Stories in last week’s Midland Mirror and Our Midland.ca don’t paint a pretty picture of the goings on at town hall, surprise, surprise. Layoffs and firings, coupled with golden parachutes, friction between some council members and staff paint a rather ugly picture of how the town finds itself deep in debt.
Known for its dozens and dozens of secret in-camera meetings, the veil has been pulled back so ratepayers can see a council rife with often what appears to be pretty poor intentions.
In a story that the Mirror was slow to cover, but finally did, they reported on the near 1/2 million tax dollars wasted by Council and senior staff as they fired and retired senior staff members and casually wrote cheque after cheque in severance and golden parachutes to those dismissed after years of faithful service – only to replace most of them. The Deputy Mayor tried to downplay the amount by stating that $300,000 of the $500,000+ was the cost of doing away with local police dispatch. Oddly the FOI request that a citizen made to get the numbers from the Town should not have included the police payoffs since the dispatchers were not employees of the Town of Midland! Mike Ross should know this as he sits on the police service board and likely negotiated the deal to begin with. More distraction and subterfuge by our next mayoral hopeful. Not looking good on him.
One wonders who much the severance will be in this year’s budget for the ex-CAO.. or how much tax money is set aside for salary continuations instead on one-time severance payments. This Council is anything but forthcoming about the true impact to ratepayers and continues to hide their actions at in-camera meetings. Funny we don’t hear a peep about this blundering waste of tax dollars from our local “cut taxes” and “stop tax waste” community group. Their silence over the months is telling.
In the story that the Mirror ran about the aforementioned ex CAO, it seems that Mike Ross blabbed a confidential severance amount for Carolyn Tripp, said to be 9 months salary. In addition he divulged the vote was 8-1 in favour of terminating her. While we love to get particulars, he can’t elaborate since he spoke about confidential information in the first place. What is going on in chambers? Tripp was quoted as cautioning Midland “The people of Midland will have some decisions to make in two years’ time for the betterment of the town, and I would love to see that.”
When one tries to compare this council to those say back to 1960, this particular council seems to have had more than its share of negative press. Probably more than the water throwing council meeting of decades ago. As the local media digs deeper into what makes this council tick, it is expected more dysfunction will surface…..stay tuned, this story is far from over.