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Correspondence

From Jutta Mason to Wendy Jang, August 1, 2011

It sounds like it's getting a bit urgent for you and me and park coordinator staff (Anna G., Mayssan) to get together to talk about the accelerating problems of Dufferin Grove staffing.

From July 1 to July 30 this year, CELOS spent $15,085.19 for park contracts. Last July we spent $1703.36 LESS.

It sounds to me like the city is not actually spending less this year either, and yet it looks like the healthy food cafe will have to be a skeleton operation from Monday to Wednesday (there will be some food up at the rink house cafe), and maybe even all week.

There seem to be insufficient city PT staff, as was forecast. 7 senior PT staff have left the city for the summer, so they are not available. There are 10 people sometimes doing city work but without a city number (they were not permitted to apply for PT positions). Also, there were 4 more candidates who wanted to work and were good, but who went off to get other work because of the confusion with the new rules. These potential staff are now unavailable for us.

It would be helpful if you could explain to me, together with Dufferin Grove coordinators and a representative from the councillor's office, how you see the rest of the summer working, under these difficulties.

I'm available much of this coming week, if you want to propose a time to meet. I hope we can gain a bit more clarity.

P.s. I've attached a photo of my information posters about the playground healthy food cafe being closed today, tomorrow, and Wednesday.


From Wendy Jang to Jutta Mason, August 8, 2011

Thanks for sharing the CELOS information with me. I was not aware that CELOS was participating in the summer programming. On June 28th, I sent you a note asking if CELOS would be interested in exclusive operation of any of the summer programs; otherwise PFR would operate them all. Your response to me was to say that you could not meet the July 8th request for information. Therefore I worked with Anna and Mayssan on including all existing summer programs in our discussions.

The staff shortages that we are experiencing currently are a result of Dufferin Grove staff taking vacations that were not authorized by me. Historically, staff hired for summer programs are not granted summer vacation leaves, except for special circumstances, and requests must be authorized prior to the start of the summer. I was not aware of, nor did Anna or Mayssan attempt to make me aware of any staff requests for vacation until your note.

In accordance with the Staff Scheduling Project that is embedded in the CUPE Local 79 Recreation Workers Collective Agreement, we are in the process of canvassing existing PFR staff to see if any staff would like additional hours this summer. We already arranged for one staff to work the Building Attendant shifts this weekend, and are confident that we will populate temporary vacancies by the end of the week.

Kelvin Seow was away from the office recently but has now returned. We would both be pleased to continue meetings with you regarding services in the Wallace, Campbell and Dufferin Grove parks, and to start working on the transition of the food and skate lending activities to PFR as the first step of the CELOS recommendations. Please advise when you are available to meet.


From Jutta Mason to Wendy Jang, August 9 2011:

I'm responding to several points in your e-mail below.

Re: "I was not aware that CELOS was participating in the summer programming." Since you saw the weekly summer schedules you must have been well aware that almost every day there were CELOS slots helping with program coverage. Your manager also knows that, on the basis of many detailed discussions last year. In fact, the involvement of CELOS is common knowledge.

Re: "Your response to me was to say that you could not meet the July 8th request for information." Actually, this was my response: "your re-scheduling of the Dufferin Grove activities is premature and based on insufficient experience of actually making a park into a lively urban space." In other words, I did not agree to re-structure the way the park works on the deadline that you unilaterally proposed. Moreover, what you suggested was not a collaboration but a severance of programs. Your manager is very aware that CELOS does not propose to take over any of the Dufferin Grove programs in the long term.

I suggested in the e-mail I sent you on August 1 that the people directly involved in making the park run at the moment should meet with you to clarify the many changes you are making or proposing. That includes the park coordinators, the CRP, CELOS, and a representative from the councillor's office. Your e-mail of August 8 (yesterday) does not address this request. It increases my concern about your capacity (or your intention) to support what works at Dufferin Grove. It also appears that your decisions have expanded the city's cost and reduced the park user donations that CELOS has been directing back into the programs.

CELOS grew out of close collaboration with the City and is prepared to continue making the park work well this month. However we need to be treated as a valued partner instead of an un-credentialed outsider. Therefore I repeat my request: that the people directly involved in making the park run at the moment should meet with you to clarify the many changes you are making or proposing. That needs to happen in the next few days.

Please let me know if we can schedule this meeting. Alternatively, please let me know clearly if the City is not continuing to partner with CELOS as of now.

Your e-mail to me and my response here will be posted on the dufferinpark.ca website and at the park. That's because this public space issue is very much in public discussion, not behind closed doors.


MEMO from Recreation supervisor Wendy Jang, to Dufferin Grove program staff, cc'd to CELOS, to the Recreation Director, and to Councillor Ana Bailao

DATE: August 11, 2011

TO: Anna Galati, Park Coordinator, Dufferin Grove Park Mayssan Shuja-Uddin, Park Coordinator, Dufferin Grove Park

FROM: Wendy Jang Supervisor of Active Living Toronto East York District RE: Direction for Staff and Program Scheduling at Dufferin Grove Park August 11 to August 19, 2011

Following a meeting with PFR management, CELOS and Councillor Anna Bailoa, we are providing the following direction to Dufferin Grove staff, regarding the scheduling of programming and the scheduling of staff assignments. This will take effect immediately (August 11th) and will be reviewed by August 19, 2011 based on remedial action to be taken over the next week:

1. Programming at Dufferin Grove shall continue as planned through to the end of the summer season. There should be no change to planned programming.

2. Staffing for the programming shall be through PFR, and all staff shall be bona fide PFR staff on the PFR payroll. There is an interim plan noted below to address the current shortage of staff. (see #5)

3. Cash donations shall continue to be collected by Dufferin Grove PFR staff and given to CELOS for recording and depositing into the CELOS bank account. This practice will continue at least until the end of the summer season, and possibly longer while the parties work out operational agreements.

4. Food for the food programs (pizza, snack bars, Farmer's Market and Friday Night Supper) shall continue to be purchased by Dufferin Grove PFR staff using funds provided by CELOS. This practice will continue at least until the end of the summer season, and possibly longer while the parties work out operational agreements.

5. For the next week including this weekend, the following staffing arrangements shall be taken:

a. Following the terms outlined in the Collective Agreement for CUPE Local 79, PFR staff who currently work in TEY district and who have expressed interest in additional hours for the summer, and who are qualified to do the work, shall be offered shifts that are vacant at Dufferin Grove Park.

b. The CRP (Sofia this week, Margaret & Sofia next week) shall confirm daily with Park Coordinators (either Anna or Mayssan,) any vacancies that continue to exist.

2 c. Upon confirmation of those vacancies, the Park Coordinator(s) shall populate the vacancies using CELOS contracted staff. This is a temporary measure for this weekend only, since we expect the positions to be populated with new hires by August 19th.

6. PFR, with the assistance of the Park Coordinators, shall interview new applicants to PFR with the purpose of populating vacant shifts. Interviews shall take place during the week of August 15 to 19, with a targeted conclusion by mid-week.

7. PFR and CELOS shall meet in the near future to discuss the various programming and operational concerns. There will be opportunities for staff to participate in the discussions, either through one or two key representatives or as individuals the types and number of opportunities to give input has yet to be determined, but we are committed to providing a chance for the staff to share their knowledge about the program operations.

8. This note, although addressed to two key staff for their immediate implementation, is to be shared with all staff for general information. We invite your feedback on any of the issues. Please address your concerns to the Park Coordinators, CRP(s) or me.

Wendy Jang


From Wendy Jang to Kendra Hawke, August 12 2011

Dear Kendra Hawke:

I have been asked to respond to your letter to Councillor Giorgio Mammolitti regarding Dufferin Grove Park.

The City values the involvement and contributions of the local community in making Dufferin Grove a vibrant and busy park. To date, the City has made a unique investment in Dufferin Grove Park by providing significant recreation staff resources all year round. This supports a very high level of community engagement that contributes to making Dufferin Grove such a special place.

I would like to clarify the point that you made about $190,000 a year that is raised through programming and "is put towards the parks budget"; and your statement that "these services raise so much money towards the park operations." The monies collected at Dufferin Grove for snack bar and food cart products, Friday Night Suppers, pizza days and campfire rentals are collected by CELOS, a local community organization, and deposited into the CELOS private banking accounts. Starting in May 2011, some of the campfire rental donations have been deposited with the City, but otherwise, the Parks budget has not been a beneficiary of any funds raised at this site. We are working with CELOS to transition the food activities to a Parks, Forestry and Recreation operated program.

The City has not changed any of the programs at the Dufferin Grove site, nor are there any plans to reduce the programming: the wading pool, playground and sand pit, pizza oven, campfires, Farmer's Market and Friday Night Suppers will continue for the normal seasonal operation. City staff will continue to support the programs at the same levels experienced in the past.

Some changes to staff schedules and assignments were made prior to the summer to ensure that the City was in compliance with the Collective Agreement that the City has with CUPE Local 79. Staffing changes were made without any change to the programming as scheduled.

As with all City services and partnership agreements, we continuously review and improve our operations to ensure they are well-managed and well-run. Because the relationship with the community has grown organically over the years, we are working to ensure we deliver on the activities in the park with clear expectations, roles and responsibilities for staff and partners.

We are pleased to know that you and your family love the park and the park programming. We hope to continue to engage you in a conversation about the park and parks services, and I invite you to contact me directly if you wish further information about the programs.

Thank you for your interest in Parks, Forestry and Recreation services.

Yours truly, Wendy Jang


From Kendra Hawke to Wendy Jang, August 12 2011

Dear Ms. Jang,

Regardless of how the money is tracked, the work done by CELOS and money raised is returned into the park and has made it an exceptional place.

I would like to clarify your point that the city not changed the programs of the park. They have indeed changed the programming at the park. There has been no Cob Cafe since Aug. 1. Changing the location of the cafe has dramatically changed the feeling and ease of the wading pool and playground area. Families must now pack up and trek over to the fieldhouse to get their healthy snacks. This has also removed a social hub from the playground/wading pool area. From what I understand, this has also led to a drop in revenues for the cafe.

I really do appreciate you responding to the letter. If there are no plans to change the park programming, I suggest you host some public meetings to explain the changes that are being made. There is a sense of panic among users that your intention is to dismantle the lovely parts of the park. This was reinforced by the closing of the cob cafe. I would love to see more transparency on behalf of city management.


From Jutta Mason to Wendy Jang, August 13 2011

Hello Wendy,

Your e-mail response to Kendra Hawke was forwarded to me from several sources. It contains some misleading information that is important to clear up. CELOS (The Centre for Local Research into Public Space) is a registered charity and therefore subject to quite a bit of oversight. The idea that the funds raised through food, skate lending and other programs are "deposited into the CELOS private banking accounts" makes us sound a little sticky, don't you think? You might want to have a look at our public web posts about where the funds go: http://celos.ca/wiki/wiki.php?n=FinancialRecords.Financial.

There is a little more detail in this table: http://celos.ca/wiki/wiki.php?n=FinancialRecords.FinancialHighlightsOfCELOS, although sadly we've been so busy we haven't had a chance to update it since 2008. However, you could find out quite a bit more if you feel like reading through the Dufferin Grove newsletters archives: http://dufferinpark.ca/newsletter/wiki/wiki.php?n=Archives.FrontPage, and also the most recent one: http://dufferinpark.ca/newsletter/wiki/wiki.php?n=Newsletter.FrontPage. I think you'll see that at Dufferin Grove Park, funds that are raised are used as a medium of exchange to support the wonderful diversity of community gifts that make the park so lively.

As for the Parks budget not being "a beneficiary of any funds raised at this site" -- it's good to clarify that you're referring to the PFR $360 million operating budget that comes mainly from our taxes, citywide. If you look from a more local point of view of what funds were made directly available for Dufferin Grove, then the funds that CELOS has helped to raise (through our long-term cooperative relations with city staff) are indeed part of the budget. This particular way of increasing the funds available for an economically mixed neighbourhood like ours, without using up more taxes, is kind of interesting in the present context, don't you think?

Since you are now the supervisor responsible for recreation activities at Dufferin Grove, I think it would be helpful if you did a little more background reading on what goes on there, starting with the links above. I also highly recommend the community letters, which you may find helpful for your understanding: http://dufferinpark.ca/aboutus/wiki/wiki.php/DufferinGroveIsInTrouble2.Comments.

From Jutta Mason to Wedy Jang, August 17 2011

I'm told that you've scheduled the Dufferin Grove interviews for tomorrow, Thursday, at Wallace-Emerson. I have two concerns, with suggested solutions:

1. Thursday is one of the busiest days at the park because of the farmers' market, so that's a tough day for interviews of the CELOS contract people. They are needed at the market.

I'm glad that you're able to do these interviews this week, even if you were unable to do them by midweek as you had hoped. In order to not delay longer, but at the same time to avoid leaving the market and the park short, here is my suggested solution: do the interviews in the unused main room at Dufferin Grove. That means they won't have to travel to Wallace Emerson and back, minimizing their time away and still providing the necessary privacy for the interviews. Can you see any problem with this proposal?

2. Can you let me know what positions these people are being interviewed for? Also, I haven't seen the questions, but it seems to me since they are going to be filling the remaining CELOS roles, collaboration on the interview questions is missing. Solution: Once you send the questions and the job descriptions you've put together, I'm happy to respond promptly with any comments or suggestions.

I've cc'd the councillor's office and Kelvin here because it's my impression that everyone resolved to keep in touch about the main concerns, after last Thursday's meeting at Courense Bakery. I'm hoping that keeping each other informed can become reliable, instead of sporadic.

From Wendy Jang to Jutta Mason, August 17 2011

Yes, PF&R is conducting interviews for the Dufferin Grove positions on Thursday.

1) If the interview schedule was inconvenient for any of the prospective employees, it was incumbent upon them to advise us that the timing was a problem. To my knowledge, no one indicated there was a conflict. It is regrettable if the scheduling of interviews causes inconvenience, but it is too late to change the schedule now.

2) The job descriptions for Community Activity Programmer and Building Attendant were distributed at a recent staff meeting. The City alone is responsible for hiring of City staff. When it comes to staffing matters, it is inappropriate to involve external parties.

From Jutta Mason to Wendy Jang, August 17 2011

I think you must have read my e-mail in a hurry. To go over it again:

1. I was not asking for a change in scheduling, I was asking for a change of venue, so there would be no time lost in travelling. Also, were you unaware -- despite the hours you spent studying the Dufferin schedule -- that Thursday, the day you picked for all the interviews, is one of the busiest days at the park, when a lot of staff are needed? And -- given all the difficulties of the summer so far, do you think that the CELOS workers would have felt they could afford to tell you they were already booked to work? They have been buffeted every which way -- last week we were told by you that they could not work one more minute at the park, and then it turned out we couldn't run the programs without them.

2. I am not asking to hire staff. I am saying that CELOS has been involved in all the programs from the beginning and if you want to keep these programs going (do you?), you need to consult with me in figuring out what the city staff need to do. I'm asking you to collaborate on the completeness of the interview questions. We are not a generic "external party" as you call us. I thought this was established last Thursday?

I have added your director back into this chain just so we can be clear that everyone is aware of what is happening. And once again I urge you to read the community letters, of which there will perhaps be more to come, to get a sense of how much this community does not agree that it is an "external party" either: http://dufferinpark.ca/aboutus/wiki/wiki.php/DufferinGroveIsInTrouble2.Comments


No response


From Jutta Mason to Wendy Jang, August 29 2011

I'm about to drop off a cheque for $2533.39 at Mary McCormick, since there are very few CELOS contracts left. (This is in addition to the August campfire donations, due next week).

Here are the numbers:

For the nine-week (peak summer) period between June 27 and August 28:

Income (Donations): $59,827.89

Expenditures: $56,294.50:
Groceries: $24,936.41
Supplies: $2621.70
Contracts: $28,023.73
Portable internet: $112.66
Internet support: $600

Balance: $3533.39
Cash-on-hand needed for groceries: $1000

Cheque for City of Toronto: $2533.39

We'll monitor every week from now on.



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