So what’s happening down there in the executive offices of Citywest, the last municipally-owned telecom in western Canada, which just happens to be owned by us, the citizens of this town? Or did I just happen to miss something while perusing the pages of our local viewpaper? Somehow I don’t think so.
The company seems to be embroiled in constant controversy, at least among us common folk, reviled by some citizen-customers for its’ dated technology and service issues, but steadfastly supported by others, particularly for its’ contribution to the local employment base.
CEO Bill Craig, a veteran and much travelled communications executive, took over the top job and presented a stark assessment of some problem areas and a new vision to our elected leaders in June 2011, as reported in the Northern View: thenorthernview.com/news/124656463.html
The following statement is particularly memorable, suggesting as it does that Mr Craig would bring a no-bs management style to the company, something that even its’ sternest critics would perhaps welcome:
“There’s a lot of disorganization in the company, things that are being done because the company’s been around for a hundred years. It’s come through a City environment. It hasn’t really had some of the disciplines of a commercial environment. The managers before me were always managers previously of city governments”.
Less that two months ago Mr Craig and other senior officials presented an annual shareholders report to the City council, noting progress in some areas and ongoing challenges in others, but with no suggestion that things were going anything other than reasonably well:
That was then and this now: a review of the Contacts section of Citywest’s recently revamped website notes that the CEO is not Mr Craig, but former Operations Manager Don Holkestad.
What is that all about and what does that bode for the future? Will there be a return to past ways of thinking and doing things at corporate HQ? Will annual financial statements that were once available online, but that mysteriously disappeared during the recent revamp of the website, be restored so that citizens can gain some insight at least into the financial performance of the company?
A big selling point for Citywest has always been that it is locally owned and controlled, in contrast to the big monoliths of the telecom sector headquartered in far distance places. Does that local touch and just plain folks neighbourliness go so far as to mean that the mostly local board members will shed some light on the company’s current leadership and future direction?
The most recent news bulletin on the corporate website, dated 4 December, is that someone won a 50” TV as a result of the paperless promotion draw. That’s nice, but perhaps the City’s communications company might find itself able to communicate a bit more about the current state of affairs.
And what of our rather taciturn mayor and councillors, who let us recall are the sole shareholder of the company, with power to appoint the board of directors and set the company’s dividends? In the interests of transparency, which all espouse during election campaigns, is there anything that they can share with the electorate about the state of the City’s largest single investment? We know quite a lot about their generally negative assessments of how the Port runs its’ business. Is there anything that the council members can tell us about the business that they ultimately control?