Former councillor getting 25k for 3-month gig
City appointed him interim man director at housing board
(March 16 blog post)
Case Ootes former ward 29 rep is now the interim managing director of the city's housing board. Photo Francis Crescia/Town Crier file photo.
Former East York councillor and ex deputy mayor Case Ootes is the one man show on Toronto Community Housing’s board now. He’ll began his new role on Monday and will be in it until mid-June at the latest. He’ll make $25,000 in compensation as the interim managing director of the TCH board.
The city manager Joseph Pennachetti set the rate of pay for Ootes.
At the emergency council session March 9 that the Mayor Rob Ford called, the city voted 25-18 to sweep the remaining 4 members of the board. The other nine board members already resigned at the mayor’s request over a scandalous set of city audits that involved spending by TCH employees and sole-source contracts that if put out for competitive tender could have saved millions.
But not all city councillors wanted Ootes to get paid for his temporary role, but councillor motions to have him work for free were defeated. The main issue raised was that Ootes, who was a councillor from 1988 to 2010, was already receiving severance for his almost 22 years in public office. He’s receiving the max allowed which is 12 months pay equal to $99,619.52.
According to the city’s policy on severance, a councillor can receive 1 month’s pay for every consecutive year worked with the maximum allowed of 12 months. In Ootes case he was a councillor for over two decades, so is entitled to a year’s severance.
After the council vote, the mayor told the media everyone deserves to be paid so he was fine with Ootes being compensated in his new role despite the fact he’s currently collecting severance from the city/taxpayer.
According to the Globe and Mail, Ootes also earned $11,000 from his role heading up Mayor Ford’s transition team after the Oct. 25 election last year.
It will be interesting to see what Ootes suggests for city-owned housing corporation while he is in charge of the board. One thing he’s been quite vocal about in interviews I have had with him as a Town Crier reporter is that TCH should not house people in million dollar houses.
What’s your take on his pay and new appointed role?
Posted in Toronto News
Tagged board, Case Ootes, cheque, community, compensation, director, housing, managing, pay, TCH, Toronto
Council makes symbolic gesture to pass on pay hike
Savings may go to support student nutrition
(Written Feb. 8 for Town Crier.)
Councillor Mike Del Grande led charge to freeze politicians' pay for 2011.
Council voted almost unanimously today not to accept a cost of living increase with many saying that they needed to set an example for city employees going into a year of contract negotiations.
This year, the city will be negotiating a number of new contracts including one with the TTC as that contract expires at the end of March, and CUPE Local 416’s contract including garbage collectors is up at the end of 2011.
“When those (contract) negotiations start, the first thing everyone will look at is what have we done with respect to our leadership on this,” said budget chief Mike Del Grande during the debate.
He said refusing this 2.6 percent cost of living increase sets the right tone since they are seeking budget cutbacks from city departments and asking employees to show restraint in wage demands.
“We have asked for sacrifices throughout the system and we can start with ourselves,” he said after the vote. Continue reading
Posted in Toronto Politics
Tagged council, cut, freeze, hike, increase, Joe Mihevc, Kris Scheuer, Mike Del Grande, nutrition, pay, salary, student, Toronto, Town Crier
Former exec director of North York Symphony sues board for wages
Filion states he wasn’t board member, seeks city help for legal fees
(Updated and revised article for the Town Crier.)
Councillor John Filion is among 18 alleged North York Symphony board members named in a lawsuit for backpay by a former employee Linda Rogers.
Willowdale Councillor John Filion has settled a lawsuit involving a former North York Symphony employee who claimed $50,000 in unpaid wages for her final years of employment.
City council decided to foot the bill for Filion’s legal expenses.
Trouble is Filion says he was never a member of the board and doesn’t understand why he was named in the suit to begin with.
The claim for the symphony’s former director, Linda Rogers, was filed with the Ontario Superior Court last summer. Since then, a judge has ordered Filion and another individual served with papers to pay Rogers damages.
Rogers lawyer James McDonald of Sack Goldblatt Mitchell confirmed in an early February interview that he and Filion’s lawyer have reached a settlement.
Filion says the original inclusion of naming him in lawsuit is puzzling.
“I never attended any board meeting,” Filion said Jan. 18. “I don’t believe I was ever on the board. I especially was not on the board by anyone’s account in the period when the employee (Linda Rogers) alleges they weren’t paid in 2008 and 2009.”“The whole issue has nothing to do with me,” he said.
In a summary judgement the court ordered Filion and Krajny to pay Rogers a total of $34,336.37 plus $1,150 in costs plus two percent interest starting Nov. 22, 2010, according to court documents.
Posted in Toronto News
Tagged Anna Kinastowski, court, fees, James McDonald, Kris Scheuer, lawyer, legal, Linda Rogers, Maria Augimeri, Milos Krajny, North York Symphony, pay, sue, Toronto Philharmonia, Town Crier
City launches first pay for use toilet
Is it worth 25 cent per visit?
(Column written for Town Crier June 3.)
Toronto's first pay-for-use facility open for business. Photo by Kris Scheuer/Town Crier.
When you really have to go, some of us would beg, borrow or steal to find a clean, available washroom. But would you be willing to pay a quarter for the privilege?
I wanted to find out for myself if the city’s first automated, self-cleaning, pay-for-use toilet was worth the price of admission.
On a rainy Tuesday afternoon in early June, I headed down to the new $400,000 facility at northwest corner of Rees Street and Queens Quay Boulevard. You can’t miss it. It’s the size of a backyard shed.
Maybe it was knowing I was doing this story on washrooms, but by the time I reached my destination I actually had to use the facility. There was no lineup and a green “vacant” light indicated no one was inside.