Mayor’s Levee – 2023

Mayor Lucas Cleveland has already made some changes – the New Year’s Levee moved from noon January first to 5:00 pm January 3 and featured a solo musician instead of the Concert band.  Refreshments also changed from sandwiches and Christmas cake to cheese, crackers and slices of meat.  Although Mandy Robinson the Town crier was there, the poet laureate Jessica Outram, was not. Unlike previous years, the speech by Lucas was short and consisted of acknowledgements and thank you’s to people who had contributed to the event but also to people who had worked hard during the recent storm.  Although there are no official estimates available, the crowd appeared to be over 100 and similar in size to attendance at previous events.

Mayor Lucas Cleveland
Mayor Lucas Cleveland

Highlights

  • Although there was a lineup of Councillors to greet residents, not everyone participated; instead, Lucas and the others mingled with the crowd.
  • Town Crier Mandy Robinson got a laugh when she initially said “Long live King George”!
  • In thanking LUSI staff, Lucas mentioned that they have only four line workers, plus a manager and the audience applauded when Lucas thanked them for their work restoring power in 16 hour shifts. See the recent report by Lakefront Utilitities here – it gives more information about their work during the storm.
  • Lucas thanked Victoria Hall volunteers for organizing the event.
  • He also thanked other Town staff including 1) the emergency team who met every 2-3 hours during the storm,  2) the CCC  staff who provided a warming space and 3) Police, Fire and Emergency services who continued to provide their services during the storm.
  • Another thank you went to the general community who provided shelter to people they may not have even met previously.
  • Musician David Shewchuk played his violin but his music was mostly not appreciated because his sound system was too loud and badly distorted. The intent was that it would be background music.
  • The food was popular and there was an open bar with house red and white wine available.
  • I didn’t spot MPP Piccini or MP Lawrence – they may have been there but certainly did not make a speech.  But the new County Warden and Mayor of Cramahe, Mandy Martin was there.  Also in attendance were the current chair of the Police Board, Dean Pepper, and Police Chief Paul VandeGraaf.  Staff were also well represented.
  • The speech by Lucas did not include a review of Council activity in 2022 – as Mayor John Henderson usually did – nor did it include a look into the coming year like Mayors Delanty and Broconier did.
  • Overall the Levee was quite different but as usual, a good chance to meet the key people in the Town.

One of the reasons that Lucas moved the event to the evening time slot was to make it more accessible to citizens who might be working and hopefully a younger demographic.  Lucas responded to commenters on this blog who did not like the changes, especially not having the concert band – go here for his remarks. The event was certainly well-attended and there were young people there but it’s impossible to know if that is more than previous events.

Below are some photos of the event.

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Lemon Cake
5 January 2023 8:27 am

I think the change of date is a great idea (Jan 1 many folks usually have plans with immediate family) and I’m all for short (or no) speeches at these types of gatherings – people are there to meet with one another in person and a reading from preprepared speech notes would be better distributed as a written post on social or the town website. I think if they want to have more young people, they’re going to have to make it kid and family friendly. Not hard to do and hopefully something they consider in future. Definitely supportive of this change to the format overall.

ben
4 January 2023 7:06 pm

“One of the reasons that Lucas moved the event to the evening time slot was to make it more accessible to citizens who might be working and hopefully a younger demographic. “

This quote reminds me of that old contest in a now defunct British newspaper – “Spot the Ball.”

Now all we have do is “Spot the younger demographic!” Looking at the pics that should be easy I only saw “aging boomers.” Not surprising really remember the adage about Older Adults and free food.

Last edited 28 days ago by ben
Dave
Reply to  ben
4 January 2023 8:31 pm

Perhaps Ben your appetite continues to be hardy. Usually age has the opposite affect. Hope you are just attempting humour.

Myself I was sorry not to see more young people. Over my life time society has greatly changed. It would be more encouraging to see youth participating and interested in their Town demographics at least.

Announced today Toronto is to hire 200 more police officers at a cost I think was announced of around a billion dollars along with 50 more special constables to deal with the number of serious attacks on passengers. Let us hope Cobourg remains a Shangri La but signs are here the gates are being breeched with negative changes these past few years.

Last edited 28 days ago by Dave
language lover
Reply to  Dave
30 January 2023 5:15 pm

Dave,
I think the word you’re searching for is hearty, not hardy, as in hearty appetite, not hardy.

Cobourg taxpayer
4 January 2023 3:39 pm

While I was not able to attend my thoughts are: change is often good however music so loud it’s impossible to converse would have sent me running in the other direction. The mayor’s speech should have included a look at the year(s) to come. It sounds as if the community really came together during the storm. I certainly didn’t know LUSI only has 4 frontline staff. How many other staff are there? I already know the taxpayer is not allowed to know salaries. Congrats to emergency staff during the storm but what in the world do they do when there is no emergency which is most of the time? The MPP and MP should have had a presence, although Mr Piccini did a virtual congratulations at council swearing in.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
4 January 2023 6:02 pm

Yes Cobourg taxpayer, I was amazed to hear of the tiny number of workers! Lakefront has made huge efforts to avoid divulging the salaries of their senior staff. It is a little out of date but a filing at an Ontario Energy Board (OEB) rate hearing provides a clue. See https://www.rds.oeb.ca/CMWebDrawer/Record/442076/File/document This confidential salary survey only includes data for four local distribution companies and Lakefront is one of the four. Note that this is data from ten years ago and I suspect that salaries have increased greatly. Their president makes more than Cobourg’s CAO. Read the salaries for presidents and other execs on page 26 and perks on the previous pages and weep if you’re a worker or a taxpayer!

Leweez
Reply to  Ken Strauss
4 January 2023 6:31 pm

Ken Strauss, Cobourg taxpayer, talk to the workers at LUSI and hear the goings on at their workplace.
4 workers is the biggest department , apparently the water department has 3 workers and looks after 3 water systems.
I can’t understand how this is not called out.
Lucas Cleveland, obviously you are on this site, maybe look into this and get back to us.
Also exposing senior staff salaries seems important to the taxpayer, quit hiding the salaries.
Mr. Cleveland you speak of transparency, well prove it!!

Bryan
Reply to  Leweez
4 January 2023 7:53 pm

Leweez,

Holdco is a separate corporations owned 99.99% by the Town. The Town. LUI (Lakefront Utilities Inc) and LUSI (Lakefront Utilities Services Inc) are 100% owned subsidiary companies of Holdco. Holdco and LUI have no employees. They outsource their labour and management requirements to LUSI.

Cobourg (Waterworks) water system is operated under contract by LUSI, who also used to provide services to Colborne (Cramahe) but no longer do so.

Holdco’s annual reports indicate that 16 people (Full Time Equivalents) are engaged in “electrical” work not including management.
9 work in water operations plus 5 or so in management and admin.

My understanding is that a company does not have to report management compensation if it has under 3 management FTE. LUSI claims less than 3.

While Mayor Cleveland supports transparency, he has no authority to force disclosure of management compensation at LUSI. He is not hiding this as you suggest and has nothing to prove in this regard.

Last edited 28 days ago by Bryan
Leweez
Reply to  Bryan
4 January 2023 8:30 pm

Yaya Bryan,
same old same old, I knew this was coming so I looked into this a bit further.
so here we go, the water department contracts services to the Cobourg water system, Grafton water system and the Hamilton Township water system.
There are 3 water distribution employees. These are the guys who repair watermain breaks, hydrants, water services, water valve exercising ,hydrant flushing, water meter replacements and repairs.
As for the 16 electrical employees, were 12 of them on vacation during the storm? Because if they aren’t management they should have been working.
There are 4 lineman in the Electric department that is it as our mayor stated.
Bryan, usually I find your posts well thought out but when it comes to LUSI it seems you have been duped.
but don’t feel bad, council has been duped for years

Bryan
Reply to  Leweez
4 January 2023 8:59 pm

Leweez,

You wrote “the water department contracts services to the Cobourg water system, Grafton water system and the Hamilton Township water system.”

What is the water department?

I got my employee numbers from Holdco’s Annual Reports, so your issue is with Holdco, not me.

As for being duped by LUSI, I’m an ardent Holdco skeptic. I encourage you to pursue your concern and try to reconcile what you have been told with what Holdco reports. Go back to your sources and ask hard questions.

It may be that “lineman” is a job title on a crew of 3 or 4 people including a driver and a few “helpers”. LUI likely has several “line” trucks and crews

Last edited 28 days ago by Bryan
Leweez
Reply to  Bryan
4 January 2023 9:22 pm

I went to the source to get the numbers, by water department, I mean the Lusi water division.
As for the Holdco annual report, Lusi employees stated to me that it is “ a load of crap”

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Leweez
4 January 2023 10:21 pm

Leweez, Lucas is on the Holdco board. You should meet with him and discuss your information. Can the Holdco board release the LUSI executive salaries for transparency?

Last edited 28 days ago by Ken Strauss
Leweez
Reply to  Ken Strauss
4 January 2023 10:50 pm

What I would consider is being on the board myself😄
Doesnt it seem funny that the President of Lakefront gets to conduct the interviews of his possible bosses(board of directors)?

Bryan
Reply to  Leweez
5 January 2023 12:06 am

How does Dereck Paul get to interview board of director candidates?
He is not on Holdco’s board. Nor is he on Cobourg Council.

Leweez
Reply to  Bryan
5 January 2023 7:56 am

That question I do not have the answer to

Leweez
Reply to  Bryan
4 January 2023 9:34 pm

Also there are no drivers or labourers in the electric department. 4 linemen only as I stated.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Leweez
4 January 2023 10:14 pm

Leweez, if 4 linemen did all of the work to cleanup from our recent storm they deserve appreciation (as noted by Lucas at the levee) and a pay raise or at least a special bonus! Perhaps the bonus could be funded by reducing the executive salaries…

Leweez
Reply to  Ken Strauss
4 January 2023 10:46 pm

haha that would be a good idea.
Yes the 4 linemen were extremely busy, so busy that 2 electrical contract companies (west more power and Spark Electric) were brought in to assist along with a forestry company.
Those 2 electrical contractors brought in more linemen than LUSI employs.
This info is in Lakefront’s storm report

Bryan
Reply to  Leweez
4 January 2023 11:00 pm

The 2020 LUSI/CUPE collective agreement lists four (4) Electric Department job classifications with hourly pay ranging from $26.42 to $44.60:
Sub Forman
Journeyman Lineman
Distribution Technician
Labourer

There may be only 4 lineman, but a lineman can’t operate a bucket truck alone. It takes a crew of 3-4 per truck and LUI has several bucket trucks. Your source is feeding you a “load of crap”

I do agree in part with your sources that the Holdco Annual Report is “a load of crap” I prefer the term “fluffy” which is an “financial/investment industry” term generally applied to “PR” reports like an Annual Report.
Typically long on hype and cheerleading, short on usable content.

Last edited 28 days ago by Bryan
Leweez
Reply to  Bryan
4 January 2023 11:13 pm

Actually no Bryan, a lineman can’t be up in a bucket doing work without a ground man.
Lusi has 2 lineman per truck, one being in the bucket and one acting as the ground man.
there are no labourers, no drivers.
Lusi has 4 linemen so they operate two trucks with 2 linemen in each truck.
A distribution technician is a different job than a lineman and just because there are different job titles in a collective agreement it does not mean that there are any people employed as such.
Bryan you really need to investigate this because you are now making guesses instead presenting facts

Kevin
Reply to  Leweez
5 January 2023 7:31 am

Maybe 4 linemen (2 per truck) is the appropriate number for Cobourg. In normal circumstances power is kept on most of the time (some outages are caused by issues outside of Cobourg). The recent storm was a relatively rare event. How many linemen could have been used to do the related repairs? We cannot afford to keep that many linemen all the time. What I would like to know is the number of managers who do the scheduling for the 4 linemen. Most likely somebody is planning system upgrades, scheduling repairs, etc.

RUSS
Reply to  Kevin
5 January 2023 8:37 am

I thought this was a report on the Mayors Levee …. how’d we get off on LUSI rant ????

Concerned
Reply to  RUSS
6 January 2023 12:47 pm

Because of the distain certain bloggers have for public servants in general.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Concerned
6 January 2023 2:12 pm

As verbs the difference between distain and disdain is that distain is to stain, discolour or tarnish while disdain is to regard (someone or something) with strong contempt.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Concerned
6 January 2023 10:06 pm

A curious comment, Concerned. My impression was universal gratitude for the LUSI workers but perhaps less so for LUSI execs.

ben
Reply to  RUSS
6 January 2023 4:55 pm

Because some people on this Board will deviate from any topic published to mount their favourite hobby horse and then wait for the usual reaction which usually comes from the same posse.

Dave
4 January 2023 1:32 pm

We enjoyed the Levy. Food and wine were excellent. Seating was very good. However we left a 1/2 hour before conclusion. It was impossible to have a conversation with the people that joined our table as the volume of the music on was too high and you could only converse in the ear of the person sitting beside you with a few polite remarks to the people at your table who were obviously also experiencing trouble in hearing conversation at the table. Perhaps next year lower the volume when the musician has finished.

Arrived right on time, the reception line to meet Council had yet to form. When I noted it had formed a bit later went to join and discovered I would either have to butt in the line or leave the area and go to the end of a long line of people signing in who then were directly going to the reception line. I noted the mayor going here and there not engaging with people but checking on things? and thought I would have a word but when I attempted to he bypassed me to go to a person sitting at a table. Engagement was not great. Had much more success engaging Mr. Piccini last year at his Levy as he moved throughout engaging with many. Also noted another person who was immediately told – “I have to go over there” and immediately left him standing there dropping his hand.

Last edited 29 days ago by Dave
Dave
Reply to  Dave
4 January 2023 4:17 pm

As this was a new format and introduction of the new Council I look forward to hearing others experiences and thoughts of the evening who attended.

Lucas Cleveland
Reply to  Dave
10 January 2023 11:33 am

Dave my apologies. I would love the opportunity to meet. Please send me an email and I would love to have you into the office for a chat. There were so many people there I tired to spread myself out but knew I would miss some. Thanks for letting me know albeit on this thread, anytime you want to talk I will do my best to make myself available., That goes for all those on this chat.

Kindly

Lucas Cleveland

Wally Keeler
4 January 2023 1:15 pm

In a missive to her Poetry Present subscribers, Jessica Outram printed. “Happy 2023! We’ve shared 182 poems since this project began in August 2019 to nearly 200 subscribers. Thank you for your support of local writers and of writers who wanted to connect with readers in the Cobourg area.

My 4-year term as Cobourg’s Poet Laureate has come to an end. Soon it will be officially announced at a council meeting. Then the search for a new Poet Laureate will begin. Until one is found, I will continue to serve in the role. 

It has truly been an honour to nurture the expression of life in Cobourg, a culturally dynamic community. Over the past four years I’ve had the opportunity to meet new people at many community events and online events. I will always treasure these relationships. Thank you for your invitations, encouragement, and generous support of local poetry.

Abby
Reply to  Wally Keeler
5 January 2023 9:55 am

Many thanks to Jessica. She has become a very familiar presence at events around our town. I feel I have been entertained as well as informed by her delightful, intelligent and engaging presentations. Many thanks, indeed!