County of Essex

Essex County approves three new staff positions

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Essex County council has approved three new permanent, full-time positions.

The positions include hiring an occupational health and safety (OH&S) consultant, a staff educator at the Sun Parlor Home in Leamington and converting the communications officer position from temporary full-time to permanent full-time. County CAO Rob Maisonville said department heads had to present a business case to support the positions before they were brought to county council.

Maisonville said the OH&S consultant was a position that was “long overdue,” as Essex County has over 900 employees. He noted in a written report to county council that the county also has over $3 million in WSIB costs annually.

“Because of our persistently high WSIB costs, we have been the recipient of three Workwell audits since 2011. Resulting improvements have taken place, however our OH&S numbers have not improved to where they need to be. One of the consistent themes, particularly in the last audit, is that our OH&S systems, processes, and policies are not consistent across the various departments of the Corporation,” stated Maisonville. “Another key observation is a deficiency in the amount of senior management oversight. For this oversight to be effective, there needs to be a consistent manner in which OH&S systems run and are communicated.”

The staff educator would help those employed at the Sun Parlor Home have “a knowledge base to be able to provide optimal care for these residents and the need for increased knowledge and education is constantly growing.”

“Upon assessment of current practices, policies, and programs, as well as recommendations from our operational review that was conducted in the Home in 2018, there are areas that could better serve the residents, families and staff with some adjustments and or updates. However, finding the time to ensure that these improvements are rolled out effectively to all staff can be very challenging with all of the daily competing demand,” stated Maisonville. “A staff educator would allow a distribution of time and effort that can be provided to ensuring evidence based, up to date policies, procedures and programs are in place, legislative requirements are met, staff are trained accordingly, and in turn, optimize quality care.”

The communications officer has been filled on a temporary basis by Donald McArthur, also an Amherstburg town councillor, since July 2018. Maisonville said “great strides” have been made in that department, noting that the county has an increased presence on social media and through their website.

“We think it’s very important,” said Maisonville. “I think we have a great organization and great stories to tell.”

Maisonville added in his report that “(t)his role has currently been dedicated to helping to enhance some of the County’s communications tools and has had great success with the writing of a new, responsive County of Essex website; increased posts, presence and traffic to the County of Essex social channels; creating rich media (photography, video) for uses both internally and externally; sharing in the workload associated with media relations by assisting to improve processes, key message development, proactive story generation, etc.; content updates on the County’s current website and employee intranet.”

 

County releases statement of councillor remuneration for 2018

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The County of Essex has released its statement of remuneration for council members who served in 2018.

The report notes that $273,138.70 was spent on county council remuneration in 2018. The payments were made to the 14 county council members who served the final year of the 2014-18 term. Lakeshore Mayor Tom Bain, who was the warden for the bulk of 2018, earned a salary of $66,228.72 and that number grew to a total amount of $91,607.63 with other expenses and earnings such as conferences, meetings, per diems and mileage were factored in.

Ken Antaya, the former mayor of LaSalle and last term’s deputy warden, earned a salary of $11,167.20 in 2018. His overall remuneration was third amongst his colleagues at $16,531.10. The second highest total remuneration total for 2018 was the $21,528.17 attributed to Tecumseh Mayor Gary McNamara, the current county warden.

Each county councillor received a salary of $9,173.76 in 2018 with total remuneration totals varying depending on the other expenses and earnings.

Tecumseh Deputy Mayor Joe Bachetti’s total remuneration for 2018 was $15,123.75 while former Essex Mayor Ron McDermott’s remuneration amounted to $14,887.14. The total amount attributed to Kingsville Mayor Nelson Santos was $14,812.75.

Amherstburg Mayor Aldo DiCarlo’s total remuneration for 2018 was seventh among his colleagues, with a total amount of $14,740.62. Kingsville Deputy Mayor Gord Queen’s remuneration total was $14,360.56. Former Lakeshore Deputy Mayor Al Fazio’s total was $13,254.17 while LaSalle Deputy Mayor – now mayor – Marc Bondy’s total amount was $13,123.74.

Essex Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche’s remuneration total was listed at $11,888.39 while former Amherstburg Deputy Mayor’s total remuneration amount came in at $10,774.68.

Hilda MacDonald, the deputy mayor turned mayor in Leamington, had a total remuneration amount of $10,743.98 while former Leamington Mayor John Paterson’s remuneration was $9,762.02 in 2018.

There was also $15,167.83 paid out between 14 committee members and the City of Windsor in 2018.

County reaffirms support of mega-hospital location

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Though there are concerns and appeals from a group out of Windsor regarding the location of the new mega-hospital, Essex County council remains firm in its support of the site.

The group known as Citizens for an Accountable Mega-Hospital Planning Process (CAMPP) is appealing the decision by Windsor to rezone about 1,000 acres of land at the corner of County Road 42 and Concession 9 to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) and has hired planner Jennifer Keesmaat and lawyer Eric Gillespie out of Toronto to further its cause.

Amherstburg Deputy Mayor Leo Meloche addressed the matter at Essex County council last Wednesday night, noting that he received calls from residents concerned about the matter. Meloche said there are those concerned about the process being upended and wondered if the county would counteract the measures taken by CAMPP.

“There are residents wondering about it getting delayed or derailed because of these efforts,” said Meloche.

Meloche said there are many residents in favour of the new hospital and said Toronto has received the “Lion’s share with respect to new hospital funding. It’s our turn.”

The Windsor-Essex County region deserves a new hospital, Meloche added, and that there are also concerns that appeals send the wrong message to other parts of the province.

“We don’t need the negativity because it does send a message to the powers-that-be in Toronto that we don’t have our ducks in a row or that we’re not all in agreement. That is not the case. This area is committed to a new hospital,” he said.

Meloche added the message needs to be conveyed that not only is Essex County is not only in support, but is supporting the mega-hospital project financially. Essex County putting money aside annually to fund its $100 million commitment.

Warden Gary McNamara called for people to rally around the new hospital and its location.

“At the end of the day, there was a process,” McNamara said of the site selection.

The warden pointed out there were 12 sites evaluated around the region, and also pointed out the county has agreed to fund $100 million of the cost.

“This is a building to serve our region when it comes to acute care,” said McNamara.

There will still be hospital services in the downtown core of Windsor, he added. McNamara called for residents to get behind the new hospital and its chosen location.

“The decision has been made. It was fair and square,” he said. “Don’t give the government an excuse not to invest in this area. It’s time we put this behind us, rally behind it and get this built. We need a world class facility to take care of our residents.”

McNamara added the planned expansion of County Road 42 has been on the county’s books since 2003, long before the hospital process started.

“We need to do it because it’s a reality. The traffic capacity has to be improved,” he said.

McNamara new Essex County warden, Santos acclaimed as deputy warden

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Essex County council held its inaugural meeting for the 2018-22 term last week and selected a new warden to lead them.

Tecumseh Mayor Gary McNamara was chosen as the warden, which is the head of county council, for this term. Kingsville Mayor Nelson Santos also sought the position, but he didn’t leave without a new title either, as Santos would be acclaimed as deputy warden.

“I’m honoured,” said McNamara. “It’s always a privilege to be recognized by your peers around the table.”

McNamara said he first joined Essex County council about 20 years ago and served as deputy warden from 2000-03 and 2010-14. It was his third time seeking the warden’s position.

“I would say the third time is a charm,” he remarked.

Newly-elected Essex County Warden Gary McNamara (right) accepts the gavel from former warden Tom Bain. Bain served as warden from 2010-18 with McNamara being elected by his colleagues to be the new head of county council at the inaugural meeting Dec. 12.

McNamara said he hopes to continue the work done by his predecessors, two of which remain on county council. Santos was warden from 2006-10 and Lakeshore Mayor Tom Bain was warden from 2010-18.

“The county is in a tremendous place. It’s because of the leadership we’ve had in the past,” he said.

With questions hanging overhead about how the Progressive Conservative government will deal with the province’s debt, McNamara said the county and lower-tier municipalities have to work collectively and deal with any potential impacts.

“We are going to have to be vigilant that they don’t balance the books on the backs of municipalities,” he said.

Working with all seven Essex County municipalities is important, McNamara indicated, but so too is working with the City of Windsor. He added that they have to continue to promote the fact that Essex County “is a great place to do business and raise a family.”

Investing into infrastructure was cited as a priority, including dealing with busy roads in Tecumseh, LaSalle and Lakeshore as well as roads in the southern half of the county as well. Continuing to work on the County Wide Active Transportation System (CWATS) is important, he added, as is completion of a roads needs study.

Members of Essex County council for the 2018-22 term were sworn in last Wednesday night. Top row (from left): Essex Mayor Larry Snively, Amherstburg Deputy Mayor Leo Meloche, Tecumseh Deputy Mayor Joe Bachetti, LaSalle Mayor Marc Bondy, Essex Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche, Kingsville Deputy Mayor Gord Queen and Lakeshore Mayor Tom Bain. Bottom row (from left): LaSalle Deputy Mayor Crystal Meloche, Deputy Warden and Kingsville Mayor Nelson Santos, Warden and Tecumseh Mayor Gary McNamara, Lakeshore Deputy Mayor Tracey Bailey, Leamington Mayor Hilda MacDonald and Leamington Deputy Mayor Larry Verbeke. Amherstburg Mayor Aldo DiCarlo was absent.

The mega-hospital that the County of Essex is committing about $100 million towards has to be completed, with the site for that being the corner of Concession 9 and County Road 42, near Windsor Airport.

“It has to come to fruition,” added McNamara.

McNamara, recently retired from Hiram Walker, is also a former president of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO). He hopes those contacts will help him in his new role as warden.

“It’s given me an opportunity to connect with the upper levels of government,” he said.

Santos said “it’s great to start a new term of Essex County council” and that “I’m really excited to be a part of the team.”

The Kingsville mayor stated continuing to reduce EMS wait times at hospitals is another priority, noting that while they have gotten better, there is still room for improvement. Santos also noted there is a strategic plan for Essex County being developed and that will “lay out a game plan” for the future. He added that will map out what the county can strengthen.

Santos said that “it will be a good one-two punch” with McNamara as the warden and himself as deputy warden, noting they both have a lot of experience and can help the new members.

“I think it’s a positive for the region,” he said.

County council decided also decided its striking committee that will help determine which members sit on what committees. Bain, Santos, Leamington Mayor Hilda MacDonald and LaSalle Mayor Marc Bondy were elected to that committee.

Essex County council is comprised of the seven mayors and seven deputy mayors from around the county.

Essex-Windsor EMS launches new public survey

 

 

Special to the RTT

 

Essex-Windsor EMS wants to know what the public thinks about its services and priorities as it prepares a ten-year Master Plan designed to optimize patient care in Windsor and Essex County.

“Our residents know better than anyone what works well and what needs improvement and we want to hear from them,” said Essex-Windsor EMS Chief Bruce Krauter. “The public’s input will help steer this Master Plan and provide a solid foundation for the continuation of high-quality pre-hospital emergency care in a growing community.”

Essex-Windsor EMS is asking residents to spare a few minutes and fill out a short, online survey about current programs, practices and priorities.

The survey can be found at www.countyofessex.on.ca/emssurvey.

Essex-Windsor EMS will also be promoting the survey and seeking public input on social media using the hashtag #helpYOURems. Phone surveys and door-to-door canvassing will also play a role in the public engagement process.

“We want to ensure the public has ample opportunity to fill out this survey and share their experiences so we can develop a Master Plan with a solid set of guiding principles designed to optimize patient care,” said Krauter.

Essex-Windsor EMS provides land ambulance services to Essex County, Windsor and the Township of Pelee. It has 13 ambulance bases and a staff of about 175 full-time and 100 part-time paramedics.