Jim Barnett wants to tighten things up at city hall during the first 100 days of a new municipal government.

100 daysWith a new municipal government getting ready to assume power the question is – what will they do first?

What are the big issues?

In an exclusive interview with Mayor Elect Marianne Meed Ward before the election she said that her goals were set out in her campaign platform which we pointed out was just a piece of paper.
Governing is far more fluid; one never knows what is going to crop up on any given day.

We asked the readers of the Gazette what they thought the new council should attempt to get done in its first hundred days.

Here are some of their thoughts.

By Jim Barnett
November 8th, 2018

1. Put very tight controls on the city manager.

2. Instruct the planning department to only submit projects for consideration that meet the conditions in the current official plan.

3. Remove all references to the notion of a downtown mobility hub.

Parking lot 3 BEST

More parking suggests Jim Barnett – where?

4. Prevent any reduction in downtown parking and increase the provisions for new construction to 25% more that is in current planning documents.

5. Before any building permits are issued in the downtown area a comprehensives transit plan with numbers be presented to and accepted by council.

6. A review of staff salaries and perks with the purpose of bring them in line with other jurisdictions.

7. Limit tax increases for the city to less than inflation.

8 integrate school land usage into the cities requirement.

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12 comments to Jim Barnett wants to tighten things up at city hall during the first 100 days of a new municipal government.

  • Murray Charlton

    It’s a good idea to compare salaries with other jurisdictions. What I see looking at Hamilton is that some of their best people are now in Toronto. And we have had people leave here too for better pastures elsewhere. What do we want? Quality staff or not? We need quality people and must pay them well. On the other hand all staff must deliver efficiency.
    As to the desire to have City staff interact with the public in the nicest way all the time I simply observe that this is not the behavior we see in each other sitting in traffic or in many other situations. Get it! Staff are not robots they are real people not actors, and when they see the same old winge coming forth about why there isn’t a boot scraper outside City Hall or similar maybe they can be forgiven for a somewhat less than enthusiastic response as the rest of us would hope to be..

  • Eva Amos

    One problem with downtown parking is, builders are not providing enough parking spaces in their buildings. I understand residents can now purchase monthly parking permits in municipal lots for their second car, reducing the number of already limited parking spaces available for the rest of the Burlington residents wishing to come downtown and support the restaurants and businesses.

  • LoverofLiberty

    I disagree with a few of your points Centerline, #6 is absolutely necessary to get rid of the dead weight paycheck collectors that treat citizens like they are above anyone else. #7 is possible, if the city and council actually looked at things like the poor job 3rd party contractors do etc. This city burns a lot of money foolishly. Perhaps new council will drill down into some of these departments and see how to use money more wisely. Again, it is dead weight employee issue.
    They do not look at the details and let money fly out the door because “that is the way we have always done it.”

  • steven craig gardner

    Why is everyone seemingly pickin on all city hall staff? I understand people perhaps upset with 6he city manager and perhaps some of the planners, but i deal with many groups at city hall and I find them all to be very good at there job, very accomodating and always very friendly. So i think we are seeing the old paintng all city hall staff with the same brush which is not accurate or fair. Burlington is a great city has been for years will be for years to ocme a portion of thta greatness come from the great staff at city hall. People should also remember to be cicil in there dealings with city hall staff a number of folks need remove that massive chip they carry on their shoulders.

  • Stephen White

    Some interesting ideas. I’m not quite sure what Jim means when he says in section 4 “increase the provisions for new construction to 25% more…”. Is that referring to planning?

    Over and above the review of salaries and perks what is desperately needed is a full organizational review of Burlington’s municipal government structure. To start with I would suggest a one year moratorium on all new hiring. Some serious benchmarking with municipalities of comparable size should occur to determine how the City’s organizational structure and compensation packages compare. Tied into this should be a review of the City’s performance management structure. Two key performance indices should be included are the ability of public servants to interact effectively with citizens, and how effectively they adhere to the principles of citizen engagement. The public is not only the primary audience and recipient of many services, but also the client….a concept many at City Hall don’t appear to have grasped particularly well.

  • Centerline

    Jim Barnett, must be living in some sort of Fantasyland.
    For example #6, if he is thinking that will roll back wages and benefits, Burlington’s job categories below the level of Senior Management, have historically paid less then surrounding Municipalities.
    #2, Planning applications cannot be held back if the applicant wants to proceed, that’s what the appeals process is for.
    #7, Unrealistic. There are so many fixed costs to running a City Corporation on a day to day basis, unless you want service cuts to cover costs.
    #8 has been in place already for decades, look at the joint use properties in use now.

    • Phillip Wooster

      Jim, what is unrealistic about bringing in “zero-based budgeting” in which every program and line item is carefully analyzed? Currently, departments are working on “last year +” which is not budgeting. Even Goldring, in a last-minute election ploy, argued in favour of zero-based budgeting. And as part of this approach, compensation levels paid to senior staff and employees need to be examined. I sure hope you are not arguing about preserving the status quo.

    • Kevin

      For #6 he doesn’t say anything about rolling back wages and benefits, just bringing them in line with surrounding municipalities. This could mean raises.

      For #2 I partially agree with you. When City Staff makes recommendations to council it is to approve or reject the application based on “good planning” and compliance with with the OP, PPS and Places to Grow Act. They still need to submit all applications for consideration, what needs to change is recommendations being made to approve applications that are not compliant. Appeals should be mitigated by their recommendations if they are done correctly, appeals are very costly for both tax payers and private residents/developers and if recommendations are rock solid in policy (aka staff doing their mandated job) there would be nothing to appeal.