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.
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.