Provenzano Takes Aim at Ring’s Business Record

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Mayor Christian Provenzano

Throughout Sault Ste. Marie’s election campaign, Mayoral challenger Rory Ring has criticized the financial management of Mayor Provenzano and City Council. Mr. Ring has also made audacious claims about what he would accomplish as Mayor based on his leadership ability, business knowledge, and financial expertise. As such, it is important and relevant for voters to consider Mr. Ring’s record in past business leadership positions.

Here are the facts: before moving to Sault Ste. Marie, Mr. Ring worked as the President and CEO of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, a role he began in December 2012. A look at official documents from the Sarnia Lambton Chamber shows there were obvious financial challenges during Mr. Ring’s tenure:

  • In 2013, during Mr. Ring’s first full year on the job, the Sarnia Lambton Chamber posted a drop in revenues of $55,354 compared to 2012—a decrease of almost 10%. Revenues would remain stagnant in 2014 and 2015.
  • In 2013,the Sarnia Lambton Chamber finished the year with a deficit of $24,255;
  • In 2014, the organization’s year-end deficit had grown to $38, 711;
  • In 2015, the Sarnia Lambton Chamber closed the year with a deficit of almost $80,000 ($79,434).

As reported by media sources in Sarnia, Mr. Ring abruptly parted ways with the Sarnia Lambton Chamber in September 2015. The Sarnia Lambton Chamber then hired a new CEO that did not have any Chamber experience and enjoyed a quick financial turn-around in 2016, posting a $32,000 surplus.

After leaving the Sarnia Lambton Chamber, Mr. Ring’s next role was with the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce (SSMCOC). SSMCOC General Manager Shelly Barich announced her intention to retire in October 2015. Mr. Ring succeeded her as SSMCOC’s Executive Director in February 2016.

Mr. Ring’s record with the SSMCOC shows similarities to his time in Sarnia. In the SSMCOC’s 2016-2017 annual report, the Treasurer’s report notes that, “Despite a strong aim for profit, the Chamber fell short on its expectations with expenses exceeding revenue.” It is further noted that the Chamber also missed its growth target in memberships and was slightly below the previous year, but that an increase in fees offset some of the revenue loss.

The tough times for the SSMCOC continued in 2017 and 2018. In 2017, the Chamber’s popular Sports and Outdoor Expo was cancelled. In May 2018, it was reported in the local media that the SSMCOC was laying off three of its five staff, leaving just Mr. Ring and one other employee working at the 129 year-old institution.

Mayor Christian Provenzano remarked, “I appreciate the challenges that come with leading an organization like a Chamber of Commerce. I’m a small business-owner myself; I have nine employees at my firm and I know the importance of making payroll every two weeks.

“But challenges aside, there is more flexibility and freedom when managing a small business or organization than in governing a municipality. By law, Ontario municipalities cannot operate at a deficit. By law, Ontario municipalities cannot borrow money to fund operations. Many City services are legally mandated and many expenses—such as levy boards—are outside of Council’s budgetary or administrative control.

“Mr. Ring’s record with the Sarnia Chamber of Commerce and the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce demonstrates why he will be unable to deliver on his promises. It is a matter of fact that Mr. Ring has a consistent record of decreasing revenues and increasing expenses. This type of record does not lead to lower taxes—it will lead to higher ones. This type of record also does not lead to more jobs. Quite the opposite, it leads to less jobs,” concluded Provenzano.

Attached Graphic: Year-end financial results for the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce from 2012-2016. Screen capture taken from the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce 2016 Annual Report, pg. 9.

Source: https://slchamber.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/annual-report-2016.pdf

18 COMMENTS

  1. The most important issues continue to get covered up and/or ignored as though there is going to be some magical solution.

    Definitely in my mind while candidates come forth before being able to govern really as in the past .

    I really do not expect some quick fix or majic at all.

    My motive and purpose is good without a doubt in my mind .

    My perspective is not from a religious or legalistic standpoint. Nor am I trying to start a religion or my own set of laws or promote hatred for anyone.

    All my communication is with all due respect and credit in sincere good will of the real kind.

  2. Wow a newcomer rolls into town with what I would say were few credentials considering his management of the Sarnia/Lambton COC and campaigns on more jobs and money. Now some ratepayers are calling dirty pool for someone with facts exposing this. I would say if he hadn.t checked him out he shouldn’t be our mayor. Mr. Rory Ring’s handling of the Sault Ste Marie COC again speaks to the same issue when revenue is down, expenses up and jobs are lost.

  3. He is simply laying out the record of Rory Ring. These are facts, not suppositions. Ring has not proven himself a good commodity, and until such, should not be our mayor. Provenzano has done the best he could with the lemons he was given.

  4. Live Mayoral debate tonight!
    Superior Heights 7pm seating for 150
    See it live and in person.
    Lots of good questions needing answers.

  5. Glad to see the present Mayor speak. It’s too bad he didn’t have enough in him to investigate more when the former Fire chief fed him and council the full line of BS with his fire-plan. The fact is the present mayor and council wouldn’t listen to anyone with information back then that didn’t suit them. Now it seems like information suits them, when they are running for office. I recall the Mayor taking about how poorly things were handled with the Algoma Public health scandal, yet he soon forgets about how they handled things like daycare, bussing and Fire services.

  6. Whoever becomes mayor will have to come up with the $3 million dollars a year starting in 2019 that Algoma isn’t paying anymore. The hard question for our next mayor is: Where is that lost $3 million dollars a year coming from?

    Is it coming from:

    * Residential taxpayers,
    * business taxpayers (like it is now),
    * service cuts,
    * efficiencies (remember we’re talking $3 million a year),
    * payroll cuts, or what?

    Nobody’s platform tells us where this $3 million dollars is coming from in 2019, and, personally, I’d like a clear answer before I vote.

  7. Facts are facts people. Mr. Ring can attack Mayor Provenzano about his work it is only fair that Christian do the same. Very good information to know choosing a leader for our community!

    • Except we aren’t voting for duh leader. Liberals like to thinks so, sheeple like that sort of thing but the reality is that mayor is only the chair of council and holds no more power than any other councilor. Ring isn’t attacking just pointing out the merely obvious.

      • I know he is only a vote along with the other councillors. Mayor Provenzano is only pointing out the facts on Mr Ring not attacking. If he were to attack him I’m sure he would ask who is pulling his strings? ‘An ex-liberal MPP’ who has a beef with the city because he was overlooked for the CAO job? Hmmmmm! Food for thought!

  8. And who started the dirty pool?
    Why is it that at election time such propaganda begins..
    There is a way to present things and not this way ..
    We should weigh the positive against the negative.. anyone can make promises but it is the delivery at the end..
    Just look at prior portfolios ..

Comments are closed.