What a week of Good News! Russ Wilson will "retire" at the end of June. (Much more on that still to come to light.) Former Fort Erie CAO, now the CAO for the region has quit!
Yes, it's official. Harry Schlange is once again moving to greener pastures. This time it's Brampton, the city that has gone through six CAOs in ten years. Good luck with that, Harry. It seems that Harry and Regional Chair Alan Caslin did not get along very well and that may be why Harry has moved on. According to an article in the Niagara Falls Review, regional councillors held a private meeting in January where there was a vote to give Caslin the authority to dismiss Schlange. That vote failed.
In addition to Schlange, former acting CAO from the Town of Fort Erie, Ron Tripp and former planner from Fort Erie, Rino Mostacci eventually found their way to the region. In fact, Schlange was hired by the town during Mayor Redekop's first administration, but he quit after a short while, went elsewhere and then came back. (CLUE: bad idea to take back someone who quit.) All three of these former town employees, in my opinion, caused irreparable harm to the town. Schlange had problems working with certain members of council; Ron Tripp's "state of the art" drainage plan for the Bernard Road Beach has pretty much destroyed it and Rino Mostacci championed the reprehensible Bay Beach Condo Project.
The Burgoyne Bridge replacement project in St. Catharines seems to be at the centre of a lot of problems at the region. Way over the original budget, it is an example of bad policies and lack of transparency between staff and council. It also would appear that both Schlange and Ron Tripp, now a commissioner of public works, may be part of the problem. In addition, Rino Mostacci went to Markham after leaving Fort Erie and didn't last long there. Got right in the middle of a contentious issue regarding a new hockey arena. So, Rino returned to the region, like a bad penny.
UPDATE: Interesting article in the BramptonGuardian regarding Harry Schlange's long history. Hello? He was an official with Nortel in Brampton (that went bankrupt in 2009) where he met Mo Lewis, once the Brampton city treasurer who is now the Commissioner of Niagara Region's Corporate Services.
According to the article, "Lewis departed Brampton in 2013, just as heat turned up on former mayor Susan Fennell and senior staffers. Lewis is one of several former and current staffers at the heart of a $28.5 million lawsuit filed against the City by developer Inzola Group, which alleges it was unfairly disqualified in the bidding process on the $500 million Southwest Quardrant renewal plan."
So, Harry Schlange, former official with a now bankrupt company, came to Fort Erie to take a position as CAO; left shortly after to go to IBM and then came back and stayed on as CAO until 2011 when he left to go to Ottawa and then as the CAO of another community until he came back as CAO at the Niagara Region. He was instrumental in hiring of Mo Lewis.
The circle keeps getting smaller and smaller, doesn't it? Too many co-incidences.
Except there are no co-incidences.