Latest Council Update On Plasco

- February 25th, 2015

Here’s the latest information on the Plasco deal from the city manager, sent to council late yesterday afternoon. That $300,000 could be in jeopardy and the city has brought in outside lawyers to fight for taxpayers in court:

Plasco Memo Feb 24 2015 Final

Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling, on Instagram at @JonathanWilling and at

New Head Techie Coming To This “Digital City”

- February 23rd, 2015

The City of Ottawa has hired a new chief information officer, a position that’s responsible for all the information technology programs.

In other words, the city’s head techie.

Charles Duffett begins his new job March 2 after spending more than 30 years in both the public and private sectors.

The CIO position has been pretty low-profile and it took some time to hire a new permanent boss since the last one left.

But it’s a pretty important job, especially since the city wants to use technology to streamline its service delivery.

Plus, the general hipness and credibility of organizations are usually judged, on the surface, by things like web services and social media presence. The city’s website, although it has improved, has been an annoyance of councillors for years.

Deputy city manager Steve Kanellakos described Duffett as “a very personable individual” who’s apparently pumped up about joining City Hall.

“We’ve teed him up with the whole notion of becoming and enhancing the work we’re doing about becoming a digital city,” Kanellakos told council’s IT subcommittee today. “He’s very much bought into that challenge about how do we move forward on our web, how do we get more innovation into the organization, so he’s quite excited about the opportunities.”

Kanellakos showed Duffett what IT has been doing over the past four years.

“I gave him all that material before offering him the job, before he made the decision, and he thinks we’re leaders in government right now in terms of the things we have implemented and what we can use to build upon,” Kanellakos said.

Duffett was most recently the CIO at the Canadian Advance Technology Alliance. You can read all about his experience and education on this announcement from when he was hired at CATA.

Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling, on Instagram at @JonathanWilling and at

Round 5 Ends Knotted At 5

- February 21st, 2015

The traditional group photo at the end of this year’s City Hall vs. media game.

There’s already talk about another tilt to break the tie that ended Friday night’s annual City Hall vs. media hockey game, this time at the new Richcraft Sensplex in the east end.

Beacon Hill-Cyrville Coun. Tim Tierney had a chance to put City Hall over the top in the dying minutes but couldn’t bury the winner.

The game ended 5-5.

Once again, great goaltending at both ends.

Also on the ice from council was Rideau-Vanier Coun. Mathieu Fleury.

Mayor Jim Watson’s press secretary Brook Simpson continues to be in awe of my wooden sticks, which haven’t broken in the five games I’ve played. They still have a few dangles in them.

The media team was represented by snipers from the Sun, CBC, Bell Media (TV and radio), Metro and the Carleton U journalism program.

So, if my record keeping is correct, that puts the series at 3-1-1 in favour of City Hall.

And, of course, scouting begins immediately ahead of the next game.

As always, the game raises money for Canadian Tire Jumpstart and we’re happy we can send $501 to the program, which helps families with the costs of putting children in sports.

Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling, on Instagram at @JonathanWilling and at

Gotta Go! Campaign Looks For Budget Relief

- February 17th, 2015

The Raging Grannies sing to the environment committee at City Hall today.

The Gotta Go! campaign has been trying to convince the city to provide more public toilets in recent years. With LRT around the corner, the group wants washrooms built into stations. If council members don’t want to listen, well, now they have no choice. The campaign is using the draft 2015 budget process to speak directly to politicians.

Two delegations were at the environment committee today talking about the public washroom issue. Actually, one delegation, the Raging Grannies, argued in song. Here are the lyrics:

Gotta Go!
(Tune: Be Prepared, the Boy Scouts’ Marching Song)

Gotta Go! No use telling me to wait
When I know what it soon will be too late
Gotta find the nearest possible depot
Can’t just tell my personal river not to flow.

Gotta go! Whether pee or dreaded poo
Where to go? When the world is watching you
It isn’t just the tourists who must find a better way
Though Ottawa’s the capital, we live here every day
If you build it we will come — and there’s the woe!
Gotta go!

Need to pee! When we take the LRT
It’s the key in the park and ride, you see
Our city will step up and lead the line
When we see the handy toilet on the sign

It’s not smart to put the horse before the cart
Have a heart so we know before we start
Building great attractions and a transportation line
Without the comfort stations that most civil states define
It’s an urgency emergency, you see –
Gotta pee!

Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling, on Instagram at @JonathanWilling and at

Mascot Bonanza At City Hall Monday

- February 13th, 2015

It’s going to be a mascot bonanza Monday on the Rink of Dreams at City Hall, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The real, non-mascot Mayor Jim Watson will make a rare appearance on skates and go for a spin, too.

But back to the dozen or so mascots that will be at the rink on Family Day.

A source deep within City Hall sent me the list of expected mascots in attendance, since I’m always wondering if a mascot battle royal will break out when they all get together. Never bet against Phyz.

Friendly – Giant Tiger
Sparky – Ottawa Fire
4 Icehogs
Phyz the physical activity beaver – OPH
OC Owl
Riley – Ottawa 67’s
Sparky – Ottawa Fury
Thinkfirst mascot
Dovercat – Dovercourt
Fuelco FIFA Armadillo

Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling, on Instagram at @JonathanWilling and at