Thursday, October 3, 2013

Getting down to the final strokes, Council Oct 1

My reflection of Tuesday night’s meeting and what jumped out:

Minutes of the previous council meeting Councilor Saje pointe out that the minutes failed to reflect some of the costs on the failed Medican deal. The $130 for advertising the open house in the papers, and the $500 spent on the PR consultant were not included.

CAO Report of Activities:

CAO will be bringing back to council soon Action/Timelines to respond to the Municipal Inspection.
There will be a meeting on Oct 23 to address the Workplace Assessment study.
The CLC demolition should be complete prior to the end of the month (I suspect by Oct 20th)
Residents should be receiving the Recreation Surveys in the mail shortly.
Departments are preparing for the 2014 budget review.
Administration will be in contact with their municipal Insurance shortly to see how much rates will jump for next year.
12 members of the Fire Department passed their NFPA 1001 training.
CAO briefing meeting Councilor Saje questioned how you could have actions and timelines for meeting where no motions or directives can be given, the CAO responded that those were his own actions/timelines.
There were three calls made to various government agencies regarding the CLC site all were checked out, and found to have no validity to them.
Councilor Gail congratulated Fire Chief Munshaw on what a great job he has done.
Tender for winter sand was not filled by the successful bidder, sand will be delivered by another company falling within budget.

Investment Task Force Initiative;

The Economic Development and Tourism Board is putting in place a short term Task Force to investigate the possibility of finding Investments/Investors for the Best Western and Crowsnest Crossing site.

Human Resources Administrator Position:

On the Municipal Web site this position as been advertised and still is for at least a month this was questioned at the previous council meeting as it was never approved by council. Administration felt that in light of all the labor relations problems they were having despite the position being vacant for 15 months it was now of a emergent nature to fill the position. They proposed to pay for it by using the wages saved from the Director of Protective services position not being filled until the end of the year. Then find the money for next year in the 2014 budget. We were also informed surprisingly that the position will become full time as of Jan 1. The question was asked by Councilor Saje why the job was advertised prior to being approved by council, the only answer he got was that was an error.
As this point Councilors Saje, Saindon, Gallant and Gail felt that it would be out of line for this council to fill this position this close to the election, felt that it should be left for next council. Councilor Saindon made very good arguments in regards to this issue that I felt were bang on. Council voted down administrations recommendation and suggested that they bring it back to the next council.
Comment: Council did not take a similar position (with the exception of Saindon and Saje) to spending an unbudgeted $600,000 just a few months prior to the election to demolish the centre.

Before any one jumps down my throat (I support the demolition) It should have been done either last year when it was budgeted, or early next year when it could have been built into the 2014 budget.


Anonymous said...

"...the position will become full time as of Jan 1."

A full time position but they are advertising it as part time?

Seems to me we would get a lot more and better qualified applicants if it was advertised as full time.

Anonymous said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the budget for 2014 already done? I thought they did a 3 year budget?

Anonymous said...

Let's see--- they can change a position to full time and "find" the money in the new budget, which was to be 3 years. At the same time they are using the vacant Director position to pay for the "part time" human resources position. JUST HOW MANY VACANT POSITIONS, OUTSIDE ONES INCLUDED, ARE BEING USED TO COVER THE COSTS OF THE BLOATED ADMINISTRATION?

It is obvious that several of the senior admin positions are not needed and musical chairs are being used to defray overspending. What a way to run a ship and justify the screwups.

Anonymous said...

"(the demolition) should have been done either last year when it was budgeted, or early next year when it could have been built into the 2014 budget."

They took funding from the Culture, Rec & Heritage capital budget, but didn't cut items from that budget.

How does that work - can they just quietly leave it to Administration to decide on cuts to programs Council voted for? Without even a resolution directing Administration to do that?

Anonymous said...

They are also discussing the Farmer report and making "actionable" recommendations at the "secret CAO briefing meetings," formerly known as the "Administrative Meetings.". And the CAO does not see the irony of reporting it in public just after the report says no such improper meetings are taking place. Go figure.

Anonymous said...

Time to hijack these blogs, there is a shockingly low number of votes for our community's initiative to get a new chairlift at Pass Powderkeg. One that would improve skiing but also make downhill biking in the summer a reality.

Let's all quit bad mouthing everyone/everything for a second and do something good. I know you all have the internet, put a vote in everyday. Show me this is a great place to live, don't just tell me.

Anonymous said...

So administration posts a job that is not approved by council for two months, then council puts the job on hold Oct 1. Here we are despite council turning the position down on Oct 4 and the position is still being advertised.
Who is in charge?

Anonymous said...

8:19 :
As noted above, they diverted $250,000 of the $1,500,000 Culture, Rec & Heritage funding to the demolition. Granted that had to be done sometime, but wouldn't you rather they chopped the entrance features or the Best Western giveaway instead?

Anonymous said...

"We have reviewed all the recommendations and looked at solutions and timelines. The inspection had no directives from the Minister. Some will be completed this year but others will fall into next year. A complete list with solutions and timelines will be sent to the Minister and a copy will be available to the public in the next week or two.

Anonymous said...


The entrance signs are not a horrible idea. Most people in the world don't live in Crowsnest, and there are a lot of negative opinions out there (right or wrong) about this place. The new signs might get people to say "hey, maybe there is something going on here, I should check it out rather simply dismiss it like I have for the last 30 years." Have to look professional or no one will take you seriously.

The demo was probably smart too, as if nothing else, it cleans the place up. It also removes a potential barrier to investment.

The Best Western giveaway was silly, to put it mildly. But it's been done now and $50k doesn't even pay for the heli time to put in a new ski lift, so let's focus on what we CAN do, because a new lift here would push bike trail development even further and make this place a real destination. A new lift would be something investors might look at and determine that it is actually worth putting money into this place. It would do a far better sales job than any number of EDOs or Councillors or Mayor could ever do. Actions speak louder....

Anonymous said...

Would it not be money better spent to hide the East entrance mess, the west Coleman mess and the Drain mess first, seem from the road? Will you remember the "nice" sign or the eyesore you just drove by, and still say " wow, what a place to stop".

Bet there wouldn't be much criticism doing this.

Anonymous said...

There are as many ideas on how to spend $200k as there are people, and maybe that would have been better, but it's been spent now. And it was a grant. Let's take our nice new entrance signs and move forward. Let's figure out ways to leverage that into further investment. Let's find a way and some money to clean up the general mess that is everywhere. Let's get a new lift at the ski hill and give everyone an economic reason to start cleaning themselves up on their own. That always work better than hiding or constant enforcing anyway.

Council's decisions should be evaluated, but we also shouldn't dwell and hang on to the "if only they did..." because that will certainly never get anything done.

Anonymous said...

The point I was trying to make, the ski-lift promoters should be publicly campaigning and lobbying at budget time and election time for a slice of that $1,500,000 Culture, Rec & Heritage fund and raise hell if it is diverted to something like the demolition. I can't find the amounts for previous years.

I asked Gallant on his blog where the money went. You can read his informative reply.

My reply to his question (in which he misrepresented Dean's statement) is still awaiting moderation since September 26.

He has a new post:

Takes credit for lots of "positive" things Council had nothing to do with. Doesn't take blame for anything negative, of course.

Not much concrete and useful. I wasn't expecting a shiny new rec centre but you'd think there would be something they could point to after three years.

Anonymous said...


We all agreed we should not dwell except this is election time, now people are accountable.
Do not put to much weight into the grant thing. The MSI funding could be spent on so many different things.

Anonymous said...

I think the ski lift is the most important thing, bar none, that would promote our community, big time.

Anonymous said...

Our Mayor will appoint a Task Force to study this idea and report to Council so he can make an informed decision.

Anonymous said...

Anon oct 4, 12:13 pm. What an apologist for the regime and mayor. They make wrong decision afer decision that have a financial and other negative impact, and you try to justify these by saying, let's just move on. Now we have to find some money to do other higher priority things. With your attitude no wonder we are broke. Perhaps the Seniors Centre can get hit up for another $100,000 next year?

Wonder where the EDO is regarding the ski hill, still out there looking for a Best Western builder. But hey that $10,000 is spent so let's just move on.

Anonymous said...

We need some controls at the municipal office before they drive us into bankruptcy.

To say they at least are doing something does not cut it. They are cherry-picking through a very vague strategic plan and everything is going "according to this plan." Dr. Decoux may boast operation was successful, but the patient died.

Anonymous said...

"moving on", "looking ahead", "going forward" - buzzwords meaning "we screwed up, it can't be fixed and we don't want to talk about it".

Anonymous said...

They are all running on their record. A council which had a municipal review that found an entirely broken civic administration is running on its record. Obviously they are not reading the report. They have built an expensive administration which is not working properly, and they want to finish what they started. Unbelievable!

Anonymous said...

Emile says on his blog today:
"the plan is to have this brought to the next council meeting to discuss and send it off."

That's October 15.

So why did he tell us on Oct 04 :
"We have reviewed all the recommendations ... A complete list with solutions and timelines will be sent to the Minister and a copy will be available to the public in the next week or two."

Have "We" changed the plan since Oct. 4?

Possibly just a lazy sloppy choice of words.