By Robert Tuomi
(WINDSOR, ON) – Talk about something seeming to be about something when in reality it is about something else. Some city hall watchers, and they have been straightened out, think all the media bashing of Bill Marra, a double-dipper member of the city of Windsor’s inward and selfish council and the guy running the Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital Foundation, apparently into the ground, is being done to thwart Marra’s plan to run for mayor of Windsor in the next election.
It may seem like that, with three articles in a row in the Windsor Star drawing a nice circle around Marra that makes him quite the target. First some nonsense about him not having a shiny smile like the mayor then two stories about how most of the money given to the Hotel-Dieu Grace foundation does not make its way to the hospital and are diverted to cover fundraising and administrative costs including Marra’s pay.
Sure, these articles by the Windsor Star seem like a nicely structured attempt to slam Marra, but is that the real reason? Of course it isn’t.
In Windsor, as most know, nothing is as it seems. Sure Marra is in hot water, and he should be, but, in his defence he jumped into hot water and since he arrived at the foundation last September the value for money proposition seems to be improving.
So, what is the real reason that Marra is being held out as the poster boy for ineffective management? The number $115,000 comes to mind. That is what Marra says he makes in a story released by the Star on March 12, 2012. In reality, and this is the rub, Marra takes home a lot more when you add in the money that flows his way from city council.
Like most city councilors Marra does little to earn the money he gets from the city. Try and identify one thing he has done for the city. Think of the others on council like Ron Jones who spent seven years saying he was going to fix Sandwich Town, did nothing and then switched his allegiance to a small strip of Wyandotte strategically near the university and not the area of the street with the most blight.
What about Councilor Gignac who instead of taking a diplomatic route to clear some weeds growing along railway tracks ordered a team of lawyers to be brought in at considerable expense to pester the railway company. Or Councilor Percy Hatfield who talks incessantly about AMO and Elmo or other things but does nothing but attend out of town meetings with Elmo or AMO and others that seem to have produced nothing except out of town trips.
Take Council meetings. They have been whittled down to one hour and held only occasionally. Getting councilors to respond to anything is a miracle and if a few calls come in they demand, and get, additional staff help like police chief hopeful Drew Dilkens who was inundated, in his mind, with calls about the road to nowhere so much that a part time person had to be hired to handle the trickle of calls.
No, what is really happening is a master plan that will have the mayor, at the end of one of his infrequent council meetings, ask the councilors to leave so he can discuss a personnel matter with taxpayers. The councilors will obediently file out, they are good sycophants and do what they are told and some will chant, at least one will, “Hey Hey, ho ho, the councilors have been asked to go.”
Out they will go. Next the remaining citizens will gather around the mayor and he will lay it on the line. He will tell the citizens in the chamber, and those viewing the proceedings on cable, that the councilors don’t do anything and are really of no practical use to the community now that 311 does all of their work. He will say that the money the city can save will help pay for his downtown white elephant.
He will point to the door and remind them that the councilors just agreed to walk out like sheep.
The citizens will agree that this is not good and a lawyer will be brought in, probably the same guy that showed the Auditor General the door, and he will promise to meet with the councilors the very next day and show them the door.
Of course, some citizens will wonder how the mayor will be able to do this.
He will say it is simple, all he has to do, under the war measures act, is declare war on the councilors. Heck he will say they have already declared war on taxpayers. Under the measures, as he sees it, he will have extraordinary powers usually reserved for a prime minister but he will substitute himself as the prime minister of Windsor and all will be well.
It is such powerful logic that the citizens will agree and the very next day the councilors will be gone and the Prime Minister of Windsor will be in charge.
Of course, one citizen wondered if this means that councilor Dilkens will not be police chief to which the mayor responded that with himself as Prime Minister of Windsor there will be no need for such a position, he will take care of it.
And all will be well in the land of the unaccountable.
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