, it looks like all the new found efficiencies will end up costing lots of additional tax dollars.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:44 said:

"I have worked for companies where you don't criticize the company. I think that is a very popular thing nowadays. They are probably within their rights. I think companies expect you to be supportive of them."

That may be true for private companies, but the municipal government is not a private company. We have constitutional rights to free speech, even if we happen to be employed by the government. In Alberta, Municipal governments are subject to the Freedom of Information law and are required to hold all their meetings open to the public.

These clowns think they are above the law.

Anonymous said...

Dean you are so right

Anonymous said...

There seems to be a good measure of paranoia at the top. The keepers of the "TRUTH" feel this way the world over. They are not aware of the damage that was done.

Anonymous said...

A town hall meeting would likely change nothing. But to sit idly by and let this council carry on would be even a bigger mistake. No matter what you must continue to fight for what you beleive in.We know what council has done in the first 25 months of there term, I am afraid of what they are going to do in the next 11.I fear there are at least 2 pretty big hits still to come.One having to do with fire equipment and the other the swimming pool.
Councils decision to ignore the petition is unbeleivable.Do I think that public meetings or phone calls or emails will change their minds? No , but that does not mean we should not at least try.

Crowsnest Pass Home said...

I am not saying for a second don't try, there are reasons that Council backed off on their position on the swimming pool authority two weeks ago.
And yes I am sure they will move their positions on some minor issues especially if some of the present councillors intend on running again next year.
They may even find ways to spread the pain of the Franchise Fee increase over two years instead of one.
Because none of us will know the real cost of all of their changes, until all of them are in place, until they are fully staffed which won't be until the new year. So yes when BDO Dunwoody brings forth the audited financial statement in Spring of 2014 we will all know the real cost of "change" unfortunately that will be four months after the next election.

Do I think we the public, we the taxpayers can get these guys to change their positions on any of the major issues, not a chance.

So what I am suggesting is anybody that is seriously thinking about putting forth their name for next October. Needs to put their name out there soon, and start taking positions on important issues.
I agree with John Prince on this issue we all need to have learnt a lesson after the last election. That being not to wait until the election and vote for "new names" of people just because they stand up for "change", instead of finding out where they stand on the issues and making sure they have given the public a clear vision of their mandate for the next three years.

The Doomsayer said...

Dean, I posted this in John's blog before I read yours.

“Anger may in time change to gladness; vexation may be succeeded by content.
But a kingdom that has once been destroyed can never come again into being; nor can the dead ever be brought back to life.”
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

This community as it was is dead. The way of life we knew is gone, never to be seen again. Much has happened, volunteer's decades of dedication tossed aside, residents concerns ignored & a festering distrust is growing by the day.

This community can be rebuilt but it will need a thorough house cleaning. A new foundation can never be built with someone you distrust, you will always wonder if they will undermine you again. We need a total new slate, a rebuilding of trust & a revamping of how this community is run.

We can only hope that whatever the mayor & crew has gotten us into isn't so deeply entrenched that it can't be lived with or reworked. I am afraid my crystal ball (A.K.A beer glass) is telling me the mayor & crew has written a series of cheques we won't be able to cover. The unfortunate part is that the council will get us deeper into trouble before we can clean house. As Brian Gallant has indicated on his blog, he is not about to quit, he is determined to press on & if the rest of the council has the same attitude, we are in for a world of hurt.

I have said it before, we must continue to fight, if not to preserve our way of life but to have the opportunity to rebuild what we want.

What we had may be dead but it can rise from the ashes, hopefully what we want & maybe perhaps even better.

Anonymous said...

I quote the CAO from this months "HOW WE ARE DOING IT RIGHT FOR YOU, WHICH ONE DAY YOU WILL UNDERSTAND AND APPRECIATE" Some people call it the Municipal newsletter.

I feel very fortunate to work for this wonderful Municipality and although there are many challenges that we have faced and that we have before us it is great to know that we have a team of dedicated staff committed to this Community and a Council which are equally committed and focused on fulfilling the goals that have been established. Change is difficult and perseverance takes courage and I am encouraged and very proud to work with this Council. I have worked with eight different Councils so far in my career and I must say that this Council is by far the best Council that I have worked with.

Wow! they have one vote locked up for next October.

Anonymous said...

From the municipal newsletter I received today:


The Municipality of Crowsnest Pass, Enforcement Services, wishes to remind all residents that the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass Traffic Bylaw requires residents to remove snow and ice from sidewalks adjoining their property within 48 hours. Residents are asked to not shovel snow onto municipal roadways."

This makes me cranky. I clear my walks/driveway and the municipal truck dumps ice, dirt,rocks,snow on my cleared property. Now I have to do it again, but it's harder work for me in round #2 due to the weight of the heavy ice chunks etc. And, I am not supposed to put it back on the street?! So all the dirt and rocks etc that were removed from the road are now to moved by me to my lawn??

What is wrong with this place? I do my part by clearing my walks/driveway and cringe when the municipality comes along and dumps piles of crap. This is hard work for me and I for one am sick of it. Anybody else in the same boat?


Anonymous said...

So what do businesses that have three feet of side walk between their building and the municipal road do?
Throw it in the air and hope it melts before it lands?

Anonymous said...

Most sidewalks exist on Municipal Property, therefore it must be Municipal Snow. (Think there is a bylaw regarding damaging Municipal Property). Proper remediation should not include disposal but the carefull return of such to it's rightfull owner. Please be courteous and line your cardboard boxes. :)

Anonymous said...

Its almost comical they are hiring more administrators. But at the same time not replacing front line employees.
Say what you want but you have never seen snow cleared, sewer plants operated, water leaks fixed, ice time booked, by an administrator.

Anonymous said...

"a community divided, the real fix is eleven months away"

Quite an assumption isn't it?

What if the next council is not to your liking?

Anonymous said...

There is no other council in Alerta which is liked as much as our council. No need to worry about the next council.

Anonymous said...

"a community divided, the real fix is eleven months away"

Quite an assumption isn't it?

What if the next council is not to your liking?

....Umm, maybe an absenting vote?

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:28 "What if the next council is not to your liking?"
I would take my chances with any 7 new members of council over what we have today.Prince will get my vote, Ward will get my vote, any member of the fab 4 would get mt vote.7 monkeys would get my vote before I voted for any member of this council.