Richards: City Staff at all levels should be put on notice by this new Council that they are there to serve to Citizens and not the other way around.

100 daysWe have asked Burlington residents that we know and have communicated with in our seven years of operation what they think the new city council needs to do in its first 100 days.

They get sworn in on December 3rd – tell us what you think has to be done in that first 100 days to set a new path and get out of the rut many feel the city is in.

There are a lot of people unhappy with transit; unhappy with the thinking that is coming out of the Planning department and worried about annual tax increases of around 4%

We asked the people we knew, they aren’t all friends of the Gazette, what they thought could be done and should be done.

Krista Richards doesn’t see much that she likes at city hall.

By Krista Richards
November 13th, 2018

This election we almost got a full clean sweep of council.  That is a huge message for this new council.


Lori Jivan, Acting coordinator of budget and policy patiently leads people through an explanation of the budget and the workbook the city created.

Hitting the ground running is an understatement.  The most obvious thing to deal with is the new budget.  And more to it,  how the City treats the taxpayers and Citizens of Burlington with how they spend our money.

In the past 4 years,  City Hall including past council, spent money recklessly on “nice to haves”,  3rd party contractors,  and consultants that even a high schooler could see was a waste of money.   Meanwhile Mr. and Mrs John Q Taxpayer had  City Staffers  (NOT ALL OF THEM), ignoring emails, phone calls, lying to residents, and giving favors to their friends.    And yet, no transit plan (8 years that has been talked about), infracture is horrible,  the OP,  etc etc etc.  This HAS TO STOP.

The most direct way, to start to right the ship…… control the money!   Control departmental spending, 3rd party contractors rebilling for the same job 3 times because they messed up.  Stop hiring consultants who are friends of a friend.    These few examples of  reckless spending, goes hand in hand with the Citizens of Burlington being treated like persons of servitude.   There is a great deal of money that could easily be trimmed from the budget with no loss of service.  In some respect,  services could be increased if someone actually put some effort into their department(s).

Ridge 4

City manager James Ridge

City Staff at all levels should be put on notice by this new Council that they are there to serve to Citizens and not the other way around.   New Council should be going through old budgets NOW line by line, and not just trust the staffers on what they say.  There is a lot of smoke in those lines.   While doing so,  this will send a clear message for the City Manager and staff to wake up and do their jobs, if not a lot of dead weight, bad attitude paycheck collectors needs to leave.  Making room for people honestly get what public service means and want to do it well.

The Citizens of Burlington voted for change.  We need fiscal, ethical and moral responsibility at City Hall.    If this new council accomplishes this very thing, it wont be easy but they will be well on their way to doing exactly what we elected them to do.



Return to the Front page
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

8 comments to Richards: City Staff at all levels should be put on notice by this new Council that they are there to serve to Citizens and not the other way around.

  • Dave

    Krista, I have sent the Gazette my email to forward to you. Not sure what you mean by City Email Address? (I am just an older citizen, private industry fella with no skin in the game, trying to question people making unsubstantiated accusations and to back up their words) Looking forward to details as opposed to what I have seen so far. For example, Mr Whites articles seem to be focused on a what is perceived to be a slush fund by the disgruntled factions who are so happy to clean out city hall and install a fairly inexperienced council who will soon see what governing is all about from a practical standpoint. In the real world consultants are a valuable part of seeing the whole picture. (Whether they are someone you already know or not) Can’t wait to see how this magic scalpel is wielded in light of all the promises made. I can add two plus two, but still would like to see the examples of unethical,fiscal and moral responsibility that did not occur under previous council and the Lying to residents thing, and favor to friends scenario also. Thanks

  • steven craig gardner

    I am with Dave please provide examples of these very serious almost litigious accusations you are making on peoples careers, character and professionalism. My many many experiences with city hall staff have been the opposite of what you are seeing.

  • Dave

    Krista, I would like to get caught up on this on this situation you have pointed out about city hall. Since “we need fiscal, ethical and moral responsibility at City Hall”, can you send some examples of “lying to residents” and “giving favors to their friends”. These are all pretty intense accusations and I need to get my head around it with some facts. Thanking you in advance for clarity.

  • MikeT

    First 100 days?? I noticed this terminology creep in after Ford was elected…needs to go!

    • Phillip Wooster

      You don’t like Doug Ford–we get it! What time frame did you have in mind because change–especially a cultural change in City Hall is URGENTLY needed?

    • Other Dave

      Fully agree, and was going to comment the same thing (I was thinking it was such an American thing myself). It risks setting up the new council to fail in the public’s eyes, with such an arbitrary and short-termed time period, because there’s no way they can begin to address all the things everyone wants to see changed in 100 days. In reality, this is likely what Council will be doing in the first 100 days:

      1) Housekeeping formalities: getting oriented and organized, assigning Councillors to the various committees, choosing committee chairs, getting sworn in at the Regional Council level and orienting themselves there as well.

      2) Capital budget: Reviewing, debating, modifying, approving 2019 capital budget. -December

      3) Operating budget: Reviewing, debating, modifying, approving 2019 operating budget. – January

      4) Cannabis stores: Studying and debating whether to approve or opt out of permitting cannibas stores in Burlington. – provincial opt out deadline Jan. 22

      5) Official Plan: Discussions with Halton Region about recalling the OP submitted earlier in the year for revisement by the new council, or otherwise laying the groundwork for amending the document (and possibly getting the Transportation Plan process started).

      6) Development applications: Dealing with immediate development applications that are before them that may have to be negotiated, accepted, or challenged at LPAT, until a new OP is in place which will give us more control over intensification and height.

      Definitely, what the new council does need to do in the first 100 days is demonstrate to the public an improved approach — more actual listening; transparency with development applications by keeping the public involved from the beginning; a more welcoming and respectful environment in council chambers free from political grudges and disrespect toward other councillors, staff, or citizen delegates; taking strides to mitigate taxes (might not be enough time with this budget to make big changes, but watch for 2020).

      Don’t expect council to come in and “put staff on notice”. It would be foolish to immediately alienate the very people they depend upon to run the city, especially when several councillors are new to the job and need to learn from them about how the city works and the issues. Instead, if council wants staff to take a different approach, they need to work with them over the next year to get to a shared vision for the city. If after that there is conflict, then changes may be necessary.

      In summary, give the new Council a chance! 100 days is WAY too short to assess if Burlington is headed in a better direction. Give them at least 6-months to a year to prove themselves. They’ve got an enormous amount of work on their plate.