This is perhaps the most uplifting and morale boosting story that OC Transpo drivers have read in the Ottawa Sun since the story about Larry O'Brien's failed re-election attempt. Glasses are clinking in every garage today, and I have yet to come across a blue collared worker that isn't grinning from ear to ear.
The tumultuous reign of one of the most controversial general managers has come to an end. If you came here to read how my bashing pen would handle that hated sword, you've come to the wrong place. I won't bash the man. As a matter of fact, I'm just as worried now as I was yesterday.
The morale boost aside, Mercier's exit comes long after the real damage was done. It wont take back the strike. It wont rebuild our relationships with the customers that were hurt by it.
In reality, the management at OC Transpo has become quite a bit more political with this move. Politics simply don't mix with service, unless you live on a city councilor's street and need the ice removed from your sewer. The hands that guide this commission are still seeking your votes, or at least the votes of those special interests that have a lobby voice.
I think most drivers laud the move to oust Mercier, but haven't fully thought this through, past the personal gripes and onto the real meat and potatoes of what affects them at their jobs.
So long as council votes on what routes to cut, and to buy toys instead of what transit in Ottawa actually needs, then this move is a sideways shuffle to put the hands of power up another puppet's pants.
I'm hoping our new GM has the vision of creating a world-class transit system, and has the cahones to stand up to the political process in favour of his clients, instead of the electorate currents of council.
If the move to Manconi represents a shift in how the blue collars are treated at OC Transpo, or at least their *perception* of how they're treated, then this move will have a lasting effect on all of Ottawa. If our workforce can get back to being a family again, something that was unquestionably lost during Mercier's tenure, then our customers will be the ones to reap the greatest reward.
In the meantime, I will enjoy this new found euphoria around the garages. It sure is great to see all of us smiling again.