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Gerry Cooper
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Like Mr Tory, I too had my eyes opened in presenting to the City Budget Commiittee on March 1 an idea for saving the City hundreds of millions of taxpayers' money. It fell on deaf ears and the Chair chastized me for bringing forward a matter that belonged elsewhere in the City bureaucracy. So much for citizen participation. So much for accountability. In a subsequent e-mail exchange, the Budget Chief noted that her committee does not have the mandate to deal with my idea (to end the wasteful and harmful practice of fluoridating our drinking water) as it had policy as well as budgetary aspects to it. Having found another $100 million surplus in 2009, the pressure to exercise fiscal restraint was off. This was clear in her remarks on March 12 where she declared the City's fiscal posture would be to "stay the course", aka status quo. Then the Ontario budget was tabled which stated that the Province had to postpone for 5 years some $4 billion in transit assistance. And how the Mayor howled in outrage about that. This was the same Mayor who had tried last year to misappropriate hundreds of millions in near term tri-level infrastructure stimulus funding for a long term upgrade of TTC streetcars. His political misjudgement and lack of risk management almost cost the City access to those funds as the City scrambled to come up with eligible infrastructure projects. The next City administration needs to embrace a new process of continuous program review to enable it to identify and assess opportunities to terminate outdated programs and services. Its purpose is to redeploy scarce resources to more important priorities like Transit City thereby taking pressure off the property rate base. This is a process that must be owned and driven from the Mayor's Office with the active support of the City Manager's Office. The new Board of Governance or Management Board would be chaired by the Mayor or Deputy Mayor and have 8 to 10 members, all are first and foremost willing to wear "Team Toronto" sweaters. Its scope would include all City departments, agencies and corporations, without exception. It would be tasked with ordering both policy and budgetary reviews of the principal spenders within the City. It would convene public meetings to seek suggestions from Torontonians. It could strike advisory panels on issues as it sees fit. It would commission research into how other governments are proceeding with the elimination of fiscal deficits. Its main outputs would be assessments and recommendations to City Council on what amounts to harvest for redeployment and from where. This process fix is vital to achieving Toronto’s vision of its future. Residents of Toronto should insist their candidates for Council and Mayor declare where they stand on adopting it as a first priority in the first year of the new Council’s four year term. The Management Board role is an inherent element of good government, something which is a constitutional right in Canada. Fellow Torontonians, stand up for your rights.
Welcome to my blog which is set up under the Your City-My City web site provided by the Toronto Star to encourage a public debate on Toronto's vision for the future. My blog title tries to capture and share my vision for our fair city. I will be raising a... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2010 at Gerry Cooper's blog
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Mar 8, 2010