Home Announcements Councillor Strathearn Demands Town Staff Cuts
Councillor Strathearn Demands Town Staff Cuts

Councillor Strathearn Demands Town Staff Cuts

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Some perspective and background before we begin… The local lobby group, MidlandCommunity.ca (whom many have renamed to MidlandCUTmunity.ca) is the brainchild of Roy Ellis, Stewart Strathearn and George Dixon.  They have been highly critical of past councils for not bending to their wills or running the community the way that they see fit.

They mounted a successful campaign to support their hand-chosen candidates for election last fall.  Of them, most notably is Stewart Strathearn from Ward 3 (Sunnyside), who sits on a variety of important boards including the police services board and the library board, to name but two.

George Dixon, one of the most outspoken founders, who’s rants are all available for public consumption at www.midlandcommunity.ca did not seek office but was successful in securing the chair’s seat on the Midland Police Services board after having spent two years maligning the board for their inadequacies and even calling their actions illegal.  Since he’s taken the reigns, he’s doing the exact same things that he complained so bitterly about when he was on the outside looking in… namely holding countless in-camera meetings where there is no oversight or public accountability as well as awarding the police a 7% raise over three years after promising, along with Strathearn, to hold the line at 0%.

Roy Ellis, who was so vocal for the past few years, and also chose not to run for election where he would only have one vote, has fallen silent as of late, preferring to defer the MidlandCommunity updates (sent to their e-mail subscribers) to other party faithful members.  Roy has taken a co-chair seat on the Economic Development Corporation of North Simcoe (EDCNS) that he co-founded with the chair Kevin Cowie (another lobby group member).  Since then, he has been lobbying as usual with the now former CAO as well as pushing council for more funding for his pet project that has yet to produce anything of substance for Midland (and the surrounding communities who are also supposed to chip in dollars along with the County of Simcoe).

Now it seems that Roy has secured one of the two “citizen” positions on the selection committee whose role will be to fill the interim role of CAO replacing the one who was terminated suddenly just over a month ago.  During her tenure, the past CAO was known to be meeting almost weekly with Roy Ellis as he lobbied for his group’s special interests.  It comes as no surprise that he would find himself on the committee responsible for selecting the next CAO…

Their lobby group has long been called “Midland’s Back Council” and any of the puppetry artwork published over the months clearly implies that the invisible puppet master is this unelected lobby group with what many feel is un-healthy, undemocratic and unethical access to the local politicians and their decisions in chambers.

Now, it should come as no surprise that when the group’s mandate to cut taxes and control what they perceive as waste in Council, town offices and departments started to rub the past CAO the wrong way, that she should find herself kicked to the curb and soon to be the beneficiary of a substantial severance and its accompanying non-disclosure agreement.

Let’s move forward a bit to the council meetings as of late… we see the Mayor’s failed attempts to push through cuts to achieve the 75th percentile tax rate by means other than those supported by MidlandCommunity.ca’s leadership, so they have their inside man, Stewart Strathearn, arrive at a meeting with a carefully constructed motion to kill the whole process thus far since it did nothing to address their desire to cut wages and benefits from town employees.

The rest of council, eager to kill that fool’s errand which was causing them so much grief outside of chambers, happily supported that motion even knowing that it meant that there would be a new one with cuts aimed squarely at town staffers.  It was a means to an end and to the Mayor’s dismay, it passed.  The mayor then started calling his councillors and tried to get them back on board, concerned about the lack of cohesion in council that was forming around the divisive policies being considered.

At last Monday’s council meeting we saw Councillor Strathearn return with a desire to carve $1.5 million dollars from the staff wages and benefits to fund other things – such as EDCNS (hmmmm).   He did not say how he intended to find that much money from wages and benefits but his plan should soon be evident as he returns with some plan on how to manage those cuts…  could it be job elimination (more severance), maybe job pay reduction (make everyone minimum wage?), or remove benefits from employees?

Is it a coincidence that Council needs $1.5 million dollars to “re-allocate” to other areas (un-named) when that is the amount we estimate they will have to pay out in severances for their recent rash of forced retirements and terminations?

We will have to wait and see what plan the lobby group crafts for him to present to council.  Concurrent to that exercise, we have Mr. Ellis on the selection committee looking to find the perfect “patsy” who he can influence much as he is reported to have done with the last CAO.   Money will flow into his EDCNS project, he will have control over the CAO, he still has his relationships with the Mayor and several other councillors and he has his MidlandCommunity blog to reach out and push the mandate to his followers.

Funny how we have yet to read any disdain for his fellow founding partners’ (Strathearn & Dixon) inability to hold the line on police wages, nor do we read any cries of foul over the millions spent on severance for those who have been fired or retired over the past two years.  Those payouts alone could make up the $1.5 million they now seek to extract as pounds of flesh from the backbone of the town’s labour force.

We are being governed, for the most part, by Roy Ellis’ lobby group.  Will this be allowed to continue unchecked?

Local media is actively uninterested in pursuing these connections and won’t ask the simple questions surrounding all that is wrong with our local political scene – we keep hoping that they will.  Perhaps the voters and residents are concerned?  Perhaps not, but we bring you the facts for your consideration and any action that you deem appropriate.

Here is a story published by our local newspaper: http://www.simcoe.com/news-story/6381946-councillor-presses-for-hiring-freeze-by-town-of-midland/

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Comment(10)

  1. I have the highest respect for the efforts and experience of the people you crucify in here. What pray tell is their special secret interest? An article like you have written here is focused solely on special interest and not community interest. The people you slam are trying to help Midland grow its economy by taking action. If you don’t like Plan A that they provide, what is your plan B? These people are your neighbours, working countless volunteer hours, show some respect in your communications.

    1. Bob, I have been out of the loop for a bit, due to having to move from my hometown after they went after my job. My understanding is that they are trying to slash wages all over the place, and cut jobs in order to save money. Have they created any jobs, or presented any concrete options on how to help Midland grow?

  2. Bob Kafato, we are only stating the facts. If we knew what his/their agenda truly is, we’d publish it. That is a guarded secret it seems.

    The way we see it is that we elect councillors to do the will of the community at large, and not serve a small few with money and influence. We struggle as a Province and as a Country to hold those politicians accountable and expect far more accountability and transparency from our Municipal politicians since they are in the community, of the community and their gaze should not overreach our community.

    While your ardent support for them is crystal clear, perhaps you could offer up your perspective on the subject of this post… go through the facts we have published, and comment on those rather than simply posting the equivalent to a “Go Trump” response.

    As a businessman, do you support the huge severance being paid to those dismissed without cause? Do you support the legal expenses surrounding those decisions? Do you know where that money is coming from? Where is it in the budget draft? How much would you expect to pay the CAO to keep quiet and dissuade litigation? Are you ok with unelected lobbyists who’s motives are unclear pushing our elected officials to dance to their drum? Do you support the gutting of services from the community to achieve lower taxes for the 1%? Where do you stand on the MPUC sale vs the profits we enjoy in perpetuity especially now that we see the Provincial minister backing away from his position encouraging such sales?

    Let’s have some real dialogue here and some of your input rather than carte-blanche support for a group who have far more influence and control over this community than can be argued is healthy – without an elected mandate for same.

    Surely, you must see some things wrong here and you cannot argue against the facts we have laid out plainly in post after post. Do you truly believe that Roy et al are the cure for Midland? If so, where can we get a glass of that kool-aid so we can shut down this website and go back to the good news stories in our local paper.

  3. Our Midland.ca carried two front page stories back to back, one about Trump and Hitler and the other other about let us say, a small group of string pullers. One can’t recall in recent memory, or for that matter back further, that there was ever a very small group of self-serving individuals in the case of Trump and local politics who have been able to stir up sheer nonsense, where it has never been required before.

    It’s odd, how small pockets of trouble makers seem that they and only they know what is best for Midland. In some cases they are relative newcomers compared to generations of locals. What is behind all of this madness has never been made quite clear. Vested interests seem to be part of their mayhem, why, who knows but Midlanders can guess.

    What is odd and we need to repeat the above again, it seems probably less than a dozen mostly non-elected individuals want to think for the rest of us, promote their own agenda, and really believe to hell with the rest of the municipality. History will show they have backed more than one horse they wish now they hadn’t supported, but in politics that’s the name of the game.

    Thank goodness there are not enough string pullers that the town’s flag and motto would have to be changed including a ball of sturdy string. So as life merrily goes on in town, one should take their claptrap with a grain of salt. They have ever right to spill their silly useless stuff just like Trump but nobody has to treat it more than it is—-self severing verbal excrement.

  4. Council members each receive benefits as well as salary. This is not a full time job and in the past, council members and the mayor considered themselves as volunteers and anxious to do the best for the community. And as for midlandcommunity.ca, they are a lobby group and as such can be dangerous to democracy as all lobby groups often are. These groups do not have to look at the whole picture or the whole community but just push their single agenda. We have elected our council to represent all of the people of Midland not just the lobby groups who seem to have unlimited access and involvement with city hall. Hopefully caution will reign amongst council members to carefully scrutinize any and all ideas coming from lobby groups. Midland is a small town of 17,000 with a small town gentleness about it. Hopefully we don’t lose that.

  5. Maybe instead of giving parkland away they should of at least sold it maybe it would save on cut backs on service we need in our town

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Councillor Strathearn Demands Town Staff Cuts

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