Thursday, February 28, 2008

Roll call

If it were politicians, most of them would be almost welcome to 100 per cent absenteeism for the rest of their terms for all the taxes they spend without having any idea what's going on. Almost, that is, except that administration would be left completely unhindered to pack its ranks — as with a current advertisement for still another administrator, in this case to deal with an absentee rate among City employees that's 50 per cent higher than in "typical municipal workforces." Certainly administration doesn't do anything to hinder itself by informing Council of costly administrative problems as the issue was only disclosed to Board of Control when Coun. Paul Van Meerbergen raised it, and then only because two constituents happened to question the job posting.

Administration will of course argue that by hiring a Health & Wellness Specialist it is addressing these problems, but it is unlikely to address the more serious concern over its failure to communicate its problems unless compelled to do so by Council. The absurd and indefensible advice of the City's lawyer, Jim Barber, to disclose the absenteeism problem in a closed-door session only strengthens the inescapable conclusion that London's administration under the supervision of Chief Administrative Officer Jeff "Feel Good" Fielding has invested itself in avoiding scrutiny when possible.

Accountability will likely have to be dragged from the offices of the City's administration. Given the Mayor's long and cozy relationship with Fielding, the prospects that any of the City's other politicians, more accustomed to taking the easy way out, will suddenly find the stomach for a hard and unpopular fight are not promising.