“London had a good week this week … at least in business”

First, a thank you.

Let me begin by thanking those Londoners who took the time to read my first few posts this week.   Admittedly, I was not at all sure how this forum would be received, but based on the feedback, I am pleased that those of you interested enough to check it out, found it informative.  My objective is to post a minimum of once per week, most likely on Monday or Tuesday, although I shall post more frequently as opportunities and issues arise.

Just to reiterate, one of my goals for The Paolatto Report is to fully educate Londoners on who I am and how I think, so that if I decide to run, they will have a complete inventory of my views.  Over the past two municipal elections cycles, Londoners have been unpleasantly surprised by the actions and inactions of our civic leader.  Therefore, I want to use this blog to help de-risk my potential candidacy as much as possible so that if I ask for Londoners’ support at the ballot in 2018, voters will have a better understanding of who and what they might be voting for.

In the meantime, I welcome all comments, suggestions and criticisms through the contact page or my twitter handle @PPaolatto.  I am still working with the format, frequency and length all with an intent of improving the content and central message.  So once again, thank you for your interest.

London had a pretty good week

This brings me to the primary reason of today’s post.  In my view, London had a pretty good week, at least economically. Despite the incredibly sad local story regarding a caregiver’s deplorable conduct in two nursing homes and the broader global impact story about the US President’s disappointing decision to pull his country out of the Paris Climate Agreement, there were a number of good news stories and headlines this week that suggest London is doing much better economically. And from my perspective, we must not lose sight of this good news because growth and economic development in our City are fundamental to its success.

In fact, there were several positive news stories that caught my eye this week and made this week particularly noteworthy.  For example, the London Free Press reported that; housing starts and the need for electrical connections were way up, employment levels had improved and youth employment prospects were finally trending positively.  Similarly, CTV and our local radio stations all highlighted the City’s Planning and Development team’s success securing that first key investment in its efforts to re-develop the Victoria hospital lands.  I was equally encouraged by the positive comments conveyed by the Soho Community Association, who seem more than willing to work with the developer to make this promising project a success.

I also recognize that every good news story must be tempered by the recognition that many Londoners are still struggling economically, and much more work needs to be done to let everyone enjoy the benefits of growth.

My point is that we all still need to be encouraged by such news reports because they point to a promising trend where ideally all Londoners can finally feel a part of a prosperous community.

My favourite story of the week

Having said all that, the one news story with which I was most impressed this week, was a brief report by CTV News on the new CAO’s intent to review the value of extended service hours at City Hall, a measure introduced last year by his predecessor at a rather significant financial cost to the City and the workers charged with delivering this service.

While I have no doubt that this new dialogue between the CAO and the City’s union will ultimately lead to a better approach in both the application of the extended service and use of resources, the most encouraging aspect of the story was that fact that the CAO and CUPE 101 Leader were sitting in the same room, discussing the matter, and working collectively to find new solutions.

For one thing, I very much doubt that such a meeting would have ever taken place between the Union leadership and the previous CAO.  More importantly, the story highlights for me, senior management’s intent to improve the culture at City Hall by working from a position of direct engagement, constructive dialogue and mutual respect.

In my view, the days of adversarial bargaining are long gone.  Success in any corporation, be it private or public, depends upon the employment of a valued and engaged team, all contributing to a common end.  Each member of the team, from CEO to front line employee must clearly understand what the corporation is trying to accomplish and what their respective role is in realizing these accomplishments.

In my mind, the employment culture at the City of London needs a great deal of work.  I believe that our civic employees feel neither valued nor respected.   And I believe that in the absence of a positive environment based on mutual respect, the ability for the City to deliver on its promise to Londoners is sub-optimized.

Therefore, in my view, the top good news story of the week, was a story that likely got lost in the sea of other good news, but one that speaks volumes about where we need to go as a City.  My hope is that these positive steps are allowed to continue, and that the good news keeps coming.

London deserves it.