Saturday, October 31, 2009

More Wasted Money at the County of Simcoe

County of Simcoe New Solid Waste Management Strategy-
Stantec Hired to Develop 20-year Strategy for Waste Diversion and Disposal

I read with interest the above titled Oct 27 release from Rob McCullough and Allan Greenwood.
The County Environmental Services staff continue to amaze me. They appear to be a department out of control and not answerable to anyone. I also know that there are many other departments and staff that are quite dedicated and work hard.
In business from time to time you need specialized services from outside agencies and consultants as they are short term requirements and would not merit hiring a full time person. Examples would be architects, lawyers, auditors, mechanical engineers and so on.
It appears that when actual work needs to be done by the Environmental Services Department at the County, a consultant is engaged. The same appears to be the case with Communication Department at the county. That to me is a sign of one of two problems. Either the existing staff lacks competence or they are simply lazy. I am not sure which applies at the county.
If the Manager of Environmental Services is not capable of investigating new waste management technologies and their potential use for the county then I think we have a problem. It should be in his job description that this is his responsibility not that of Stantec. Site 41 and its fiasco exemplified the lack of competence in my estimation. Possibly he needs further education to increase his knowledge and ability or possibly the job has outgrown the individual and a higher level of skill is now required. That needs to be assessed by the CAO and council.
The amount of wasted money at the county level seems to go unchecked and no attempt appears to be made to reduce budgets as most companies have been forced to undertake in the past two years.
The Warden and Councillors are to be the stewards of our county and the resources that it manages.
I ask that you take that responsibility more seriously and hold your senior staff more accountable. Instead of rubber stamping reports without much thought or study, challenge them much more when they appear to be cavalier about engaging outside services that should be part of their job function.
Having experience with consultants, it is quite common that as much as half of the fee is spent on learning about the organization and its requirement, not actually assisting with the solutions or recommendations. That is why the decision to use outside services must be well thought out and analysed in a good old fashion “return on investment” basis. The other key question should always be, “Can we do it ourselves?”
In the case of alternate waste diversion solutions, the manager should be doing all the legwork including the research and investigative work. He should then make a recommendation for a course of action. Council should then approve a plan. If specialized services or consultants are then required to implement the agreed solutions, then so be it.
That’s how it works in the real world.

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