SYSTEMIC DISCRIMINATION

COVID-19 DOESN'T DISCRIMINATE - BUT OUR HUMAN SYSTEMS DO.

- 82% of of this Municipality's budget is from property taxes, which many people were not able to pay this year.

- Before 2020, the Hospitality + Tourism Industry generated over one billion dollars in direct spending every year

      + employed 23,000 Haligonians in over 4,000 businesses.

​- 75% of the downtown workforce is either working from home, or not working at all

      + only 10% of municipal employees have returned to their regular place of work.

​- More small business owners are closing their doors every day + those still open face a hard winter. 

- Every night, more Haligonians are sleeping on the street as our affordable housing crisis worsens. 

 

The working class of HRM - the young, the uneducated and underpaid - will see the worst of this pandemic. Wealth inequality is public enemy #1 and Covid-19 has only widened the gap. If we continue down the path we are on, Halifax will soon become a place most Nova Scotians won't be able to afford to live.

​Now, more than ever, Halifax must make every dollar count.  The entire world is re-organizing from the ground up to survive the fallout of Covid-19 + our government should be leading the way.

We cannot afford wasteful or careless spending right now. Innovation is possible and now is the time.

AVOID "WHITE HEROISM"

"White heroism" refers to a white person who provides "help" to non-white people in a self-serving manner. The role is considered a modern-day version of what is expressed in the poem "The White Man's Burden" by Rudyard Kipling.

INDEPENDENT INQUIRY OF MUNICIPALITY

In June, Halifax Regional Council voted to freeze their salaries until November 2021.​ As your Councillor, I’d push to extend the freeze until 2023. I do not believe one year is enough time for HRM to experience economic recovery, and raising Council salaries should not be discussed until this occurs.

 

Even then, the 2016 Halifax Regional Council Compensations Committee's report concluded the Municipalities economic state did not justify the 2016 salary amount - which has increased since. This is what a salary freeze would’ve looked like in 2016, with salary figures based on the RCCC’s proposed localized formula: 

 

I don’t want to lower Council salaries... I just don’t want them to go up anymore based on the new formula, which I believe is still flawed. I’d like to see the calculation changed to reflect the local economy, as per the Halifax Regional Council Compensations Committee's 2016 recommendation.  If this occurred, I'd want to freeze Council salaries until the amounts equalled up with the localized salary formula. At the end of the day though, that is the collaborative decision of our future council, so I can't make any promises as in individual in this regard. 

 

However, if elected your Councillor I would follow the Mayor’s lead and take a 20% pay cut, but unlike the Mayor I would absolutely encourage any other * high earning * municipal employees who are able to, to do the same. I believe in spreading the wealth, and I’m fortunate enough to be in a situation right now where I don’t need to make $92,000 a year. If all of us do what we can right now, then maybe all of us can make it through this, and become a better Municipality for it overall.

RE-IMAGINE POLICING + RE-ALLOCATE FUNDS

In June, Halifax Regional Council voted to freeze their salaries until November 2021.​ As your Councillor, I’d push to extend the freeze until 2023. I do not believe one year is enough time for HRM to experience economic recovery, and raising Council salaries should not be discussed until this occurs.

 

Even then, the 2016 Halifax Regional Council Compensations Committee's report concluded the Municipalities economic state did not justify the 2016 salary amount - which has increased since. This is what a salary freeze would’ve looked like in 2016, with salary figures based on the RCCC’s proposed localized formula: 

 

I don’t want to lower Council salaries... I just don’t want them to go up anymore based on the new formula, which I believe is still flawed. I’d like to see the calculation changed to reflect the local economy, as per the Halifax Regional Council Compensations Committee's 2016 recommendation.  If this occurred, I'd want to freeze Council salaries until the amounts equalled up with the localized salary formula. At the end of the day though, that is the collaborative decision of our future council, so I can't make any promises as in individual in this regard. 

 

However, if elected your Councillor I would follow the Mayor’s lead and take a 20% pay cut, but unlike the Mayor I would absolutely encourage any other * high earning * municipal employees who are able to, to do the same. I believe in spreading the wealth, and I’m fortunate enough to be in a situation right now where I don’t need to make $92,000 a year. If all of us do what we can right now, then maybe all of us can make it through this, and become a better Municipality for it overall.

A LIVING WAGE

Someone making $12 an hour is someone with two or three jobs. It’s someone who lives hand-to-mouth, who has no financial security, is a pay cheque away from disaster. It’s someone whose life collapses if they have to take off work to tend to a sick kid.

But none of those reasons explain the outsourcing of janitorial services. While it’s important work, there’s nothing particularly specialized about janitorial services. Likewise, they don’t require an outside perspective, and there is plenty of work to employ dedicated city staff.

On that last point, here are some of the janitorial contracts put out to bid in the last three years (typically, the contracts have terms of three years), with the awards in parenthesis:

• North Branch (A+ Quality Cleaners, $116,399) and Keshen Goodman Libraries (A+ Quality Cleaners, $163,569)
• Alderney Landing (GDI Integrated Facility Services, $549,111)
• Police Operation Centres (Jani King, $354,000)
• Sackville Sports Stadium (Imperial Cleaning, $675,120)
• Acadia Centre, Fire Station #9, Bedford Outdoor Pool (split between D&J’s Cleaning $126,542, and Elejorde Cleaning, $40,050)
• Facilities Maintenance Depot, St. Andrews Centre, Adventure Earth Centre, Fire Station #7 (Imperial Cleaners, $243,480, and Elejorde Cleaning $66,480)
• Municipal Streets and Roads/Parks Depot, Burnside Fleet Operations Depot, Burnside Fire Fleet Operations Depot, Dartmouth Municipal Parks & Open Spaces Depot (Imperial Cleaners, $224,040)
• Gordon R Snow Community Centre (C&D Cleaning, $226,080)
• Chocolate Lake Community Centre, George Dixon Community Centre (Imperial Cleaners, $351,216)
• Municipal Depot- 3825 Mackintosh, Municipal Depot- 1680 Bell Rd, Municipal Administration- Fairview Cemetery (D&J’s Cleaning, $153,251)
• Records Administration, Fairbanks Centre (Jani King, $78,407)
• Halifax Ferry Terminal, Woodside Ferry Terminal, Ferry Boats (GDI, $314,712)
• Burnside Transit Facility, Barrington/Duke Street Shelter & Operations Lobby, Scotia Square Passenger Lobby (D&J’s Cleaning, $219,822)
• North Preston Community Centre (SimClean, $377,410.46)
• Various transit locations (ZM Supreme, $295,800; C&D Cleaning, $136,801; Elejorde Cleaning, $96,599)

The only reason the city contracts out these services is so City Hall can (supposedly) “save” money because the contractors don’t have to pay the union wages city workers get paid, about $20/hour — in fact, the contractors pay shit wages, at or near minimum wage.

There are civil servant jobs with the federal, provincial and municipal governments, not to mention various Crown corporations, as well as jobs in public education, universities and colleges, healthcare, policing, fire protection, and the military. These are, mostly, well-paying jobs and do contribute to the economy. But these jobs must be balanced with the economy’s ability to afford them.

A high-quality public sector workforce that delivers public services efficiently and effectively can contribute to economic prosperity and maintaining such a workforce requires paying competitive wages. At the same time, responsibility to taxpayers requires the diligent use of public funds, meaning the government should keep public sector employment levels and compensation rates within reasonable bounds. The key is to find ways to deliver high-quality public services while ensuring that taxpayers receive the maximum value for their money.

Since public sector wages and benefits are the single largest expenditure for these governments, restraining the growth of the public sector wage bill is a necessary condition for maintaining fiscal stability in the years ahead.

SO WHAT CAN WE DO?

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