Benn Demands City Payment For This Post



Orleans East – Cumberland Councillor Matthew Luloff should not be asking staff for more data. He should be asking for more information.

Complete, accurate reports, on a timely basis, in a format to support the decisions that need to be made.

For the benefit of the city staff members who squandered their post secondary education on beer, bongs and protests, here is a simple report format that could provide council with the information it needs to make informed decisions.

Source: Vacant tax unit filings data base, data mine based on the roll number (a unique code).

Opening Balance:
> # of vacant units per the 2023 filings

Removed/Converted during the year:
> # of vacant units per the 2023 filings that are not on the 2024 filings
> separate column, show as % of Opening Balance

Added during the year:
> # of vacant units per the 2024 filings that were not on the 2023 filings.
> separate column, show as % of Opening Balance

Closing Balance:
> Test for completeness by comparing the Closing Balance per the data base to the sum of Opening Balance minus Removed/Converted plus Added. Hint, they should be equal.
> separate column, show as % of Opening Balance

A reasonably bright first year Algonquin College Business Administration student could produce this report in less than an hour, with most of that time spent hacking into the database.

For the benefit of the councillors who squandered their post-secondary education on beer, bongs, protests and non-science department courses ending in “ology”, the most useful part of this report is the Removed/Converted row. That indicates how successful the penalty feature of Vacant Unit Tax policy has been as a deterrent. Hint, the higher the %, the more effective the deterrent.

My invoice will be sent out shortly. I prefer to be paid in a hard currency, Swiss Francs.

Ron Benn, a finance executive, has been a member of the Centrepointe Community Association for the better part of three decades.




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8 Responses

  1. Miranda Gray says:

    Keep in mind that Luloff is pushing for attention as part of his campaign as a Conservative candidate for MP. He is very much a background councillor until an election is looming.

  2. Been There says:

    Ms. Gray, a Background councillor to say the least. The man is simply a ghost, until a camera appears and there is the chance if a photo -op with the mayor or the opening of an envelope.

  3. Ron Benn says:

    Miranda, that Councillor Luloff has aspirations beyond the council chamber does not diminish the importance of his publicly challenging staff to do their jobs better.

    Too few of our city councillors are prepared to challenge staff for performing at a level below what would be considered as acceptable outside of city hall.

    Too many of our city councillors are just going through the motions. Accept staff report. Pass resolution. Next item on the agenda? That comes no where close to meeting the statutory requirement set by the province for oversight of staff. Perhaps it is just a comprehension problem – thinking that their mandate of oversight is the noun, the failure to do something, as contrasted with the verb, the act of supervising.

  4. sisco farraro says:

    Mr Benn. Your analysis is simple, it’s easy to follow, would save time, and lead quickly to answers. It is in line with one of Sisco’s Rules of Life – Keep Everything Simple. Most people confuse data with information. Data consists of a collection of numbers, letters and special characters, usually ordered in some fashion, most often as fields in a database. Information comes from using (not manipulating) data to determine fact from fiction, establish trends, create better insight into the big picture, etc, etc. A half-day session with city staff might help them do their jobs more quickly and efficiently, cut back on errors, and reduce city expenses; thereby reducing the need to increase municipal taxes. Any idea what you’d charge as an hourly rate?

  5. Ken Gray says:

    Sisco’s Rules of Life:

    I could use a copy of that.

    cheers and thx


  6. Ron Benn says:

    Thank you for the kind words Mr. ferraro.

    The style of report I described is a Turn Over or a Continuity report. I learned how to do these types of reports during my first couple of weeks of permanent employment. They are standard fare for mature organizations. Organizations that are more interested in providing support for fully informed decisions than in finding ways to not support decisions.

  7. sisco farraro says:

    Ken, Mr. Benn (hey, I like the sound of that; maybe I should begin my next comment with a haiku). I have discovered something of late. The 3 of us plus many other Bulldog authors / readers / responders probably lived life before the world became dependent upon computers and later on the Internet. Gen Z folks and the Millennials have had the luxury of pressing the Enter key when they need answers to questions, assuming they have searched for and chosen the correct information using Google. Unfortunately, these generations lack the ability to think problems through. The sad part of this littler narrative is that many city staffers predate the Gen Z folks.

  8. Ken Gray says:


    I was at a big retail store recently and the crowds were going through the cashiers like crazy.

    I said to one cashier that it must be interesting to see the whole world go by through here.

    She said it was not. That there is too much stealing.

    I said if my father caught me stealing there would be hell to pay in no uncertain terms.

    The big lesson I got from my parents was teaching me right from wrong. It was stressed to me in the strongest terms.

    When I see the stealing and corruption today, it feels like the parents of the current generations did teach that lesson so well.

    I’m not perfect by any means. But some of the people I see today revel in the duplicity and don’t try to be ethical.

    It’s disappointing. My parents generation was outstanding in that regard. I fear for younger people today.

    Perhaps this is just an old man talking.



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