Mayoral candidate, Ted Johnston may have been quiet for the first half of the campaign, but the first time hopeful continues to make headway with his stance on spending at City Hall. Today, Johnston issued the following release to SaultOnline.com
Hello again fellow citizens, I cannot tell you how pleased I am that salaries at City Hall now seems to be a hot topic because of my press release of October 7th, it is long overdue. More discussion please and even more importantly more ideas please. If elected Mayor I want public input, what ideas do you have to save money? To make improvements? It is your money that is being spent at City Hall, it is your future being decided… why are you so complacent and quiet?
Nobody at Parliament Hill in Ottawa nor Queen’s Park in Toronto want’s to talk about this issue of public sector wages, you have to join me in making them talk about it. We will start by discussing it here at home and coming up with our own solutions. We need to keep in mind that to criticize without offering alternatives or solutions is always pointless, you only come off sounding like an uninformed whiner. Be constructive not destructive in your criticism and offer alternatives, that is how to win. For example, I suggested October 7th that new hires at City Hall, not anyone already employed but future hires, be required to sign a salary cap agreement as a condition of employment. The proposed cap by me was 3 times the Median Income Level as set by Statistics Canada. That means that as this median rises, the cap rises right along with it. But why propose such a thing? One simple word: arbitration.
The Provincially imposed arbitration settlements are making it all but impossible for smaller cities to survive. Places like North Bay, Owen Sound, Sarnia and The Soo should never have been forced to pay Toronto wages, those small cities simply cannot afford it. AMO (the Association of Municipalities of Ontario) has been speaking out against this for years but nobody at Queen’s Park seems to be listening, not even our own MPP. The employment agreement for new hires is an idea specifically geared to circumvent this very poor and very destructive Provincial policy.
If new hires contractually agree ahead of time that their salary cap will remain even after an arbitration ruling then the city has found a way around the arbitration land mine. As Mayor I would be obligated to do everything in my power to ensure that when the Province (or Ottawa for that matter) does something detrimental, such as these arbitration rulings that nobody wants to talk about, I work to bring it to your attention and ask you to help me find a solution. If you agree with my solutions, great. If you do not then let’s hear your better ideas. As Mayor I would then champion your better idea and press Queen’s Park or Ottawa to make the improvement. Let’s start fixing the problems instead of ignoring the issues!