Are they really Penny pinching at City Hall?

Post by Daniel Fontaine in


Some City Hall employees are quietly asking if Vision did everything it could to pinch pennies
Some City Hall employees are quietly asking if Vision did everything it could to pinch pennies

It's been a little over 48 hours since Operation Cut and Cover was unveiled to the media with great fanfare in Vancouver. As anticipated, media reports are coming out everywhere that Vancouver is in a "financial crisis" and that its new city manager is planning some tough action. Mayor Robertson even managed to get a few digs in today about his NPA predecessors blaming them for the mess he's found himself in. This despite the fact the previous NPA council actually left him with a $15 million dollar surplus which he tucked away in the bank last year.

Probably the most laughable attacks on the NPA from Vision and their merry band of Kool-Aid drinkers relates to the impact CUPE's collective agreement is having on Vancouver's so-called "financial crisis". Curiously, Vision (the party financed by civic unions) is now blaming CUPE for seeking a rich compensation package back in 2007 when they went on strike. They claim escalating labour costs due to the collective agreement signed by CUPE is putting a lot of pressure on the bottom line.

Their public attacks on the current collective agreement are nothing short of bizarre when you consider that Vision shouted at the previous government to settle the strike at all costs! If Vision had been in government in 2007, rest assured that a 17.5% wage settlement would have been the floor, not the ceiling. And let's not forget about all those additional police officers Vision wanted to hire over the last four years. It is estimated that each officer costs taxpayers around $120,000 per year. These additional hires would have made the current financial situation that much worse.

As far as this current administration goes, it's equally important to review a few of the financial decisions they've made during the last 10 months of our Global economic meltdown. What follows is an interesting list of items that Mayor Robertson and his hand-picked City Manager didn't mention during their recent media scrums:

This is just a partial list of some financial decisions made over the last 10 months by this new Vision government. Employees who are about to lose their jobs may want to review it closely if they are wondering whether this council is truly serious about getting costs under control at Vancouver City Hall.


The $92,000 inauguration demonstrated how freely this group would be with taxpayers money. Finances and permits weren't just trending down they were free falling. Taking a page from Nero City Hall is renovating and the new City Manager appears to be building a throne room for her and the surrounding courtiers. This is fiscal management?

What a list of expenses! Why am I not reading about this in the Sun or the Globe? This whole garbage about wanting to save money is nothing but a sham. They just want to jack up taxes again and have a good excuse when they do it.

You forgot to mention the 200K/ year leprechaun from Chicago.

Incredible! Surrey Mayor [not GMgr.] announced today they will not have any deficit because they were paying attention from the start of the recession last year. Surrey is a similar population to Vancouver. What was Vancouver doing in the same period? Vancouver's Mr. Gleam prefers to look for inspiration out his office window & spend $30,000+ on an instant Gregor's Grow Op & cut ribbons while the autocratic GM conducts overviews & reviews &, then dictates staffing reductions, etc. which have not had the opportunity for debate & public scrutiny.

Wow! I am sure there are a few more expenditures that could be added to the list. eg. How about those (failed experiment) Heat Shelters? Didn't the city add some funding $$$, in addition to provincial funding? And the hidden costs of the shelters? Policing, just for one. I am sure this list of interesting financial choices will continue to grow, just as tall as the CORN growing in Gregor's Garden at city hall.

Nothing will change at City Hall until they introduce zero-based budgeting. The current system actually encourages spending.

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