Taggart Pays For City Staff To Work On Tewin

This was sent to The Bulldog by a long-time reader and contributor to this publication:

Serious questions are being raised after Thursday’s joint planning and housing and environment and climate change committee meeting when committee members learned that Taggart is paying the salaries of three Ottawa City Hall employees (believed to be for five years) — a senior project manager for infrastructure; senior manager for transportation; and a planner — who will be working on the Taggart’s Tewin project file and no other city files.

Capital Councillor Shawn Menard noted that Taggart, despite being on the list of delegates for the meeting, had not appeared at the meeting, and then asked staff about something someone “had mentioned” to him but he did not believe.

“I don’t think it is accurate, but just wanted to ask the question …,” said Menard. “Does Taggart (the builders of the controversial housing project located far from Ottawa’s urban area in the east end) have a paid for, embedded staff, or pay-for-staff in the department? Is some of that funding going toward staff working on this project, or not?”

Then staff confirmed it was true.


Meanwhile Knoxdale-Merivale Councillor Councillor Sean Devine asked follow-up questions, including if these staff members could work on any other city projects and was told no. Devine expressed his surprise at this information and said this was unusual and he would be reviewing it further.


15 Responses

  1. John Langstone says:

    Planning is already in a formal partnership with a consortium of developers (OSEG) on Lansdowne 2.1. Now a developer is paying the salaries of city employees? Was Jan Harder not found to be in a perceived conflict of interest having Jack Stirling’s daughter working in her office (without remuneration from the city for a period)? How is there not a perceived conflict of interest now with city employees being paid by a developer? Is there not a risk of planning favouring a developer’s interests in a situation where they are being paid by the developer? Very interesting indeed.

  2. Ken Gray says:

    John:

    This is astonishing.

    cheers

    kgray

  3. Ken Gray says:

    John:

    One other thing. Where is the province to clean up this mess?

    cheers

    k

  4. David says:

    I assume those three staff members have city hall clearance to any and all information in planning – and any other sections or departments that interest them. Are they allowed to share any and all city information with third parties?

  5. Bruce says:

    Head MUST roll over this! They ARE NOT city employees if their wages are being paid by an outside source!

  6. Bob Gauvreau says:

    Are they also registered as Lobbyist in the City’s Registry? Does the Auditor agree with this strategy …?
    Remember the old saying “Have your Cake and Eat It” d

  7. The Voter says:

    Words fail me!!

    Why has Menard not had them marched out of the building?? At the very least …

  8. Liz says:

    This is outrageous. We need an independent inquiry into the management and governance of the City of Ottawa. The
    Senior managers of infrastructure. Planning and transportation and the City Manager should be fired.And an election called.

  9. Been There says:

    This is absolutely absurd. Is it any wonder planning staff have reversed their opinion on Tewin and are now endorsing it. How was this even authorized and exactly how long has it been going on? Was Watson in on this? Were these employees and the planning manager in on the tree cutting? It looks like Don Herweyer, planning manager at the time could see the writing on the wall. So many questions. This is a shocking attack on democracy and demands a thorough investigation, along with the resignations of Wendy Stephanson and Vivi Chi.

  10. Dan Stankovic says:

    And this has been going on for 5 years!! And it seems to involve experienced senior staff.

  11. Luke Chadwick says:

    This isn’t the first time. Wasn’t there some form of ‘concierge service’ for big developers. It seems to have been pushed under the carpet.

    As well, in about 2012, the City hired some planners from the biggest planning consulting firm (then and now) to ‘clear the backlog’ and there were assurances that they didn’t have access to other files.

  12. Nicholas says:

    This is fine.

    I’m sure we’ll see our Happy-Town Mayor come out soon and say that he’s happy to have Tewin pay the salaries of staffers who are working on such a large file. That will reduce the city’s salary budget and allow them to reallocate those funds to something more important like beautifying the market to help our Night Mayor with his job, or allowing OC Transpo to hire another planner to help them recover the 37% ridership they’ve lost since pandemic. Who knows, it might even allow the City to hire an extra grunt or three to get LRT phase 2 open a little earlier than a year after scheduled opening.

    Wishful thinking maybe?

  13. Andrew says:

    Who is looking after the “public Interest”? The foundation of good governance is to have employees at arms length from the applicants interests.

    The Planning act states:
    “Provincial interest
    2 The Minister, the council of a municipality,… in carrying out their responsibilities under this Act, shall have regard to, among other matters, matters of provincial interest such as,

    … (n) the resolution of planning conflicts involving public and private interests;

    (o) the protection of public health and safety;

    (p) the appropriate location of growth and development;

    (q) the promotion of development that is designed to be sustainable, to support public transit and to be oriented to pedestrians;”

    So much for the city following the act! Time for the Province to step in.

  14. Jim Reicker says:

    Are there others like this? Has it happened before?

  15. Ken Gray says:

    Jim:

    Staff says its unique but that’s what you are supposed to say.

    cheers

    kgray

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