Junior city councilor Freddie Francis appears to be using the time before his mayoral coronation to good advantage. Drawing on his business development skills, he is cycling through various jobs. It might be his way to gain in-depth knowledge of the economy.
That could help make him a formidable mayor.
When he was elected, the Francis family scion was working at a car lot. Then he moved to a duty free shop, as reported by the Windsor Star on March 10, and now, in the long held tradition of the local city council, has become a double dipper.
Dippers augment their council pay by taking positions with the government or government-financed outfits.
Francis is now stationed at the Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex County. It is fueled with money from the federal and provincial governments, St Clair College, and the United Way.
It is starting to look like the local council’s decision to abandon economic development might be ready to bite the councilors in their posteriors. For years Council has abdicated what it should be doing in favour of a vain focus on sports tourism.
Now, the community could be facing a crisis of considerable size if the new Trump administration closes the United States to cross-border workers from Canada.
According to University of Windsor professor Bill Anderson, quoted in the local paper on March 24, a, “… huge portion of the region’s total income is dependent on people who hold jobs in Michigan.”
Anderson admitted to not wanting to sound alarmist, but where there’s smoke there may be fire. He is right to sound the alarm, if only to wake up the unresponsive council.
If councilors had kept their collective eyes on the ball, and made sure they had a fully functioning economic development office, the city might easily battle such a severe loss of jobs. But, because Council seems more interested in putting Windsor on the world stage, an impossibility say logical people, it has allowed WEEDC to do while away by doing activities.
Apparently, judging by their lack of results, just five jobs so far this year, these activities don’t produce results. And no one seems to be holding their feet to the fire by setting clear performance objectives which they must meet.
It is not good because, as the developers do little, Windsor doesn’t stand still. It continues to lose jobs. As the local media reported, almost 300 jobs could be lost if Fiat Chrysler closes its local transportation division office; something it is planning to do.
Five new jobs could be pitiful in the face of 300 lost ones. Councilors should prepare to wear this travesty on their heads come election time.