There were a lot of irate city councillors around town this week.
They were, and rightly so, extremely upset that the city laid off 11 workers and city council wasn’t kept in the loop. Lyn Hall told me he heard about the layoffs when he was watching a soccer game.
Something went seriously amiss at city hall last week.
Most are looking at city administrator Beth James.
I don’t believe for a minute that James didn’t do what she was supposed to do. I don’t think she’s so politically naïve as to sign off on eliminating 11 positions without reporting to her political superior.
That would be Mayor Shari Green.
Green isn’t talking, but I suspect she knew about the layoffs long before Hall started watching soccer.
Now, there could have been a colossal miscommunication between the two and each of them thought the other would inform the rest of council. But I find that hard to believe. It could have happened that way, but … really?
There are protocols in place for communications between everyone at city hall.
So, Green may have forgot to send a notice out the rest of council or, … she didn’t forget.
Could this be a parting shot from Green to council, who in recent months has not been following her lead on big issues? Could the decision to keep council in the dark been deliberate?
One can argue that staffing decisions are the bailiwick of the city manager and council should keep it nose out of such things, and rightly so. The last things senior managers need is for a city councillor to second guess staffing decisions.
However, it is a two-way street, in that council needs to be apprised of major decisions that are being made.
And then there is the fact that CUPE local 1048 president Janet Bigelow is one of those whose jobs was affected. Perhaps those in the inner circle were being very politically astute in predicting how it would look if they canned the union president after a bitter labour dispute in which both Operations Manager Bill Gaal and Green, herself, pointed their fingers at the union for the snow removal problems last winter.
Did they really think they could avoid the political fallout?
At any rate, there are several very upset city councillors and they have every right to be upset. Whether deliberate or a faux pas, the fact council wasn’t aware of the layoffs is inexcusable.