Bell: Calgary bye-bye bonus costs a mess thanks to the spinless advice

Just how it is.

The vetcheque handouts are only over when the bosses of the city union sing.

And no doubt they won’t practice their vocal cords until they have a spinless town hall to cough up another goodie for their rank and stock.

Ah yes, a new year. Oh no, the same as the old year.

Again, nothing is as it appears in the world of the glass world in the large, blue-box big, tax-financed. Talk about a blank check. The politicians and the bigwigs know that they can do what they want.

They bet most Calgarians don’t care. In the town hall they bet their jobs are safe. Nobody has proven that they are wrong.

After all municipalities this year hit homeowners with a 7.51% increase in property taxes and many businesses with a double tax increase and when the bad news hit the streets, no orphans even moved a mouse.

Then there is this so-called pension benefit where city employees receive an extra check as a disposable gift on top of their juicy pensions, after life-long job security in a city where we have seen an avalanche of pink missteps.

This piece of change for an individual covering the coop often hits more than $ 10,000 and it was Colin Craig of the Canadian taxpayer federation who found it buried in the fine print of a city report.

Without him we would not have been wiser.

Then, a few days before Christmas, the headlines told us that the city has scrapped the sweet sayonara.

Not so fast.

Don’t forget that the city could have stopped the bonus money at the end of this month. They didn’t do that.

Only four councilors – Chahal, Chu, Farkas and Magliocca – urged that exit.

No surprise. The great powers of the city have done everything to ensure that they limit their losses.

They wanted everyone who now works in the city to be able to stand in line and pay for the next 30 years.

They were in no hurry to get answers. A few paper shufflers were downright snotty. I hate snotty.

After the political equivalent of tooth-pulling, we finally discovered that the payouts had been made since 1964 without the approval of the council.

On Monday, Sean Chu, the former agent and now city councilor, wanted the city administrator to explain publicly what was going on.

It’s easy. The goodbye dollar could go in 2022 or until a union agrees to a contract.

Ward 4 Coun. Sean Chu on Monday, September 9, 2019.

Gavin Young / Postmedia

The higher city administrators insist that the unions must screw the bonus dough, even if the farewell funds are not in the current agreement with the workers.

The bigshots run from the city to the nearest piece of white fabric at the right moment and put it on the flagpole of the town hall. The union bosses can see it a mile away.

Chu thinks the city will not be “tough” when dealing with the unions. The city gives the unions something in exchange for suspending the bonus money.

“Let them sue. That is my position. Let them sue the city and let the public judge, “says a tough Chu.

“It is a mess. I feel that the city will not last for the people of Calgary.”

Jeromy Farkas is another council member who wants to clear the air. He has a great job. There is a lot of smoke in this box to say nothing about many mirrors.

Farkas says that many taxpayers in Calgary think that the writing of the checks now stops and he wants to make sure they know that this is not the case.

Far from.

“Below it is a kind of horror movie where there can always be a narrower sequel and Calgary’s city hall likes big budget productions,” he says.

Alderman Farkas listens in council rooms.

Brendan Miller / Postmedia

Farkas is also not convinced that the city will not play a shell game and take away the bonus money with one hand and offer another handout with the other.

After all, it’s not their money.

Farkas says that the municipality must know clearly what is expected. Ax the bonus. No new benefits. Period of time.

That is not going to happen without a new council. Remember that the payouts continue until after the next city elections.

“The gravy train must stop, not the gravy train must be diverted to another station,” says the councilor.

Of course Nenshi and his crew drive choo-choo through the city. On Monday, the duly elected mayor says the town hall is “a well-functioning government.”

He sounds like he really believes it.

Crazy as it seems, the way things are going that can say otherwise.

rbell@postmedia.com