Chad Barrette Answers Question 20 Town Employee Performance

Question 20:  What measures would you take to ensure that the Town’s employees do their proper jobs and are accountable for their performance?

If elected I plan on lobbying for an independent customer service company to audit random people who have had dealings with town hall.  Together council and town administration can set benchmarks for customer satisfaction.  The Deloitte recommendations also state that there were no consistent job performance evaluations at town hall, these would definitely have to be set up.  Further to this though is that a heavy handed approach will have the opposite of the intended effect.  Together with the employees we have to find out what is wrong at Town Hall and why so many people are quitting.  Changing a work culture is a difficult thing, we want to encourage the leaders amongst the workers to set a good example and help ignite the others into better performance.  The administration must first provide guidance and support to the workers.  When all else fails of course employees would need to be reprimanded but let’s get at the root of the problem before we jump to conclusions that the problem is only caused by the workers.  We must also note that  changes in collective agreements have to be done in bargaining.  Working in a unionized environment I realize that these changes take time and compromise.

All answers to date are on the candidate answers page.

Chad Barrette Answers Question 19 Re Infrastructure and Services For All of Amherstburg

Chad Barrette’s answer is:

First of all, our town will not go the way of bankruptcy.  I have complete faith that we have learned our lesson and will enact the Deloitte report recommendations to set up the structures and policies needed to ensure the debt gets repaid.

How would I prioritize the infrastructure projects in Amherstburg?  I would push to have a committee made up of town  council, administration and members of a newly created finance committee to prioritize a list of our infrastructure needs.  The list would then be published as part of council’s four year plan.  The finance committee would serve as a check and balance for all estimates of revenue, development charges and budget forecasts made by the town and council and would publish our records monthly.  A committee of seven business people would also serve as a check and balance in its own group.

How would I pay for infrastructure projects?  Infrastructure projects may have to wait until we are absolutely sure that we have the revenue to pay for them.   We can increase our revenue by increasing our tax base by attracting business and residents to town.  We could also pay for the infrastructure by procuring grants from different levels of government but we must be very cautious to make sure that we have the money to pay for any of the town’s share of the grant and ongoing legacy costs of the project.  We would absolutely hold open house meetings before any major infrastructure projects to give residents a voice in the process.

Do I believe that we should sell the town shares in Essex Power Corp?  With the information that I have as of this date, no I would not sell the town’s share of Essex Power Corp.  We do make money each year from having these shares but it will take more than the Essex Power Corp money to improve our finances.  It will take the business community, town council and dedicated residents to take us to our potential.

All answers to date are on the candidate answers page.

Chad Barrette Answers Question 18 Re Police Contract Poison Pill Clause

Chad Barrette’s answer is:

As one of Canada’s safest communities, the Amherstburg Municipal Police Force  are doing a fine job and we should carefully weigh the pros and cons of replacing them with the O.P.P.. I believe in fair and sustainable contracts for all employee groups and the so called poison pill clause would make the replacement of the force with the O.P.P. very expensive indeed. I would like to see it eliminated or modified to at least eliminate the possibility of those who get picked up by the O.P.P. to not receive thousands of dollars for keeping a comparable job.

The elimination of this clause should be seriously looked at in the next set of negotiations as it is very cost prohibitive for the citizens of Amherstburg.  As  I have said in a previous post there is a new O.P.P. funding model being implemented by the province.  It would be wise to see how this new model pans out before we go searching to replace our current force.

It will be interesting to see if the current council will try to make a quick decision on the police contract before the next council is sworn in.

All answers to date are on the candidate answers page.

Chad Barrette Answers Question 17 Re Infrastructure and Services For All of Amherstburg

Chad Barrette’s answer is:

I live outside of the historical core of Amherstburg and we could use an upgrade to our park and would certainly welcome multi-use trails and sidewalks.  I can tell you that riding my bike down third concession can be nerve-racking when cars and trucks whiz by at 90 km/hr.  I believe in quality municipal infrastructure that is sustainable in the long run.  In the first three months of council I propose that we have a committee made of citizens that are representative of all areas of Amherstburg to advise council of their infrastructure wants and needs.  Council can look at the list to help guide us in our decisions in upgrading infrastructure according to need.

Although there are many infrastructure needs throughout our town, council must be aware that we are under financial constraints. We must right the fiscal ship first then we can start to reinvest in our parks and sidewalks and trails.

All answers to date are on the candidate answers page.

Chad Barrette Answers Question 13 Re Police Contract

Chad Barrette, another newly registered candidate, has answered Question 13:

As I have stated in my campaign literature I like to be transparent.  The police contract can be found on the website or just Click here for the contract.  Look at section 34 for the OPP Buyout Clause.  As I understand it, enacting a buyout clause would be quite expensive.  I won’t publish the exact figures until I can verify them.

As we have one of Canada’s safest communities under the current police structure it would seem that switching to the OPP may not be the best choice.  The current Amherstburg Police Contract is two tiered, only the Police Officers who were hired before October 15th, 2001 would get the full buy out amount even if they were not hired by the OPP.  They would receive 3 months of salary for every year or part of a year worked.  Those hired after Oct 15th, 2001 would receive 3 weeks pay per year worked but only if they are not hired by the OPP.  There are other details included that you can read about benefits and job re-training.

My concern with the OPP is the rising costs of contract settlements made by arbitrators, the salaries and benefit package amounts have been rising faster than the level of inflation. Arbitrators do not have to take into consideration the ability of municipalities to pay.  The Ontario government is currently in negotiations to change the way municipalities are billed by the O.P.P..  I believe it would be a good idea to see how this new funding model actually works in other communities before we jump into a contract with the O.P.P.

I also believe that the current council should allow the next council to decide on the police contract rather than try to rush it through before the new council arrives.