Is Rick Chiarelli the judge on how things are done at City Hall?
I hope Councillor Rick Chiarelli listens back to his interview on the Rob Snow show from yesterday. My take on his position is that he and other long term councillors believe that they are judge and jury on how things should work at City Hall. And by works, I mean, works to their benefit for re-lection purposes not for the benefit of the Ottawa resident.
If you haven’t heard the interview, you can listen to it here: CFRA Interview with Rick Chiarelli
The interview was in response to the Larry O’Brien Ottawa Business Journal article in which Mr. O’Brien said his plan to review the budget line by line was hijacked by Councillors Rick Chiarelli and other veteran councillors with an omnibus motion that hiked property tax rates higher than what Mr. O’Brien deemed was necessary.
Most Ottawa residents would be on side to going through the budget line by line to find where the waste and leaks are. Maybe they would have found that outsourcing photography services was over priced. But Mr. Chiarelli points out that he knew that going though the budget line by line wouldn’t work because the support to cut waste would be negated by councillors who wouldn’t give up services in their wards to lower overall costs.
On this point I strongly disagree. If they are forced to go through the budget line by line in public, they would find savings. Instead of making backroom deals as was done with the omnibus motion, I would love to hear councillors debate publically for or against budget expenditures. I want to know why it’s okay to have a photographer on staff while outsourcing Ottawa’s best to take councillors headshots.
In fact, what Mr. Chiarelli said, if he realized it or not is that the way it’s done, and always been done at City Hall, is to horse trade in the back rooms and hallways and only bring agreed upon deals to the council table. It is no wonder budget deliberations are so short as in the 2009 budget hijacking.
It also means that the nine new councillors really have no say in how things will be done around City Hall. The veteran councillors know how the system works and the newbies better not rock it.
Well, I hope that the newbies and the new Mayor rock and break the archaic processes at City Hall. I also hope that they challenge most suggestions of the old guard because they were elected on a promise of change. And change can only happen if they start to do things differently. The idea that Councillor Chiarelli and other multi term councillors knows how things are done and is the policeman on such affairs is nuts.