Friday, March 30, 2007

Oshawa Report Lowballs "Real Cost" of Oshawa Politicians

An article headlining the March 28 issue of Oshawa This Week states that the total taxpayer cost of city politicians is $543,303.

What bunk! This is so far from the truth that the deception, gross misrepresentation, slight of hand, and less than honest and forthright accounting and reporting would even impress Harry Houdini, the master of deception, who was able to expose most of the mystics, charlatans, sorcerers and fraud artists of his day.

This report is so deceiving that if politicians used it in their income tax reporting they’d be jailed for tax evasion.

Don’t be fooled, Oshawa, by City Politicians hiding and misrepresenting their real costs to the taxpayer. They have only published what they want you to know. It’s deceptive information supported by creative accounting.

To Oshawa City Hall, accounting is an art, not a science! I wish I could buy a car with the sales guy lowballing the figures this way!

Didn't Enron, Nortel, Worldcom, etc. use these same deceptive methods? Their CEO's are now behind bars.

We have written in our posts on this site that the total costs to the taxpayer of each politician over the 4 year term approaches ½ million dollars…and we stand behind that figure.

We believe the minimum total annual cost to Oshawa taxpayers for Oshawa City Politicians is almost three times as high as reported or a minimum of $1.375 million.

But City Staff at the direction of politicians have designed a reporting system that makes it hard to determine their total salaries because total renumeration is made up of monies coming from a number of sources not listed in the public record.

Some expenses and honoraria are determined not to be salary…that’s great for income tax reporting, isn’t it?

A big payoff for politicians is from Durham regional council. This pay is about the same as their pay for sitting on Oshawa council. And this is a cost to the Oshawa taxpayer isn’t it? Why is it not mentioned as a cost of our politicians? Certainly Oshawa taxpayers pay handsomely about half their property taxes to fund Durham Region and our politicians there.

I note that the article did say that defeated councillor Mike Nicholson got a windfall in his loss with giant severance and retirement allowances. The much larger windfall for defeated Cathy Clarke from both the city and region were not reported. Why not? Where in the city accounting are these accumulating taxpayer costs indicated? It’s not! Why? After all this is a taxpayer cost for our politicians isn’t it?

Total postage costs for politicians were reported as $762….yeah, right! Some costs like politician's "self-promotion" mass mailings are not counted in politician costs. They are hidden in more general accounts so they cannot be traced to politicians. But this is a political cost to taxpayers isn’t it? Many “additional political” costs are hidden within other budgets to hide the real costs from taxpayers--and that is the way council wants it.

How about political honoraria costs to have politicians anointed as chair or vice chair of city or region committees ($46,704.90--about $5000 more annually). Where is that mentioned? That is a cost of our politicians isn’t it?

How about politician costs of having some anointed for sitting on non-city boards and agencies like CLOCA, Downtown Action Committee, Heritage Oshawa, Oshawa Public Library Board, or Senior Citizen’s Centres board of Directors, Parkwood Board of Directors, or Art Gallery Board of trustees. A complete listing of these is available…unfortunately the honoraria (tax free pay) attached to each is not. Politicians don’t accept these jobs for nothing. All of these are indirect costs to the taxpayers that comes from City Council funding of these organizations. City Hall puts the money in the organizational pocket where it is withdrawn by the politicians...It's called indirect pay I guess! And this is only a start of all of the “extra and hidden pay opportunities" since an equal number exist at the Regional Level.

In some jurisdictions with public reporting agencies, giant payoffs are available and these do give a clue to some of the giant payoffs available to politicians…which again are a cost of our polititicans aren’t they?

How about benefits costs such as pensions, health care, mileage allowance, retirement (defeat) allowance. They’re not mentioned . Why not? Or how about the cost of providing blackerry’s for all of council? Where is that political cost of the blackberry’s alone at approximately $1000 per councillor per year factored in?

And hey...I haven't even mentioned city charge cards, car allowances, food allowance, travel and conference costs, etc., etc., etc.

Now I wonder how many city politicians will be going as Oshawa representatives to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing or to the Vancouver Olympics in 2010? After all, Oshawa does need to be represented at these events doesn’t it? I think our representatives should have the best seats in the house for all the events of their choosing, the best hotel accommodation, travel throughout China and British Columbia while they are there, and to top it off…first class air travel. After all, our politicians are here to serve the interests of Oshawa…and we must provide them the first class opportunity to do that, musn't we?

This article demonstrates a great manipulation of the press by the politicians and Oshawa City Hall. I think it's time for a little in-depth investigative reporting about the "real" salaries of Oshawa politicians. It is hard to believe that the press could be so naïve as to fall for City Hall's political ruse.

You can’t take what Oshawa City Hall tells you at face value. We are learning that it has to be proven before it can be taken as truth!

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