April 21, 2017 – photo uploads, LPFFA agreement, podcasts and coming home!
I feel bad for not blogging well while I was away! I have the WordPress app on my mobile, but with a compact keyboard, and an inability to insert pictures it was difficult.
I am going to blog today’s entry and add a few pictures and captions from the two previous days as well.
Today I woke up with a bit of a sore throat. Luckily, I don’t typically use medications, so I wasn’t missing out by being in a hotel room with a sore throat. I don’t drink much (maybe a glass of wine a month or so), and I rarely take medication – with the exception of a daily injection I take to control my blood sugars – so most over the counter meds do a number on me. Like can’t think clearly, or pragmatically sort of number. I prefer to avoid medication whenever possible.
I made my way to the board meeting on the 19th floor of the Royal York. If you have never had the opportunity to be on the 19th floor, you simply can’t imagine the opulence. I’m including a few pictures for appropriate visual effect here.
Our committee and board meetings typically occur in a meeting room on this level.
The board meeting was actually rather quick – which was good because I had yet to pack. We ratified the decisions of the committees from the previous day and there was no new business. We wrapped up shortly after 10:30 am, and I went to pack.
I think I told you I travel light in a previous blog. I remember when I first started traveling for work, it was a process to pack that took at least an hour. Now I can travel basically in my purse for two days. I have a travel kit which has all my hygiene products always ready to go. It is used solely for travel and includes just the basics – toothbrush, toothpaste, face cleanser and moisturizer (Arbonne of course, because I’m hooked on it!), and a few random pics of makeup just in case. I’m not a regular makeup user, but lipstick and mascara fit in quite well.
I usually put on freshly laundered pants, that I can get a second day out of, and pack a clean shirt and undergarments. That plus a dress for the second day, and a hairbrush and I’m good to go! I have it down to a science. The one thing I’ve started including is socks. I am not a regular socks wearer. I just am not. I don’t know why, but I prefer not to wear them. No one ever notices this, and of course, I wear them in winter, but as soon as that snow is gone, I’m in shoes that don’t require socks. One time I got caught in a situation where everyone was going bowling, and I had to decline due to lack of socks. I now pack a pair, just in case. You never know when you will need them.
Another thing I have learned along the way is that most hotels will supply you with the basics if you forget them. Things like floss, combs, toothpaste etc. are almost always available upon request. (Between the dentist and hotel stays, I haven’t bought floss in a long time.)
Ok, so where was I – ah yes, leaving for London. I got out of Toronto just after noon. (I spent some time on the phone and doing emails after the board meeting.) Traveling home takes at least three hours, and with the Young/York exit closed, traffic is a little heavier to enter or leave downtown.
I actually really enjoy driving. I put a podcast on and relax. Right now I am listening to the Casefile podcast, which I find interesting. The walk you through a true crime case from beginning to end. I think I managed to get three episodes done this trip.
I came into London around 3 pm, and made my way to the office. I had a 4 pm radio interview lined up with CBC to talk about Council Compensation. I blogged about this back in October of 2015 – you can read that blog here. The task force has wrapped up their meetings and is preparing a recommendation to go to council. This is hitting the media cycle and causing some community feedback once again. I have said many times since we referred this to another task force, that I expect the task force to engage the community and to find a fair number for compensation. I do not want to politicize this, even though many of my colleagues will. We should not be debating our salary – we should accept the recommendation from an arm’s length community task force, and vote for an annual increase which aligns with a number such as inflation, and not do this every term to no avail. I know that some of my colleagues will – and already have – stand up and say let the next council decide, or try to gain political favour by not addressing the issue. I could do that, and people would be happy – but it’s not fair to the position. So, we will have the debate again, and see where it goes. I do not plan to take a lead on this, but I will support the committee’s recommendation.
After my interview, I prepared for tonight’s meeting. We met in camera at 5 pm, and once we had finished, we began a council meeting to have a public vote concerning the collective agreement between the City of London and the London Professional Fire Fighters Association. Council unanimously supported the collective agreement, which will go until 2019. Initially we were negotiating a 2011-2014 deal, however, after years of negotiations and arbitration hearings, both parties were able to negotiate an agreement. I am so pleased that we were able to come to an agreement, and our staff are once again working with an agreement.
I met briefly with Councillor Squire – and we arranged to talk more tomorrow as he was on his way out, and I had a good opportunity to talk with Councillor Cassidy tonight after the meeting as well. I have prided myself on developing an individual relationship with all of my colleagues. I believe in relationship building, and in a setting where we regularly disagree and debate each other, it is important to communicate well with each other. I have made it a point to get to know each of my colleagues and to keep the lines of communication open. Sometimes, minor misinterpretations lead to significant misunderstandings and by checking in with my colleagues, and encouraging them to provide me with feedback, I feel that I have a good working relationship with each of them.
I got home just after 8 pm, and got to see the kids as they were getting ready for bed.
I also updated our family finances (I usually do this daily) and reviewed all of our mail.
Matt and I chatted for a few minutes to catch up and plan our day tomorrow. I have a public participation meeting on ranked ballots tomorrow, and he has plans as well – so I called my mama, who of course is happy to help with the kids for the overlap. We will likely spend tomorrow night connecting as a family – maybe a movie, or a walk if the weather is nice, but that will be tomorrow’s blog!
Here are some pictures from the past two days – I will insert them into those blogs as well!