Comment 120756

By Haveacow (registered) | Posted February 13, 2017 at 21:03:33

I find it interesting when people complain about how much a civic politicians and senior city staff members make and think its a lot. If you ran a company or were on the board of directors of a company the size of the City of Hamilton that had as few board members as most city councils do (even including all the senior staff as well)and whom then earn anything less than high 6 or low 7 figure salaries plus benefits, would be laughed at by their piers in the private sector. You would be amazed at the huge size of the boards of some of these companies, they can contain up to 80-90 people.

What's amazing is that cities can get quality people at all. The CEO of the TTC for example, use to work for a private railway in Australia making a low to mid 7 figure salary and then accepts a job at the TTC as CEO for less than a 1/8 of the pay. Most business people make really lousy politicians because you can't do what a business person does when you run a civic government. If a particular part of your city's operation is not run well or is bleeding funds and resources, the standard business person's response of cutting it or downsizing to maximize profits and operational efficiencies can't usually be done by governments. City governments can't unilaterally decide to cut a city service because its not efficient.

The act of privatizing a city service doesn't necessarily make it any more financially efficient or operationally effective. The privatizing of garbage and or snow removal services in parts of Toronto or here in Ottawa has not made it better or cheaper for that matter. In the case of Ottawa (snow removal on commercial main streets) is a lot less convenient than the previous city run service and it picks up the accumulated snow on city sidewalks far fewer times a month and seems to do a much poorer job. I still remember when a private company got the city's contract to repair city vehicles. It was done as a post amalgamation efficiency in 2001-3. when it became public that many City of Ottawa vehicles, including about 20% of the city's fire trucks were not available for service due to maintenance issues and poor quality work. This was embarrassing because this wasn't a problem before they privatized it.

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