An Open Letter to the Haters: City Staff Aren’t Your Punching Bag. #Guelph

punching bag

Dear Haters:

Over the past year as mayor I have been noticing a disturbing trend towards belittling our city employees.

  • When a planning department employee was disrespected in the middle of a delegation at a public council meeting, I stopped the meeting and told the delegate that his characterization of our employee was unacceptable and an apology was required. – An apology came.
  • When there was questioning and commentary around our CAO brought up at a town hall meeting, I asked for the conversation to stop. – The discussion stopped.
  • When a citizen rudely emailed our parking staff several months ago I replied to the citizen asking him to apologize to our staff.  – An apology came.

And now, I read blog posts as of late slamming our employees. Just as I did not ignore the public council meeting, the town hall or the emails, I will not ignore the blogs either.

So let me educate you:

  1. Council, including the Mayor, only have one employee – The CAO. Council does not hire or fire any other employee in the city. This is left with our administration to tend to.
  2. All of our employees compete for the positions that they are given and are qualified to be here.
  3. Our employees are not beholden to politicians whether current or previous ones. They work for the corporation and they work for the citizens and businesses of our city by serving them day in and day out.
  4. Their direction is given to them through policies or motions voted upon by council as a whole.

Any workplace should be one free of constantly looking over your shoulder (or looking at a computer screen) from those that have nothing better to do then to spread lies and misinformation to hurt our staff.


So please, stop using them as your personal punching bag. Haters and bullies often continue their behaviour only because no one has stood up and punched back.

It’s time to stand up. It’s time to punch back.

Thank you,

Cam Guthrie

Mayor – City of Guelph

P.S For those that have read this and want to make one of our employees day, why don’t you email and tell me how they’ve made your life better, helped you out or have done an outstanding job. I’ll be sure to share it with them!

P.S.S For those that might feel an apology is warranted for how you’ve treated our employees, it’s the same email address –




25 responses to “An Open Letter to the Haters: City Staff Aren’t Your Punching Bag. #Guelph”

  1. Glad to hear that you are standing up for your employees, and have an open door policy for the citizens of Guelph. As an employee for the Region of Waterloo, we are often punching bags to…threats to follow us home or camp outside our homes for decisions that we had to make that reflect the policies and legislations that is set out by the Regional and Provincial governments. We only follow instructions from our employer. We the staff/the minions don’t make up the policies, legislations or procedures. We just follow them and make sure that everyone (the people we service) follows them to make it fair to everyone.

  2. Can we include transit employees too? All to often we get the dirty end of the stick when a schedule changes or when a bus is running late.

      • Thanks Cam but do you see them as city employees? Or just staff to any corporation who will have them?

      • Perhaps I don’t understand the question correctly; but, I could ask the same question of the Transit drivers. Do they see the City as an employer; or, just anybody who will pay them?

      • I am referring to the rumors of Guelph Transit getting privatized. This is talked about by us transit users and we are afraid of what may become of our bus system. Cam, I remember that you publicly said that privatizing transit was not in your agenda during your campaign over a year ago. But the recent decision of city council to cut peak service starting this Summer leads us to believe that you may have changed your mind. It would help us to know if you still stand by what you said in your campaign or if your agenda has changed. Your door is always open, please be transparent on your plans for our bus service. An open door without transparency is just good for better ventilation.

  3. If you can’t say something nice… then don’t say anything at all. Grammer is civility1

  4. It is a shame that you, the mayor, has to send this type of letter. I understand your reasoning for doing so but I can’t really agree with you on your actions.

    The small business owners in this city have been stepped on for years. Empty promise after empty promise has been given to pacify our frustration. Property taxes increase, business license renewals increase and inspection requirements increase every year. Who can we turn to for a voice? I’ve tried our former mayor to no success. I voted for you with, so far, no satisfaction. Guelph is the most expensive city around to start up / operate a business. Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and Milton are all more “small business” friendly than Guelph. Where is our voice Mr Mayor? I would love to sit down with you or anyone else, to discuss this issue at anytime.

    My door is always open.

  5. I’m glad to see you addressing this. Better to sit down with them and ask why they do things the way they do than to just decide that you know more about their job than they do.

  6. Pretty disgusting behaviour. To disagree is okay, to fight for something you believe in is okay too. To show a lack of courtesy and manners is unacceptable – just look at the American election. You want politics in Canada to descend into that? Way to go Cam for calling out the bullies.

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