COMMENTARY: Cornwall council out thinking its staff

Tuesday night’s council meeting was yet another situation where Cornwall city council tried to outplay the people they hire to make decisions. As the social services provider for SD&G, Cornwall is basically the button-pusher – it doesn’t profit from regulating the day care industry but it gets all of the administration and all of the liability. Great trade off from the Province of Ontario.

The council had to agree to sign a contract for SunRise & Shine Childcare Center to be able to accept parents that are eligible for a provincial subsidy. Mayor Leslie O’Shaughnessy said the city doesn’t make any money from this decision and he’s correct. The city is a conduit from province to person.

Shared Services Manager Myles Cassidy had recommended that council approve the contract. But some councillors believe they know better and tried to vote it down, arguing that it would dilute the child care system that has 260-some vacant spaces, according to the report.

This is a second example that has shown a clear fault with this council.

Why do you bother to hire staff for their expertise when you are going to continually out maneuver them and think you understand everything about running the day care industry or, better yet, the long term care industry. We had this happen before when a drug contract for Glen-Stor-Dun Lodge came up for renewal. No money for the city but they wanted the contract to go with a local firm, nearly plopping them in legal hot water before council backtracked.

The second speaks to preparation of information for council. Why are people in the audience having to sit on their hands and plead to give councillors more information because some vital context is missing from a report to council?

After dealing with public criticism and suggestions that administration runs the show, this council is trying too hard to act like ‘We run the show’ and are – for lack of a better term – making some dumb decisions.