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The low point of the evening was also the comic high point. When it was suggested muni employees be approached about voluntarily renegotiating their pay increases - representing $675,000 of the $3 millionish budget shortfall, 22 per cent - councillor Ralph leapt to his feet in agreement. When it was pointed out council had pretty much abrogated the moral high ground to negotiate any such deal by refusing to refuse their own automatic pay increase, a sober D'oh settled over the auditorium. Oh heck, it's only symbolic.
I don't think anyone ought to be scapegoating muni workers over the mayor's, council's and management's unwillingness to take the hard road instead of the easy road. While I'm sure there's some deadwood knocking around the hall, I know most of the staff are conscientious and hard-working. They're our friends and neighbours and I don't begrudge them what I'd like for myself: a living wage and a good job. The fact that most people outside the bubble of muni hall either don't enjoy those things or, if they do, live with the current threat of watching them disappear, has more to do with the resentment that played out Thursday than any real desire to inflict pain.
At the end of the day, there's not much this mayor, council and administrator can do other than what they're doing. That's not to say there aren't other things that can be done. Just that this isn't the crew who can do them; they've made that perfectly clear. Live with it.
Oh yeah, and no dogs were harmed writing this column.