Blame…and Credit

April 4, 2014

Anyone who knows me has heard me repeat many times that the most frustrating part of local politics is that Council is “to blame for everything, but gets credit for nothing.” Never has this been more true than this week.

The recent judge’s ruling in the Urbacon case is a blow to all of us, inside and outside of City Hall.   I won’t sugar-coat how I feel: angry, disappointed, and frustrated to say the least.   Until I understand the reasons behind the decision, there is no point in me offering any commentary about the case.

However, it is an election year and the ripeness of opportunity was just too tempting for some candidates.  Blame was swift and aimed squarely at the Mayor and the 2008 Council.

To help you navigate the blame game, here are some facts:

  • Council does not manage or oversee construction tenders, contracts or capital building projects
  • A decision to terminate a construction contract is not a Council decision
  • The Urbacon contract was terminated September 19, 2008
  • There was NO resolution or direction to staff from Council to terminate Urbacon
  • The matter was brought to Council in Closed Session on October 27, 2008

This is the governance context under which the Urbacon decision occured.  Despite these facts, in the minds of many constituents, “the buck stops here” will always rest with Council, whether we have the authority to receive the buck or not.

But since we are playing the blame game, let’s hand out some credit too.  Afterall, 98% of capital projects are completed on-time and on-budget, without litigation.

  • The new Organic Waste facility was under-budget and ahead of schedule.  Way to go Mayor Farbridge and Council!
  • The award-winning new Provincial Court House (old City Hall) was on-budget and on-time.  Thank you, thank you very much.  Please, hold the applause.
  • $99 million in infrastructure projects completed in ONE season, $48 million funded from grants, roads kept open, on-time and on budget with no litigation.  It was the largest single season infrastructure renewal effort EVER undertaken in Guelph (remember “Guelph Remastered” in 2011?   You’re welcome, really, it was nothing.

Disclaimer:  yes, I am being tongue in cheek.  But I think you get my point.  When blame is due, I can take it, it’s part of the job.  But if vultures plan to use it for electioneering, get the facts straight, and spread a little credit too.