Outlandish Claims From Everyone

Header-image-TuomiBy Robert Tuomi

(WINDSOR, ON) – In a few days, so much has been revealed about the practices of the ineffective Windsor Essex Economic Development Corporation (WEEDC) that it is making people’s heads spin. A rare occurrence, even in this part of Ontario.

In a nutshell, the organization, working to bring down the city’s country-leading unemployment rate, apparently has been sitting idle, doing so little it has amassed a small fortune of $2.3 million in reserves. Some of the money will be returned.

However, this is money those among the ranks of the unemployed probably thought was being spent to bring new jobs-creating factories to the city.

Apparently, they were wrong.

The pretence seemed thick at a hastily called news conference December 2. There, a number of irregularities were revealed, suggesting ineffective councillor, and now interim mayor, Drew Dilkens is probably the city’s most naïve mayor.

In a December 2 tweet, direct from the conference, local newspaper reporter Craig Pearson has Dilkens boasting the situation is a, “… ‘good news story’ because money coming back to (the) community.”

Dilkens clearly demonstrates an abject lack of knowledge or interest in economic development.

It seems he has no clue taxpayers’ money, in a city as desperate for jobs as Windsor, should be spent promoting the region, not accumulating in a bank somewhere. This is a bad news story that only gets more complicated.

It was reported earlier that Dilkens was blindsided by the size of the reserve. However, the paper reports, WEEDC, “… board members decided in November – before the issue became public this week – that the corporation only needed $600,000 in reserves.” Dilkens is a member of that board and should have known.

It gets worse.

As unbelievable as it sounds, the chair of the economic development outfit, the head of a local sous bank, Marty Komsa, as reported in another Pearson tweet, says the developers have, “… achieved goals of last several years.”

Yet, there is no uptick in employment.

This causes many to wonder what those goals are. Are they laid out anywhere for reference?

The fact WEEDC has achieved its goals goes a long way to suggest it really doesn’t know what it is doing. Goal achievement should have meant, like most other communities in the province, it would be continually reporting new investment by companies creating jobs.

This is not happening.

Despite this, Pearson reports the organization is claiming it created 450 jobs with more to come this year. It provides no documentation, but it is highly reminiscent of the claims of its deposed, former head, Ron Gaudet.

In his 2011 report card, he claimed that since, “… 2010 we have announced 1,862 new jobs, $73 million in new investments, retained 6,069 jobs, consulted with 1,784 small businesses and responded to 28,092 small business inquiries.”

Despite such a stellar performance, Gaudet was gone at the end of 2012.

Ironically, if his numbers are accurate, the city has no auditor general to check them out, they are well above what Komsa is saying has happened this year, during a period the outfit has been headed by former politician Sandra Pupatello and now neophyte Rakesh Naidu.

There is a trend in this that suggests Windsor must brace for a declining future.

It turns out, the developers are looking forward to a somewhat relaxed future and don’t need that $2.3 million in the bank to fund, “… detailed pitches, which can cost $1 million or more for a large company considering a move to town …” because such pitches will, “… not likely increase as much in the future … in the last couple of years no major proposal was required.”

Really? Is this why Windsor lost its bid for a new Volvo assembly plant and a new Jaguar assembly plant because it really didn’t even try?

There are countless new opportunities out there. However, the region needs professionals, not abecedarians, to go and dig them out, and not to stuff money into a bank account and then have the mayor claim getting it back is good news.

Robert Tuomi can be heard at 8:30 pm every Monday evening and noon every Wednesday co-hosting Talkin’ ‘Bout Windsor on CJAM 99.1 FM. Listen on demand to previous episodes or catch the discussion live and join in. Talkin’ ‘Bout Windsor is broadcast every Monday and Wednesday to the Windsor and Detroit listening area and streamed online at CJAM.

About the Author

Robert Tuomi
After initially succeeding as a broadcast journalist and achieving senior level assignments, Robert branched out into marketing communications. As a senior executive, primarily in the high-tech industry, Robert created award-winning and comprehensive, multi-faceted initiatives to enhance sales and expand market awareness for some of the largest companies in their fields. Email Robert Tuomi

6 Comments on "Outlandish Claims From Everyone"

  1. Price Waterhouse can only audit what they are given which goes through Helga the city’s CFO.
    Dilkens response just proves that he is way over his head as mayor of Windsor and should do the right thing and step down.
    We must remember that ineffective Dilkens was the chairman for WEEDC before he became mayor, and had no idea that they had that much money, what a twit.

  2. D.D. caught with his drawers down? Any bets that the local rag will trot out their paid hack(s), vander dolen (vd.) and/or henderson (gh……b) to “straighten” this “unfortunate” situation out!

    • You can bet that the Star will be engaged in damage control. But will it do any good?

  3. Sheila M. Street | 3 December 2015 at 18:20 |

    Definitely one more very strong reason for having an Auditor General who would have picked up on this – obviously Price Waterhouse didn’t! Or is this something that was supposed to be forgotten so it could be cherry-picked at a later date? Dummy Dilkens response is beyond stupid.

    • PwC hasn’t reported on this because they haven’t been told to. That’s one difference between a for-hire audit team and an independent in-house Auditor General.

  4. richardsarner | 3 December 2015 at 13:21 |

    Our Bumbling Mayor continually exposing Himself !

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