OK. I could go into my usual rant about Administrative incompetence and how the taxpayers are not getting value for money for the gazillions we are paying in salaries to managers. Managers who, it appears, cannot successfully supervise the construction of a simple splash pad. A facility that is basically a concrete pad that has water shooting out of it. A facility that rivals a block of concrete in its complexity.
No. I am not going to get into that. I am also not going to say what I think of City Administration blaming the contractor for this failure. The City of Thunder Bay had every opportunity in the world to make sure that the plumbing permit was issued before work was started last year. Water being a very basic component of a successful splash pad, a person would have expected the plumbing permit to be considered kind of …ummm vital? Not a loose end that a responsible and competent City Administrator would leave hanging until the very end of the design and construction process.
In Thunder Bay, the buck passes right through City Hall and stops at the contractor’s door. No responsibility for City Administration. None at all. The contractor needed to come to the City of Thunder Bay with a valid plumbing plan in order to be given the permit. The City of Thunder Bay Administrators could do nothing but wait. Nothing else could be done. Nothing. Not one damn thing. Zero. Nada. Zip.
Levels of responsibility change when the conversation moves to salary increases. Administrators’ responsibilities are endless when City Administration contract negotiations start. No sitting back and waiting then. No siree. Everyone is pro-active to the nth degree. Schedules and budgets are god.
Also, I am not going to go into the complete lack of financial time penalties in the contract. Those penalties would provide some incentive for the contractor to complete the project on schedule. Believe me, money is what its all about. Slap a $1,000 penalty for each day the project goes beyond the scheduled completion date, you have what is called a motivated contractor.
No. Not today. Today I am going to look at this failure from another angle. I believe that managerial incompetence alone might not explain this. Yes, I do understand that Greg Alexander has his name written all over this and yes, believe that Greg Alexander is probably the most incompetent manager the City of Thunder Bay has under its employ. No secret there.
I believe that there is a very strong possibility that the reason this splash pad was not open this summer is to keep the user numbers for the splash pad at the waterfront high. A second splash pad on this side of the city would likely siphon off some splash pad users who may choose to stay closer to home. The success of the waterfront splash pad is all the City of Thunder Bay has to show for the $60 million spent on Prince Arthur’s Landing. High numbers of users make people who supported the project look good.
Conspiracy theory? Could be. The alternative is gross mismanagement and incompetence at such a high (or is it low) level that is beyond belief. Even for me. Think about it. Are our city managers that incompetent that bringing a simple project such as a neighborhood splash pad to a successful on-time completion is beyond their capabilities? If so, why do we still have them working for us?