TeamSTC Should Never be Scapegoats

TeamSTC Should Never be Scapegoats

Last night at Council (August 14), we hopefully had our final motions about the 2023 property taxes and now we’ll be able to focus on the new multi-year budget for 2024 to 2026.

I’ve already talked about the budget and the decisions made – you can read it here. What I want to talk about here is the way some of my council collegues chose to spread misinformation and find scapegoats for their decisions.

My ‘savings finding’ collegues have put a great deal of time and energy into spreading misinformation about our City staff, the hiring of new staff, staff salaries and the process that we go through when we create new positions.  This ‘savings finding’ narrative for me has not only been frustrating but also angering.

In the 2023 budget, new hiring accounts for 1.364 million of our budget.  470k of that is provincially legislative requirements. The remaining 894k is to maintain and improve services.

The hiring of new staff and committing to be being a certified Living Wage Employer are not the reasons for increases in our budget.  Anyone who says that it is – is 100% wrong.  I would ask why my ‘savings finding’ colleagues seem only able to find ‘savings’ in this one area of the 2023 budget and for the next 3 years.

My colleagues seem to be forgetting or ignoring the fact that we have a duty to our staff.  Our staff are our frontline workers, representing the city every single day.  We have a moral obligation to ensure that each one of them has a safe, healthy work environment.

I have worked with our incredible team downtown powerwashing human waste off walls, seen first-hand what our Fire Services deals with each and every day, watched our Aquatics staff help the vulnerable in a compassionate caring way and how they go above and beyond to help seniors book swim classes, watched our summer students greet every single visitor to the Carousel with a smile and a story, worked with our Library staff to provide incredible customer service and share their joy of reading with kids – I could go on.

What we say mattersWords matter. Facts matter.   

We have staff who are dealing with situations that they were never trained for –  picking up drug paraphernalia, cleaning of human waste and finding members of our community dead.  Some have been physically assaulted.  The narrative by the ‘savings finding’ councillors that is where savings can be found is simply wrong.

I would suggest to my ‘savings finding’ council colleagues that when they are talking about our staff – that they remember that they are also residents.

Here’s what I said at last night’s meeting: