AMHERST – Amherst Mayor Robert Small plans to become more of a squeaky wheel and less of a church mouse when it comes to his dealings with the provincial government.
“It’s often said the church mouse gets nothing and the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Well, I intend to be more of a squeaky wheel because we’re not hearing much from our MLA and that’s disappointing,” the mayor said Thursday, a day after meeting in Halifax with Justice Minister Ross Landry about the deterioration of his department’s presence in Amherst. “Someone has to step up for Amherst, and if the MLA’s not going to do it, I guess the mayor and council will.”
During his meeting, Small expressed his frustration at the decision last month to move six Maintenance Enforcement jobs to New Waterford as part of the Dexter government’s decentralization initiative.
“The minister and deputy minister try to explain why they had to do something to help New Waterford, but on the same breath it seems as though every decision affects Amherst,” Small said. “First it was geography by moving the jail to Pictou County and now it’s efficiency by moving the jobs to New Waterford.”
Small said he conveyed concerned expressed by residents regarding the continued erosion of good paying, government jobs from Amherst.
“I am completely frustrated with the seemingly continual news of good paying, stable government jobs that are integral to our economy leaving Amherst,” the mayor said.
The announcement, along with the previous decision to close the Cumberland County Correctional Centre, means at least 30 Justice jobs are leaving Amherst. The mayor said this represents about $1.5 million in direct salaries alone without considering all the economic spinoffs associated with these jobs.