Mayor fuming over more cuts

Darrell Cole
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Province to relocate criminal intelligence services

Amherst Mayor Robert Small is angry with the decision to close the Criminal Intelligence Service of Nova Scotia office in Amherst in March.

AMHERST – Amherst is concerned at the prospect of more government jobs leaving the community.

Earlier this week, town council was notified by the Amherst police commission that the Criminal Intelligence Service of Nova Scotia has advised acting police chief Ian Naylor that funding cuts initiated by the province will result in the closure of the local CISNS office in March.

A possible solution for the funding issue is being reviewed at the federal and provincial levels, however discussions will not resume until June, after the Cumberland office is closed.

The funding cuts were initiated about a year ago. To achieve the budget reductions for 2013-14, one of the three northern offices – either Amherst, Truro or New Glasgow – is targeted for closure.

Each office consists of two officers – one municipal and one RCMP.

“Apparently the plan is that the municipal position will be cut with savings of $100,000 and the RCMP position will be relocated to Halifax. I have to ask how that is possibly consistent with this government’s plan to move good paying jobs to rural Nova Scotia,” Amherst Mayor Robert Small said Wednesday. “This defies common sense, no matter what metrics are being used to justify the decision, that offices would be maintained in both Truro and New Glasgow while the Cumberland office is slated for closure.”

Council is writing a letter to Premier Darrell Dexter and Justice Minister Ross Landry on the issue to express its displeasure and to demand that the planned cuts be put on hold until more satisfactory arrangements can be made that results in keeping the positions in Cumberland County.

Small said these reductions are the latest in a line of recently announced initiatives that have served to move government jobs from the county to other areas of the province.

Since the NDP government took power in 2009, Small said, it has announced the relocation of the correctional centre to Thorburn and the centralization of the maintenance enforcement centre to New Waterford.

“I can only conclude that they have written us off. The tired old line that I expect the premier’s office to trot out is that they have invested significantly in our local industry,” the mayor said. “Well I’m sorry that’s just not good enough. The parade of provincial employees out of this county has to stop. In fact, the flow must be reversed.”

Landry said the government has nothing against Amherst. In fact, he said, it has invested heavily in business and industry in the community. The change, he said, is strictly for efficiency reasons.

“What we are doing is realigning resources. People like to use the word cuts, but if we as a government don’t hold our departments to be more efficient and effective we can’t continue to go on,” Landry said. “We’ve been going on a certain way and everyone knows there has to be changes.”

Across the province, the standard of service in criminal intelligence and the quality of intelligence gathering is continuing.

“The key thing for us in Amherst is that quality of service is not going to be affected from a policing service perspective,” the minister said. “It’s convenient from an opposition perspective to take an isolated point and criticize it and try to make something out of it. If our province is to move forward and succeed we have to create employment. Also, our jobs for government need to be effective, efficient and in the right place for the right reason. That’s what we’re doing.

“If we keep doing the same thing over and over again we’re not going to get a better result.”

Organizations: Criminal Intelligence Service of Nova Scotia, Cumberland, RCMP

Geographic location: AMHERST, Truro, New Glasgow Halifax Nova Scotia Cumberland County New Waterford

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Recent comments

  • honker
    December 22, 2012 - 15:30

    Never, ever underestimate the stupidity of the electorate. A few more windmills, a couple of paving projects should bring the NDP up to par.

  • Tiredof the whinging
    December 20, 2012 - 16:21

    IMO - Too high a tax rate, business property owners forced to pay an equivalent of 'property plus business tax' on leased properties, absurd zoning rules, Town Council involved in ill conceived land schemes!!!!!! Observed from any position (seemingly, excepting Amherst Town Council) any decision maker in the business sector or Provincial or Federal government likely see an Amherst Town government that is inward looking, unprogressive and out of touch with the reality of what it takes to support development - the likely result of those observations is that Amherst is not viewed as worthy of strategic investment. I know my comment is full of negative, subjective statements but there is not a single positive, objective item I can think of to say about these people on Town Council (new members and Mr. Bird excepted). Mr. Small, crying and whinging is for babies and toddlers - I ask you why is the new Access centre not down town? why did you guys let the community college move out of downtown? why didn't council step in on the Pugsley's Pharmacy building purchase? why won't you guys/gals work with the downtown land owners to develop a balanced property/business tax system instead of this onerous burden of taxes being placed on downtown property owners only?

  • wingman
    December 20, 2012 - 11:18

    Does that mean the mayor and councillors will put off giving themselves a raise? They should only get money when we gain something not when we lose something, but if that were the case they would owe us money.

  • Huge Baloney
    December 20, 2012 - 11:07

    So. The small mayor can only conclude that "theyve written us off". Great leadership abilities there mr small. Toss in the towel. Maybe if you and your little group of circus performers had been paying attention to the more important issues instead of granting yourselves raises we wouldn't be in this shape. You people should all resign. Shame on you!

  • Theop Magaz
    December 20, 2012 - 10:31

    Dexter hates Cumberland County. I say we petition to join New Brunswick - lower taxes, better gas prices, and maybe a little respect!

  • Bill
    December 20, 2012 - 06:13

    Fuming over 2 jobs ,what about all the other jobs that have been lost since he took office. Under the last mayor we got Weston, M&S,Roadway lighting Maritime Pride,Walmart,office expert,new car dealerships,expansions to polycello . There new hospitals,schools and lots of other construction jobs.I work in construction so I can tell you the jobs are not there like they use to be. Drive to Moncton and you see construction everywhere !!!! When are the town leaders going to get their Butts in gear and bring some stuff to Amherst. I still like the new Disco lights in down town. Some more of them would be good , next time add the dance floor!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • time for change
    December 19, 2012 - 23:23

    I don't know about anyone else, but I am sick of the NDP and all the crap they have pulled since they have been in power. I hope they have enjoyed their one and only term in office. It will never, ever happen again

  • Charlie Joseph
    December 19, 2012 - 19:59

    I'm working on a new online startup. I will never deal with Halifax based companies or vendors, it goes both ways Darrell Dexter. I can't wait until I can vote Skabar on to the unemployment line. That is an Amherst job we can all enjoy being cut... and relaced with someone in a party that hasn't treated us with utter contempt.

  • Jason
    December 19, 2012 - 19:26

    sadly, amherst and surroudning area is historically a conservative homebase...also I believe, though by no means is fact, that this foreshadows our current MLA's decision not to run for office again, put all together...suck it up voted NDP when you meant conservative...regardless whomever was voted it didnt' amherst that dependant on gov't jobs?

    December 19, 2012 - 17:55

    So this is what does it. The mayor is worried about two jobs when in recent months there have been annoucements which will cause the loss of more then 20 jobs in Amherst. Seems to me the mayor/council was just waiting for any small chance they could find to blame this whole mess on anyone other then themselves, ie the NDP gov. Not to say that I am happy with the way things are going with the NDP, but this is a weak move by the Mayor.