Public Health qualifies for $21 million in provincial subsidies no matter where the Public Health Department chooses to locate their offices.
By Graham Crawford
Published March 05, 2012
So according to Andrew Dreschel, the Board of Education deal has been sweetened?
Thanks to provincial subsidies, the city's total financial contribution is now pegged around $26.1 million instead of the $47 million or so that's been bandied around for months.
The bulk of the $26.1 million consists of a $20-million capital grant from the city to help Mac build the facility and acquire the property from the school board.
The other $6.1 million is the cost of public health services leasing space within the Mac campus over 30 years - down from an estimated $24.5 million to $27 million.
Robert Rossini, general manager of finance, attributes the tumbling to about $18.4 million in provincial subsidies to help relocate and house public health.
For me, this "sweetener" leaves a very bitter aftertaste. Perhaps that's because it's not a sweetener at all, but rather an existing provincial subsidy that pre-dates the Board of Education debate.
I have to say I'm growing very concerned about staff behaviour. Here are a few examples:
They miss deadlines related to the construction of infrastructure projects that cost taxpayers millions.
They tell Council the swing space is not a deal breaker, yet McMaster tells Council it is.
They don't inform a major landlord we're leaving (The Right House).
They don't get any competitive bids for space (including swing space) for Public Health, only Yale Properties.
They negotiate a deal, as yet unsigned, with a landlord (Yale Properties) that is suing the City of Hamilton, which is against our own stated policy.
They neglect to inform Council that Public Health qualifies for $21 million in provincial subsidies, no matter where the Public Health Department chooses to locate their offices (24 hours before Council has to vote on this deal).
They use the media (Andrew Dreschel at the Spectator) to inform taxpayers of the subsidies the day before a crucial vote is to be taken by Council.
Exactly who's running the show here? It's supposed to be Council.
I think it's time Council respectfully asked staff what's going on.
Why are Council and the rest of us being kept in the dark? Why are poor decisions and actions surfacing at Council meetings and in the media in the 11th hour? Why are Councillors so surprised by the actions of staff? Isn't this embarrassing?
I'm troubled by this apparent lack of transparency by staff and apparent lack of governance by Council. It looks as if Council is both out of touch and out of control.
What's going on? The optics are not inspiring confidence.
Adapted from a letter to Council.