65 Residents’ Associations Call for More Staff for Councillors

NEWS: On Dec. 5, City Council passed a motion to double the staffing budgets for Councillors. Read Sue Dexter’s comments here.

On Nov. 22, HVRA and the Annex Residents’ Association sent the Mayor and Councillors a letter signed by 55 residents’ associations that called for adequate staffing of councillors’ offices in the new 25-ward Council. By Dec. 2, ten other Residents’ Associations had also signed, bringing the total to 65. The jointly-signed letter (quoted below, with the full list of signatories) is an impressive show of solidarity. Toronto residents know the value of their Councillor’s office in dealing with local issues!

With twice as many constituents to serve, each councillor will need twice the number of staff—as already provided for in the budget for the 47-ward council. The issue will be discussed at the first Council meeting during the week of Dec. 5.

Sue Dexter and others have also followed up by commenting publicly about the issues:

  • Toronto Star, Nov. 22
  • CBC, several radio interviews and a web story
  • On Nov. 30, another letter to the Mayor and Council from HVRA and ARA commenting on a report by city staff about Council restructuring. The letter expresses appreciation of the careful approach to important changes, but notes strong concern about the recommendation for the Mayor and Councillors to select members of the committee that will screen appointments to boards and commissions.

This is the original letter (with the full list of signatories) sent to the Mayor and Councillors:

Dear Mayor and Councillors: November 22, 2018
     [with additional signatories on Nov. 30 and Dec. 2]
Re: Staffing decisions for Councillor’s offices

The new reality of a 25-councillor world presents an unprecedented governance challenge. Each Councillor will still have to attend to meetings and engage on City-wide issues, but now must represent the needs of many more constituents, averaging 110,000 residents per ward. How Councillors can effectively shoulder this increased constituency load alone is unclear. What is clear is that without the allocation of additional resources, they will be unable to maintain the level of representation they currently provide, and which constituents have quite rightly come to expect. This will serve only to impair the effective operation of the City. Such a result is neither an acceptable nor necessary outcome.

One way to mitigate this imbalance between the legitimate expectations of constituents as to the level of service they receive and the ability of Councillors to deliver that service is to ensure adequate capacity in their offices. Councillors’ staff are often the first point of contact with constituents. They effectively handle the calls and concerns directed to the Councillor, thus improving the overall effectiveness and efficiency of the Councillors’ work. With wards doubled in size, at a minimum staff levels should be doubled. This would simply maintain a level playing field by continuing unchanged the prior budget appropriation for Councillor staff.

In addition, where wards have exceptional levels of planning and development, we further urge you to allow for additional staffing in recognition of the importance of those files and the work demand they represent.

It is imperative that the result of the change to the City’s governance model not result in an erosion of representation or a deterioration in the overall effectiveness in the governance of the City. We trust that you will act accordingly. See below the list of 65 Resident Association signators.

Yours truly,

David Harrison, chair, Annex Residents’ Association; Henry Wiercinski
Gail Misra, chair, Harbord Village Residents’ Association; Sue Dexter

On behalf of the following signators:
1. Annex Residents’ Association, David Harrison
2. Harbord Village Residents’ Association, Gail Misra
3. Garment District Neighbourhood Association, Valerie Eggertson
4. CityPlace Residents’ Association, Gary Pieters
5. Parkdale Residents Association, Ric Amis
6. Ossington Community Association, Jessica Wilson
7. Liberty Village Residents’ Association, Todd Hofley
8. Roncesvalles Macdonell Residents’ Association, Norman Kolasky
9. FONTRA, Cathie Macdonald and Geoff Kettel, including
10. Avenue Road & Eglinton Community Association,
11. Bayview Village RA,
12. Bedford Park/Wanless Residents’ Association,
13. Deer Park Residents’ Group,
14. Davenport Triangle Residents Association,
15. Don Mills Residents Inc.,
16. Edwards Gardens Neighbourhood Association,
17. Eglinton Park Residents’ Association (EPRA), Thomas Cohen,
18. Forest Hill Homeowners’ Association,
19. Governor’s Bridge Ratepayers Association,
20. Glenorchy Residents’Association,
21. Greater Yorkville Residents Association (GYRA),
22. Lawrence Park Ratepayers’ Association,
23. Greater Beach Residents’ Association,
24. Leaside Property Owners’ Association,
25. Lytton Park Residents’ Organization Inc.,
26. Moore Park Residents’ Association,
27. North Rosedale Ratepayers’ Association,
28. Old Orchard Grove Residents Assn.,
29. Oriole Park Association,
30. Rathnelly Residents Association, Pym Buitenhuis
31. St. Andrew’s Ratepayers Association,
32. Sherwood Park Residents’ Association,
33. South Armour Heights Residents’ Association,
34. South Eglinton Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association,
35. South Hill District Home Owners’ Association,
36. South Rosedale Residents Association, Don J. Hogarth,
37. Stanley Knowles Housing Co-op,
38. Summerhill Residents’ Association,
39. Uptown Yonge Neighbourhood Alliance,
40. West Keewatin Neighbours,
41. West Lansing Homeowners Association,
42. York Mills Gardens Community Association,
43. York Mills Leslie Ratepayers’ Association,
44. York Mills Valley Association,
45. Yonge Ridge Homeowners Association,
46. Grange Community Association, Ralph Daley and Ceta Ramkhalawansingh,
47. Huron Sussex Residents’ Organization, Danae Engle,
48. York Quay Neighbourhood Association, Angelo Bertolas, Carolyn Johnson,
49. Lakeview Avenue Residents Association, Jeff Hoedeman,
50. Palmerston Area Residents Association, Paul Maclean,
51. Seaton Village Residents Association, Jennifer Hunter,
52. Bay Cloverhill Community Association, Kathryn Holden,
53. Fort York Neighbourhood Association, Ryan Myhal,
54. ABC Residents’ Association, John Caliendo and Ian Carmichael,
55. Cottingham Square Community Association (CSCA), Neil C. Blair,
56. Long Branch Neighbourhood Association, Judy Gibson and Christine Mercado,
57. Toronto Island Community Association (TICA), Tony Farebrother,
58. Regent Park Neighbourhood Association, Megann Willson,
59. Brimley Forest Community Association, Tom Chang,
60. Rosewood Taxpayers’ Association, Alura Moores,
61. Agincourt Village Community Association, Rhoda Potter,
62. Wellington Place Neighbourhood Association, Scott James and Martin Gravel,
63. Pocket Community Association, Susan McMurray,
64. St. Lawrence Neighbourhood Association, Sharon McMillan,
65. Toronto Entertainment District Residents Association, Robin Lobb.