Among the Coquitlam council incumbents, who really deserves to be re-elected?
That we are overtaxed and city staff overpaid is well documented. With city hall a monopoly, we rely on the mayor and councillors to check bureaucratic growth and compensation. Except for the current mayor, I would suggest that few have done so.
Most candidates should know how city hall operates - heck, one of them was even mayor for a few years. Some have union backing while others appear to be more focused on development. It would be safe to say that the taxpayer is not the primary focus of labour unions, developers and, it appears, councillors.
With no one minding the store, city staff has grown into a bloated, overpaid and self-absorbed bureaucracy, if my experience with city parks and recreation staff is any indication. While organizing senior softball, I was passed through layers of management and asked to wait outside an office where I sat for an hour and overheard a conversation that consisted entirely of gossip and internal politics. Finally, a person on the bottom of the pay scale took care of my needs in minutes.
Later, I received lengthy gender equity statistics forms with prescribed female-to-male ratios to qualify for senior field rental rates. I had visions of trying to force a bunch of arthritic grey-haired ladies out of their rocking chairs. Do taxpayers really need statistics that no sane person cares about? I suspect this is just the tip of the iceberg and that bureaucrats have been busy creating ever more useless positions and layers of management to try to justify bigger salaries.
I hope the mandate of the promised provincial municipal auditor general includes a review of all city staff positions. If not, we should demand that our mayor request a zero-based budgeting exercise that forces each department to justify every single position and its compensation levels based on clearly defined objectives and relevance to taxpayers' needs. Once this is done, I suspect we would get a tax refund.
On election day Nov. 19, remember who wasn't minding the store and vote accordingly.
Peter A. Epp, Coquitlam