Councilors Reject Outsourcing Option

Irek Kuzmierczyk (L) and Bill Marra are seen listening to a delegation to Council. The two councilors led a coalition of six who rejected Administration's recommendation to outsource up to 100 jobs.Photo by John Skinner.

Irek Kuzmierczyk (L) and Bill Marra are seen listening to a delegation to Council. The two councilors led a coalition of six who rejected Administration’s recommendation to outsource up to 100 jobs.
Photo by John Skinner.

Column header Ian ShalapataBy Ian Shalapata

(WINDSOR, ON) – After estimating $1.4 million in savings, which then became $900,000, Windsor’s administrators told councilors last night that a real estimate of cost savings, if any, couldn’t be done without issuing a request for proposals in outsourcing caretakers at the City. But, enough councilors weren’t buying it and voted 6-5 against eliminating jobs.

Ironically, councilors on both sides of the issue cited needing the proper information in order to make a proper decision. Freddie Francis said only by issuing an RFP could he get the information he needed. Bill Marra said there wasn’t enough information in the report from administration to warrant supporting the recommendation.

Also, ironically, the information Administration couldn’t, or wasn’t willing to, provide would be the exact details an Auditor General could generate so that Council wouldn’t have to guess or rely strictly on what administrators report.

CAO Helga Reidel said the issue surrounding contracting out was a budgetary concern.

“We have run out of budgetary options,” she said.

However, Marra suggested that during the budget process is where these decisions should be made. Drew Dilkens, though, let it slip that Administration had already done the budget for councilors, and all that was left was for Council to approve the budget.

Dilkens also tried to frame the discussion in terms of gathering more information and the decision to issue an RFP would help in that process. An RFP is the first step toward issuing a tender for the outsourcing.

Irek Kusmierczyk, during his summation, said that the City shouldn’t be balancing the budget on the backs of workers and proceeded to list a number of spending initiatives where savings could be made, instead.

Reidel couldn’t placate councilors who were concerned that there would be layoffs after all the resulting bumping. In a city with 10% unemployment, the councilors argued, it isn’t conscionable to eliminate well paying jobs.

Reidel and Dilkens also continued the charade of a zero percent tax freeze in an attempt to sway more votes to their side. Even though the City has never held the line on taxes, they persist in using the fallacy as a political tool.

After each councilor gave their summation, the votes could been seen to be rejecting the recommendation to outsource. Dilkens took the opportunity to admonish councilors who sided against his wishes and then, in a last-ditch effort to intimidate the elected officials, he called for a recorded vote.

In support of maintaining well-paying jobs and finding other means to balance the budget were Elliott (Ward 2), Bortolin (Ward 3), Holt (Ward 4), Sleiman (Ward 5), Kusmierczyk (Ward 7), and Marra (Ward 8).

Voting in favour of eliminating jobs were Dilkens (mayor), Francis (Ward 1), Payne (Ward 9), Borrelli (Ward 10), and Gignac (Ward 6).

By voting against the mayor’s initiative, councilors have given notice to Dilkens and Administration that biased and lacking reports will be treated accordingly.

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About the Author

Ian Shalapata
Ian Shalapata is the owner and publisher of Square Media Group. He covers politics, the police beat, community events, the arts, sports, and everything in between. His imagery and freelance contributions have appeared in select publications and for organizations in Canada and the United States. Contact Ian with story ideas.
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