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Opinion:  Letters to the Editor

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SUBMIT: Letter to the Editor | Reader to Reader | Sports Fanfare

POV - Point of View

city hall
City hall leadership appears absent
Just when we thought some semblance of calm and normality was returning to London city hall, we learn, in fact, little has changed.

According to a report delivered to board of control behind closed doors, we learn absenteeism among civic employees is as much as double typical municipal workers.

It's not just shocking. It's an affront to every hard-working employee in every company or organization in this city who drags themselves into work when they're not feeling up to snuff.

Absenteeism is a management issue. Clearly, there are city managers incapable of doing what they're paid to do -- manage people.

It's time to start firing people.

The cost of firing and disciplining workers who don't want their jobs will be expensive, but not nearly as costly as allowing employees who languish in jobs they don't deserve to spread their cancer.

This is not about harassment and abuse of employees. That is poppycock. If it were true, we'd have heard loud and clear from union leaders, workers, the courts and the human rights commission.

It is simply a lie to suggest nothing has changed at city hall since Steve Joksas (who was eventually fired) was promised he could return to his job after serving a sentence for the brutal sexual assault and torture of a co-worker.

However, just how much change chief administrator Jeff Fielding has delivered since his arrival in 2004 is in question.

Why? There's another thread to this story: secrecy at city hall.

When we see senior management and board of control meeting behind closed doors to discuss a controversial topic such as absenteeism, how can we possibly know how much change has actually occurred?

Such a discussion beyond the ears of the public by any political body is illegal, according to the Ontario Municipal Act. Yes, there may justification for some talk of absenteeism behind closed doors, but it's a general topic. If the talk turns to specific individuals, close the door.

Council had the option and chose secrecy over the transparency Deputy Mayor Tom Gosnell has repeatedly promised.

Lack of open debate allows problems to fester within public bodies.

Make no mistake. The public is not going to accept anything less than concrete, aggressive action that does not include offensive offers of incentives for employees to come to work.

They get a paycheque just like the rest of us. If they don't want to come to work, fire them.

No more kid gloves. No peace offerings. No incentives. No more hollow words of co-operation and empowerment between management and unions. No more talk about changing the work culture.

Not one more verse of Kumbaya, Mr. Fielding.

POSTED BY: Joe Belanger
POSTED ON: March 1, 2008

EDITORS NOTE: As published in The London Free Press on Mar. 1, 2008


you can feel the anger in his writing the writer obviously has the opinion of the typical stereotype that municipal employees all are lazy and just looking for ways to scam the taxpayers (may i remind people that they also pay taxes).to state that the number is as much as double is totally misleading when 12 is the national average and 18 is the workers of london, as much as double would be 24 not to get to some possible reasons as to why it is higher, an aging work force which requires more time off due to health and family issues,stress in the work place as with any other company around the world less employees with more of a workload or maybe it's the attitude of the community holding on to the stereotype which is perpetuated by the media.the latter is very evident, when you read headlines with big bold letters "DEADBEATS" as the first word people form quick opinions since everybody knows the majority of people only read the headlines.would it be acceptable for me to walk in to a fast food resteraunt and start yelling at the workers,we all can agree that wouldn't be why is it acceptable for people to yell at city workers.i have been in arenas when the worker was yelled at to get off the ice when they were trying to do their job,i have also witnessed the poor people dealing with the roads getting abused by people because they're trying to fix the pot holes have you seen how many there are (because of the weather,not shoddy work)a large army would have trouble keeping up.that's london for you-they want everything but don't want to pay for anything.i wonder how many words of support these people actually recieve,it sure seems to me like all they hear is negativity.
POSTED BY: paul g
The entitled lazy stereotype has been reinforced by the absenteeism rates. Interesting that you seem to justify this since "they pay taxes too." Sorry that my heart does not bleed for the difficulties you witnessed your fellow co-workers undergo. No doubt various counseling services are available to them. At no cost. Was using capital lettering in your name, and typing it in full to bothersome?
POSTED BY: Tony Van Eyk

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