Sunday, March 8, 2009

Reduce cost, boost service Saturday Mar.7/09

In yet another editorial meant to criticize unionized workers in Saint John and make residents feel like thier getting ripped off, the editor of the TJ is suggesting 10-15% cost reduction to city services. They surmise that by cutting the city's biggest departments, (Police, Fire and Municipal Operations ) the city could deliver better services to the residents.

Deputy Mayor Chase, always a big proponent of cutting unionized city staff, suggests that you can improve service by cutting costs. the question we have for the TJ and like minded councillors like Deputy Chase is : How do you do that?. City leaders like Chase and the paper often play the same tune when it comes to this issue but it offers no real evidence of how these cuts could boost service.

We have more questions for the editor of the TJ:
TJ:"The proponents of a larger workforce argue that Saint John needs more bodies to provide better service"
Who are these the proponents the city eludes to?. Department heads?. When the Department heads submitted their budget requests for 2009 none of them asked for extra funding for more staff for their respective departments.

TJ:"And employees candidly admit that there are times when operations are conducted inefficiently, to avoid leaving workers idle."
To our knowledge the paper has never quoted an employee of this city stating this. If they candidly admitted this then the paper should be able to provide some proof to that end.

The editor suggests cutting costs 10-15%. Why do they suggest that?. Do they have examples or proof that this will in fact boost services for the city. Do they know for a fact wheather or not it will have a negative effect on city residents. These kinds of suggestions are reckless in our opinion. A 10% cut would result in at least $2 Million less for each department.

Not to long ago this same editor supported the proposed caps to departments in this budget and the next three. Not long after that it suggested the head of Municipal Operations go to council to ask for more money for resources now they suggest cuts. Inconsistent to say the least.

Lastly the editor suggests contracting out services in an effort to save money. Well garbage collection is already contracted out in parts of this city. If it was such a huge savings wouldn't they have extended that program. The city also contracted out some snow plow routes this winter only to be constantly complained about by city residents.

Although we don't expect the TJ to print fair articles anytime soon it would be nice of them to provide some evidence supporting their point of views and what the real impacts would be of their cost cutting suggestions.

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