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Go Back   SkyscraperPage Forum > Regional Sections > Canada > Ontario > SSP: Local Hamilton > Business, Politics & the Economy

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  #121  
Old Posted Mar 24, 2012, 6:15 PM
durandy durandy is offline
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how much of this stems from the completely ridiculous salaries people at the top of the municipal ladder make? Chris Murray makes 200K! He manages a billion dollar organization. So maybe Chapman reflects the type of chief of staff you can buy for 100K. Bratina's early decision to spend a pittance on his own staff looks good on paper, sounds good as a delivery on early promises, but has been totally dysfunctional from a capacity standpoint.
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  #122  
Old Posted Mar 28, 2012, 3:01 PM
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This evening we will know if Bratina will be censured. Should be an entertaining show on Cable 14.
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  #123  
Old Posted Mar 28, 2012, 4:37 PM
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Hamilton Council censuring Mayor Bratina is akin to the Hell's Angels censuring Vito Rizzuto.
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  #124  
Old Posted Mar 28, 2012, 10:40 PM
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The Mayor has been censured. Only Bratina opposed.
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  #125  
Old Posted Mar 29, 2012, 1:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markbarbera View Post
Hamilton Council censuring Mayor Bratina is akin to the Hell's Angels censuring Vito Rizzuto.
That's what makes this all so completely and utterly embarrassing for Bratina. Hell, I'm embarrassed as a Hamiltonian.
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  #126  
Old Posted Mar 29, 2012, 12:38 PM
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Wow. I expected him to be censured, but I didn't think it would be (essentially) unanimous.
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  #127  
Old Posted Mar 29, 2012, 7:14 PM
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I also didn't expect that. I think that speaks almost as loudly as the censure itself.
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  #128  
Old Posted Mar 30, 2012, 4:15 AM
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Beneath all the open talk of censuring, councillors have secretly asked staff for a report on the propriety of the $8,000 vacation payout that elevated Bratina’s chief of staff, Peggy Chapman, on to the 2011 sunshine list.

That, of course, is the pebble which set the rippling events in motion leading to the unparalleled censuring of a Hamilton mayor for unbecoming conduct.

The direction to staff was apparently given during an in-camera session following Tuesday’s budget deliberations.

It seems councillors want an explanation of the $8,000 payout, how the figure was arrived at and whether the conditions and circumstances breached or accorded with city policies.

According to city policy, nonunionized employees can receive payouts for unused vacation time if it’s approved by a manager and only in certain “extenuating circumstances” such as long-term illness and absence.

Bratina, citing privacy rights, initially refused to explain how the extenuating circumstances applied in Chapman’s case.

But in a subsequent email to senior Spectator managers, the mayor suggested the payout stems from Chapman cancelling booked time off because of the December news coverage of her $30,000 raise.

Councillors are looking for clarity on whether that meets the policy bar and how many vacation days Chapman had owing. In other words, do the numbers add up and what exactly was she entitled to?

Some of that information is contained in Chapman’s employment contract with Bratina. Presumably that’s what senior staff will investigate and report on in camera next week.
http://thespec.com/2012/03/censure-s...yet-.html#more
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  #129  
Old Posted Mar 30, 2012, 11:21 AM
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Dreschel's bloodlust was left unsatisfied by quite possibly the most polite and cordial censure in the history of mankind, so in his desperation he returns to flog a dead horse.

Meanwhile, Councillor Terry Whitehead is on the record as saying after the meeting that Bratina "has the making of being best mayor". Somehow that didn't make it into his column. Maybe Dreschel missed it because he was busy draining the blood of a dead rat into a sherry glass at the time.
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  #130  
Old Posted Mar 30, 2012, 11:41 AM
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Council directed staff to explain the $8,000 vacation payout, not Dreschel.

This payout is not a dead horse. Bratina, only recently revealed the reason himself, in his recent email to the Spec, which raised concerns.
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  #131  
Old Posted Mar 30, 2012, 2:27 PM
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Censure: Not a proud moment, but necessary

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Hamilton council’s 15-1 vote on Wednesday to censure Hamilton Mayor Bob Bratina was important and the right thing to do, but it was not a moment in which most Hamiltonians will take pride. Bratina is the first Hamilton mayor to be censured by the council on which he sits, and it is difficult to see that as anything but sad.

It was important because of what it was about.
http://www.thespec.com/opinion/edito...-but-necessary
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  #132  
Old Posted Mar 30, 2012, 2:39 PM
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Originally Posted by CaptainKirk View Post
Council directed staff to explain the $8,000 vacation payout, not Dreschel.

This payout is not a dead horse. Bratina, only recently revealed the reason himself, in his recent email to the Spec, which raised concerns.
I am not disputing whether or not council asked in camera for the review. I am saying that Dreschel's article is exploiting the rumblings he hears through anonymous sources to try to get more legs to what is essentially a non-story.

Last November, Council asked for an explanation on the legality of Chapman's $30,000 raise, and they were told it was legal. In March they have directed staff for an explanation of the pay in lieu of vacation time (allegedly - if the request is made in camera it is not supposed to be discussed publicly), and there is absolutely no reason to believe the outcome will be any different. In the unlikely event that staff come back next week saying the payment in lieu of vacation was improper, then there may be a story.

Personally, I would be more comfortable if council was directing staff in a manner that would be more productive than simply conducting pointless political witch hunts. I for one would love to know how a receptionist ended up on the $100,000 sunshine list, and how it came to be that over 700 employees of the City came to be on this list.
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  #133  
Old Posted Mar 30, 2012, 3:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markbarbera View Post
I am not disputing whether or not council asked in camera for the review. I am saying that Dreschel's article is exploiting the rumblings he hears through anonymous sources to try to get more legs to what is essentially a non-story.

Last November, Council asked for an explanation on the legality of Chapman's $30,000 raise, and they were told it was legal. In March they have directed staff for an explanation of the pay in lieu of vacation time (allegedly - if the request is made in camera it is not supposed to be discussed publicly), and there is absolutely no reason to believe the outcome will be any different. In the unlikely event that staff come back next week saying the payment in lieu of vacation was improper, then there may be a story.

Personally, I would be more comfortable if council was directing staff in a manner that would be more productive than simply conducting pointless political witch hunts. I for one would love to know how a receptionist ended up on the $100,000 sunshine list, and how it came to be that over 700 employees of the City came to be on this list.
I agree that Dreschel seems out to get Bratina, but I have no problem reading through his opinion and putting the facts into context . Dreschel, much like a Bill Kelly, opines, and that's fine. Knowing that, it's easy enough to expect it (whether you agree with the poinion or not) , and to cut through the bull when necessary.

So, while I get what people like Dreschel and Kelly are paid to do, and I disagree with both of them often enough, the story here is the mayor and his actions and words. He has a completely different standard to uphold.

BTW, IIRC I think I read somewhere that the receptionist was the recipient of a legal settlement, specifics of which were not divulged for confidentiality reasons.
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  #134  
Old Posted Apr 20, 2012, 4:38 PM
markbarbera markbarbera is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markbarbera View Post
Last November, Council asked for an explanation on the legality of Chapman's $30,000 raise, and they were told it was legal. In March they have directed staff for an explanation of the pay in lieu of vacation time (allegedly - if the request is made in camera it is not supposed to be discussed publicly), and there is absolutely no reason to believe the outcome will be any different.
As I had predicted, staff reported back this week that the $8000 paid to Peggy Chapman in lieu of vacation time did not violate the city's vacation entitlement policies.
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  #135  
Old Posted Apr 20, 2012, 7:18 PM
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According to a Dreschel editorial I read this morning, it did actually... but I can't seem to find it on the spec site now. It was an editorial on how the rule on vacation payouts has been bent in the last few years as it is supposed to be paid out only in circumstances where the vacation has been missed due to sickness or absence, not workload as was Chapman's case. Apparently this is only now coming to council's attention.
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  #136  
Old Posted Apr 20, 2012, 7:48 PM
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Part of Dreschel's piece. http://www.thespec.com/news/local/ar...y-policy-flaws

Quote:
According to Helen Hale Tomasik, executive director of human resources, the city’s practice is to base vacation payouts on the salary employees are being paid at the time of their payout request.

Since Chapman’s request was apparently made after she received her $30,000 raise in November or December last year, that means the payout was based on her increased salary of $120,000.

In other words, it was not proportional or pro-rated to the $90,000 she’d been paid throughout most of that year.

That’s an outrageously sweet arrangement, not likely to be found in most corporations and certainly not in many private sector organizations.

What the heck, though. It’s only taxpayers’ money, right?

Bratina said he’d approved the payout because Chapman had to cancel her vacation plans in late 2011 to deal with media coverage of her raise.

According to city policy, non-unionized employees like Chapman can receive payouts for unused vacation time if approved by their managers and only in certain “extenuating circumstances.”

Councillors wanted to know if Bratina’s “workload” argument met that bar.

Tomasik’s answer was no more reassuring than the cosy method used to calculate payouts.

The existing policy specifically cites two examples of extenuating circumstances — long-term illness or absence.
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  #137  
Old Posted Apr 20, 2012, 7:54 PM
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The article can be found here:

http://www.thespec.com/news/local/ar...y-policy-flaws

Quote:
This week, yet more head-scratching concerns were generated after senior staff told councillors Chapman’s vacation payout did not break vacation entitlement policies.
The policy states payout can be made in extenuating circumstances. It does cite two examples of what would be considered extenuating circumstances, which were the examples of absence or extended illness. The policy does not say these are the only acceptable circumstances, but are examples of acceptable circumstances. Workloads preventing vacation, while not explicitly cited as an example in the policy, has been accepted as extenuating circumstances permitting payouts for other staff in the past. Consequently, staff reported that Chapman's vacation payout did not violate vacation entitlement policies.
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  #138  
Old Posted Jun 8, 2012, 6:38 PM
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Emma Reilly (@EmmaatTheSpec)
2012-06-08 2:49 PM
BREAKING: #HamOnt's integrity commissioner has ruled against Mayor Bob Bratina
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  #139  
Old Posted Jun 8, 2012, 6:41 PM
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Emma Reilly (@EmmaatTheSpec)
2012-06-08 2:54 PM
Integrity Commissioner Earl Basse finds Bratina broke council's code of conduct during #Peggygate scandal. #HamOnt
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  #140  
Old Posted Jun 8, 2012, 7:04 PM
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Bratina runs afoul of integrity complaint

http://www.thespec.com/news/local/ar...rity-complaint

Hamilton’s integrity commissioner has ruled that Mayor Bob Bratina has violated council’s code of conduct.

Earl Basse found the mayor’s handling of his chief of staff’s raise broke council’s code of conduct. Bratina initially blamed the raise on the city’s human resources staff.

A copy of the report was sent to councillors Friday and obtained by the Spectator.
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