Mississauga Mayoral Candidate: Kevin “Jackal” Johnston
During the mayoral campaign, insauga.com will sit down with all the candidates that choose to do so.
For the first time in over three decades, Mississauga is set to experience a truly unpredictable mayoral race. Hazel McCallion, who has been mayor since 1978, has decided to pass her long-held municipal torch onto someone else, and the race is just starting to heat up. We recently sat down with Kevin "Jackal" Johnston to talk about his big and bold plans for the city's future.
1) What prompted you to run for office? Have you ever been involved in politics before?
I have been involved in the private sector my entire adult life. The difference between the private sector and municipal government is that the private sector is [for profit] business. In order for a company to remain profitable, it must keep costs as low as possible, keep salaries in check with revenue streams, run marketing campaigns, deliver above average customer service and generate a profit on what it sells.
In the private sector, as an employee or more so as a manager, you have to do your job to the best of your ability and beyond if you wish to be recognized by your superiors as somebody who is worthy of more responsibility and higher wages.
The city of Mississauga is run exactly opposite to this. The salaries being paid out are extremely high and in some cases are more than triple what the average taxpayer in Mississauga is earning. There are redundant positions and my observations of staff in City Hall are that the people who work there have become complacent and it is affecting their competence. It is a slap in the face to the citizens of Mississauga to see money mismanaged by the people they elected, especially when the citizens are struggling.
I am frustrated, and as a man who has spent 40 of his 42 years in this city, I have had enough of watching incompetence and mismanagement of our tax dollars. I grew up here and I am raising my children here and as somebody who has been involved with more than 3,000 small businesses in some way or another, I am appalled how much we the people are struggling to make ends meet.
I am running for office because there needs to be a good guy in the chair of importance who is willing to ensure true transparency in everything the city does.
The city of Mississauga will become the example of how other municipalities will want to model themselves.
2) What’s your platform?
To ensure that Mississauga becomes a premier municipality in self-sufficiency and [becomes a model city for other municipalities to emulate]. We will have total transparency in all affairs. My administration will ensure that the public's best interest comes first. What this means to the citizens of Mississauga is a promise to ensure that 1) their tax dollars are not mismanaged 2) freezing or lowering their taxes 3) implementing programs that will benefit the majority and minority of citizens 4) making Mississauga self-sufficient, helping all businesses small or large 5) having public forums to hear what the citizens of Mississauga have to say about ensuring their tax dollars are put to good use and benefiting their city.
3) What are the top three issues you’d want to address if you were elected mayor? Why are those issues most important to you?
First issue is transparency or the lack thereof when it comes to city business. The public has a right to know what the inner workings are, how the city operates and the decisions being made with their tax dollars. Secondly will be the auditing of all department budgets to ensure there is no mismanagement of funds. And thirdly will be implementing programs that will benefit not only the people today, but future generations.
It's important to me because I am fed up, like most of you, with the increases in spending that benefit nobody. We the taxpayers are the ones that they come to for more money by increasing taxes when they could just be cutting expenses. Mismanagement and waste anger me, I have to be part of the solution because I know that the others won't solve any of it.
4) What major challenges lie ahead for the city, and how would you address them as mayor?
Bringing about total transparency in all city affairs so that the public becomes fully aware of how their tax dollars are being spent. This will not be an easy task as I suspect there will be opposition stating, "there are things the public need not know". I disagree wholeheartedly. Yes there are sensitive issues and it is for that reason alone that the public should be aware of what decisions are being made and how it will affect their community. This can't be accomplished overnight and I'm sure I will run into a lot of opposition when it comes to this type of change. Another challenge will be the reduction of spending. Every budget will be audited and reviewed to ensure 1) that there is no mismanagement 2) that the spending is to the benefit of the citizens of Mississauga 3) freezing or lowering of city official's wages.
5) How would you set yourself apart from Hazel?
By default, since I am not Hazel, I will be set apart. The comparisons will be something that I will have to endure for at least the first few months in office and then from there people will begin to forget about the fact that they have a new mayor, accept it and then began to scrutinize me and what I am doing without the comparison to Hazel.
My administration will put together a public forum so that not only myself but also all councillors will be available to the citizens of Mississauga to answer questions and review any issues of concern. The citizens hire all city officials, so we do answer to them and we should be available as much as possible with today's technology.