No matter how you look at it there is something very wrong in the way three Hamilton NDP constituency offices are being operated. We have three, essentially two-person offices, who between them have racked up almost a dozen instances of employee terminations, grievances and labour arbitration hearings. No less than five staffers have gone on stress leave and there are at least two instances of employees simply being paid to stay home for extended periods of time. In one instance the NDP actually took the union representing a former employee in NDP leader Andrea Horwath’s office to arbitration in an attempt to stop payments to the employee that had been continuing for more than 17 months after she was dismissed. Setting aside the terrible optics of a party that derives its support from the labour movement being caught up in round after round of labour litigation; there is the issue of what this mess does to the ability of constituents to receive service from these offices that their taxes pay for. Part of the problem lies in the Ontario Legislature which apparently allows the political parties to set standards, or maybe no standards, for the operation of these offices. Clearly there is a need for a more professional approach to the operation of what for most constituents is their only point of contact with their government. One of the flaws in our democracy is that we can elect people with good political or policy instincts; who by nature of their background may have no administrative skills at all (and running a two person office shouldn’t require an MBA.) Add to that, possibly, a trait common to many of the elected members who, as the late Prime Minister Mackenzie King once put it, “attach excessive urgency to their re-election,” and we have the conditions that exist in Hamilton. How many other constituency offices across the province are in the same boat, we don’t know, but there are undoubtedly more. Constituency office workers are public servants — they are not the personal servants of their MPP’s as some apparently mistakenly believe. There needs to be uniform training for MPPs on personnel management, and better centralized standards established for the operation of these front-line offices. Hopefully after the coming election the government of the day can add this important issue to the agenda.

Providing a Fresh Perspective for Burlington and Hamilton.

4 Comments to: NDP staffing issues an embarrassment

  1. barry coe

    March 12th, 2018

    enjoyed your story concerning the NDP offices in Hamilton. Also enjoyed your interview on CHML with Bill Kelly this Morning.
    Wondering if anyone submitted a feature regarding the passing of Doug Wallace, 25 year CEO of AMITY? I was surprised the Spectator did not run a feature. I had the pleasure of working with Mr. Wallace for five years and he was such an advocate for people with disabilitites.
    As such I submitted a column to Hamilton Community News.

    As a long time resident of the core John I am confident that you are aware of the contributions Mr. Wallace made to Hamilton such as DARTS and the Ability Group.

    Any event continued success John and I look forward to the next issue.
    Warmest regards,

    Barry

    Reply
  2. Marsha

    March 14th, 2018

    Here’s a thought experiment for the old boys: What would the Liberal and PC equivalent be if they bothered to offer their workers union protections rather than working them like pack mules, demeaning them daily and lavishing them with unwanted advances?

    Reply
  3. Marsha

    March 14th, 2018

    Here’s a thought experiment for the old boys: What would the Liberal and PC equivalent be if they bothered to offer their workers union protections rather than working them like pack mules, demeaning them daily and lavishing them with unwanted sexual advances?

    Reply
  4. jim graham

    March 17th, 2018

    Andrea…..few have done less with more…with P.C’s imploding, and Ms. Kathy as vulnerable as she has ever been, Horwath and the NDP have been conspicuously absent. It’s almost as if Andrea has been distracted by……other opportunities? Shameful hypocrisy from our once respected opposition.

    Reply

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