Thursday, May 3, 2007

Union and City Hall corruption scandal

Our thanks to readers who forwarded this story about apparent municipal corruption to us from AltLondon.

A written complaint by a union steward of London Civic Employees CUPE Local 107, which represents London's 520 outside workers, alleges that its president Tim Whitworth signed secret remuneration agreements with the City on two occasions to pay him $6 an hour ($240 weekly) above and beyond his hourly rate as set by the City's and the union's last collective agreement, as well as an additional weekly salary of $105.80 to compensate him for "loss of opportunity for acting [supervisor] pay."

Whitworth, whose former job with the City was as a "leading tree trimmer," allegedly struck the deal to pay him a weekly salary on top of his hourly wages with Larry Allen, contract manager of the City's Human Resources department, on January 14, 2005 backdated to November 1, 2004 when he took office. It is not known who approved the extra $6 hourly rate of pay. The additional compensation amounts to approximately $17,980 per annum, or about $44,300 since Whitworth became the local's president.

More details can be found at AltLondon.

The "loss of opportunity or acting [supervisor] pay" is particularly galling, since Whitworth took it on himself to forgo that opportunity. But as it turns out, political connections are a more than compensatory opportunity. Notwithstanding any contraventions of the local's bylaws, which are to be determined May 7, the question concerning taxpayers is why management at City Hall is topping up his pay. A serious deficiency of the legislated absence of a competitive market for the services the civic employees provide is that the City unilaterally acts as an agent for taxpayers who have no other choice in these dealings. At the level of bureaucratic management, citizens have little choice but to trust that these transactions are conducted for them to their favour, or to hope that politicians might take an interest in oversight. But actors in both politics and high level management, of which Whitworth is de facto a member, move in close circles with each other at a far remove from the interests of taxpayers, and have much more in common with each other than the supposed ideological differences that characterize media commentary on issues would ever suggest… which is why in every single case of mismanagement or corruption that not one of them ever suffers any consequences. To date, the City is not investigating Whitworth's irregular compensation deals with management at City Hall, but nothing consequential for taxpayers would likely result from an inquiry in any case. However, it would be useful to know why.


Anonymous said...

What?? A corrupt Union "Boss" you gotta be kidding right?

Anonymous said...

A reporter from the Freeps has been on this one for 5 days and is rumoured to be getting interference from his editors at the Freeps.

Lately, management at the Freeps has been real cushy with senior city staff -- even giving them mock-up copies of the soon-to-be unveiled tabloid format.

Additionally, Paul Moist, CUPE's national president and Jeff Fielding are real tight.

The only way to blow this sucker wide open is to write a letter to the board of control, with copies to all media outlets, demanding a FULL AND COMPLETE investigation.

The Trial Committee at the Lamplighter Inn this week is little more than an embarassing Kangaroo Court.

MapMaster said...

Absolutely right, Anonymous. Whether or not anyone suffers any actual repercussions for this debacle, city management and its political overseers deserve to be embarrassed at least.

fencesitter said...

Seriously...this is rich, a city employee (Tim Whitworth) getting paid more than he is supposed to be paid on two fronts. One is in excess of the negotiated and ratified collective agreement and the other is through a personal services contract procurred by unknown parties outside of the scope of any collective agreement. Furthermore Tim Whitworth is also the President of the outside workers union. Both of these deals were kept secret from the union members he supposedly represents. Oh well, at least we will never have a garbage strike as long as this management tool is in office. That is all it takes to please most Londoners and some cowardly union members too.



Anonymous said...

Makes you go hmmm, but who on the Management side authorized this criminal commission ?? Did Council/Board of Control approve this ??

Some heads should be rolling over this scandal, especially considering that it appears they are using taxpayer money to secretly corrupt the Union President. Someone call the RCMP ... this should be investigated.

fencesitter said...

Tim Whitworth gets a weekly salary to make up for "lost" acting supervisor opportunity on top of his hourly wage? This guy is still president of his union? Why don't they throw him out of office? City managers must think this is a good investment though.

Anonymous said...

OK, I can see that, under Quebecor's revenue-driven focus that the Freeps wouldn't want to jeopardize the $350,000 a year that it receives in advertising dollars from the City of London (basically, making the Freeps a City-controlled pifflesheet), but what's with the local TV station not covering this story?

It's the talk of city hall among staff and the politicians. Everybody's whispering about this scandal in the corriders and at the office cooler. They're just praying that the LFP stays "solid" and doesn't pick it up. I guess Paul Berton et al. have no cojones.

Radio I can understand being AWOL because they simply read the Freeps during their newscasts.

What a town eh? If chickenshit was currency, London would be wealthier than Saudi Arabia!

Anonymous said...

A-Channel's news department is even more of a joke than the Freeps. Most of what they do is what's already appeared in the paper. No resources to come up with anything new. They give more airtime to covering entertainment than news. Seen any "News at Noon" lately? Is it any wonder our citizenry is so apathetic when it comes to elections?