Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Shame on the TTC Commissioners.

Yesterday the 9-person TTC commission voted 5-4 for ousting the Chief General Manager of the Transit Service. Without Cause.
Some in the MSM keeping spoonfeeding the excuse that this was only brought about owing to GM Webster's stance of LRTs versus Subway line development.
I think Webster should have been fired as part of a Day One activity list of the current administration. I think he should have been fired years earlier - by a previous adminstration. Here's why:

an unrepaired Sheppard Station sign - for about four and six years. via The Star.
10 (only) crummy Subway Station washrooms.
Yet another station disrepair - after a pricey recent upgrade.
Narrowed traffic snarling -due to St. Clair right of way design. A previously wide street.
mass Ridership dissatisfaction. via The Sun.
a Maintenance Shed Palace.
The precedent of firing numerous other Public Executives.
The above 7 links are all newspaper items - from just the last 14 days!

Then, how about:
- that the union membership went on strike twice in the past decade? Once as a wildcat strike, another with just 90 minutes notice on a Friday Midnight. Sure, strikes happen - and should happen on occasion. Except that having the RESPECT of the organization itself means stunts like 'the way' both of these events transpired don't. Multiple Ticket sellers don't get caught napping and clearing six-figures in pay either. (One of them - riddiculed the most - died a year later).
- the Electronic Fare rollout issues - with differing plans from other regional operations?
- the non-standard int'l subway signage for Union Station's Train Concourse? The lack of a wall map at Yonge-Bloor?
- the Union-Airport link with its detour to Woodbine Racetrack, especially being after the TTC's Eglinton West construction was stopped back in the late 90s?
- the other serious mid-90s proposal to extend the Bloor line downward to a Mall instead of straight out?
- the ambassador program while simple issues were tabled in official reports and clearly evidenced by the public?
- the costly and timely construction miscues along Dundas (as one example) with this city's other Works departments?
- the hassle when ordering a replacement streetcar fleet - whether built in Thunder Bay, Ontario(!) or elsewhere?
- the unrealized additional maintenance troubles of thier hybrid bus purchases?
- the complete lack of flexible operating hours during the annual marathon(s) or other special events?

Webster wasn't a one-man office. But he wasn't exactly a part-time floor sweeper either throughout much of his four decades at the TTC.
I can respect the pre-inclined four left-wing commissioners for having their electable opinions. That isn't the issue here. They could advise for Flying Unicorn Services if they wanted. Webster's role was to get it done. It wasn't.
I can respect the other five commissioners for giving a wait & see chance - fresh from a general election. At first blush, that sounds fair. But the evidence for an immediate dismissal was (IMO) clearcut from the sheer barrage of non-functioning issues as itemed above. One to Five items might be a problem of having bad middle management; having that much more is an indication of an executive deficiency.
So how much extra in severance payout, plus the ever-present public pension will a firing 'Without Cause' cost this city? How much future debt interest will be tacked on to yet allowing another unjustified expense. To the Progressives I say just look at the abundance of deserving individuals truly struggling for a few measly assistance dollars. Then look at one more, unresponsive, long entrenched public executive.
To Webster himself I would say you are still part of the problem. Not getting the job done - hey, we all (should) try our best and sometimes fail. Do the right thing where your Without Cause severance and a costly debt-funded public pension is concerned.

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