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Editor,

Thank you to the editor for realizing the difference between 'want' and 'need', a talent few people seem to have, even fewer on the Meaford staff. I attempted to present a case to council regarding the effect of our much higher taxes, mostly related to the actions of some council and staff, before being stopped by the mayor, informing me that 'disparaging comments towards council or staff are not permitted'. Translation: no criticism allowed.

No wonder we're in the condition we're in. I was unaware that our rights to free speech and freedom of opinion were waived at council chambers' door. I am now, as is the Ombudsman. I don't believe I'm the only person who can't find a way to be critical without someone interpreting it as 'disparaging'. In a small nutshell, I was presenting this idea: slash staff.

Before everyone freaks out at that statement, consider the numbers. This municipality was formed in 2001 with a full time equivalent staff of 41. As of 2019, 94. Today, over 100. We have multiple managers in nearly every department. The staff list shows environment to have 4 supervisors and 4 operators. (Must be humiliating to be an environment employee.) Roads, bridges and infrastructure has a list of 4 managers, one which will not return phone calls, and three who, although friendly and helpful, seem to have no first hand experience with the equipment or maintenance practices. While I don't expect every manager to be able to spend a productive day in a backhoe or grader, a productive manager should have at least comparable knowledge to their employees.

Interspersed with the good employees are those who are unproductive and/or unqualified, yet all the complaints passed on to the staff changes nothing. I guess we condone sub-standard results.

Dealing with upper levels of government has unfortunately created a need for a few more in the offices, but this bloated staff list is inexcusable. Twenty years ago, computers and internet were slower, and more paperwork had to be printed, mailed, and filed manually, rather than electronically. Equipment used by parks and rec, and roads, were more primitive and less efficient, and winter was more severe than simply 4 months of bad golfing weather. Yet, the work got done.

Anyone insisting or believing that our staff, 2 1/2 times its original size will cause service cuts if the manpower is smaller is embarrassing themselves. Maybe it's more an issue of the staff, rather than the size of the staff. It's time for tough decisions, and I fear we only have a couple councillors willing to do it.

Bill Cameron, Bognor


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