Yesterday Toronto City Council asked for “input” from the Public about their KPMG’s report on “services” that may or may not be cut from the City’s Budget that is over budget by some $775,000,000.00! Over 300 people signed unto this invitation and given only 3 minutes for each presentation, the whole exercise went through all day Thursday until Friday A:M. at 6:25.
Rob Ford’s whole campaign was based on one statement that rung out like a never ending echo: “The Gravy Train Stops Now”. When asked to give specifics on that statement his reply boils down to these short quips that appealed to most of the voters: “we will not cut services and we will not raise taxes!”.
Wow……………sounds like a winner to me! BUT…………..and there is always a big huge ugly BUT! What happens if “Rob Ford is fibbing”……What happens if he states, like Mike Harris did, like Dalton McGuinty did, actually like all other politicians do once they get into power: “We didn’t realize how bare the cupboard was when we got elected and now we will either have to cut services or raise taxes or BOTH!” That’s the ticket: “Now they are off the hook, not responsible for the destruction of services and safety nets and can blame it all on the previous spend thrifts!”
Now this afternoon we hear from the Budget Chief that there will be additional reviews of “user fees, service and efficiency” all by this Fall “with the help of a 3rd Party”! Could that third Party also be KPMG or some other “outside Consultancy” Of course it will be, because anything coming from inside City Hall by City Hall staff would create a huge debate directly with people that were elected and supposed to be qualified enough to make these decisions. By hiring a Third Party then debate can be deflected to an unknown, faceless, organization that “can handle the heat” of Public Debate.
The process is explained here with a short description of what KPMG was hired for and how much:
Published On Mon Jul 25 2011
By Royson James City Columnist…………………………..
Instead, the city hired KPMG in March, paid them a pittance at $350,000, and asked them to report in July. Two other reports, on efficiency and user fees, are still to be done, but the deadline for budget decisions is in September.
Instead of an independent report, with recommendations forged from careful review, we have a wish list from KPMG that the consultants are not even prepared to stand by. KPMG goes out of its way to say they are not recommending any of the daily list of “cuts” you heard over the past two weeks. The authors would only call them an “inventory of opportunities.”
Why the shyness? Because, basically, they didn’t have enough time to do a thorough and independent review, complete with a testing of best practices. This was a quick and dirty review. In essence, the city’s staff gave KPMG a list of services Toronto provides that the city is not mandated by law to offer, services that city staff annually offer up when the politicians threaten to cut their budget:
Shovel the snow and cut the grass less often, contract out animal care and enforcement, take fluoride out of water, end daycare subsidies for the poorest, sell off nursing homes, cut city grants, stop providing social housing, close the museums, just dump the trash in a hole because waste diversion is too expensive, sell off assets, privatize everything, cut bus routes.
KPMG has dumped the list onto the laps of city councillors. Not knowing what to do — there is no master plan, no direction — councillors have backed away from making choices from the list. As citizens rallied against the cuts last week, councillors, for the most part, were not even organized enough to vote for further impact studies or order more consultation with constituents………………………………………………………..
One Question I have to ask is this:
When a person runs for elected office in this country, regardless of what level of Government, and that person conveys their “qualifications” which most of the time include their claims that they KNOW what’s going on inside Councils, what the failures are and how they can reform or change these malfunctions, “WHY DON”T THEY GET HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR LYING ABOUT IT AFTER THEY GET ELECTED”?????
Another question I have to ask is this:
With all the Committees that form after an elected Council to do the “heavy lifting” of running a Township, County, City or Province “WHY DO OUTSIDE THIRD PARTIES HAVE TO BE HIRED TO DO THAT COMMITTEES WORK”?
Are they too stupid, unqualified, too busy or just scared of having to deal directly with their electorate if they make a mistake?……………..
Maybe keeping the work load internally for the people who you elect and pay extra to do may SAVE MANY MILLIONS that these same people keep stating they want to cut vis a vis “services”!