And why not? When Lebo had bills to pay he just… didn’t


Maybe it’s just me, but when I hear scalawags and scofflaws weighing in about this and that and that and this and other things best left to experts… I always think of my former boss Bram Lebo.

For those of you who don’t know, Mr. Lebo is the overly educated Lord of Manor at Haliburton Highlander. I think he’s still the publisher. At some point I believe he lost the Key to a Maple and reverted to form with the Highlander, but that’s all awash in a sea of placebo that Mr. Lebo likes to call retched misrepresentation by a noted Ontario publisher. Not him.

Let’s just say that Lebo was in the helicopter that was either hit or not hit by a rocket propelled takeover of the Minden Times and Haliburton Echo. Mr. Lebo was ejected from the venture by something we writers like to call a bullshit detector. It’s a powerful cauldron of unforgiving poop that erupts in a Mento-Pepsi-like geyser when the wrong ingredient – in this case Lebo – is added to the mix.

I worked for Lebo in another life and I must say that I felt like a great debt had been removed the day I told him where to shove his gargantuan noodle full of cranky vaguely synaptic lesions. You must of course understand that my exquisite screed was redundant upon delivery because it (his head) was already embedded so far up his arse that several years hence it will still require some technologically obscure manure mangler to remove it.

I learned some things from Mr. Lebo. I was reminded of them last week when I read his weakly pomposity  called: Bram Lebo – There’s a Hole in the Budget.

It was, dear friends, the first para or two that piqued my piquancy and put my Android Crap App on high alert. The Crap App? Glad you asked. You read a line of punditry and press the button and it delivers the verdict.

Here’s the quote:

“Haliburton County may be about to embark on a new strategy for managing its finances: debt.

“Elsewhere borrowing is a tried and true method to keep the party going long after the music has stopped. The province in particular has raised it to an art form, burying our collective futures in piles of IOUs we may never be able to repay. With interest rates low, wages stagnant and temptation high, many of us have done the same in pursuit of lifestyles we otherwise couldn’t afford.” (Bram Lebo, February, 2015)

I read this into my Crap App on my Galaxy Note and it came back with: “Fifty Shades of Hogwash!” Then it sang Old MacDonald had a farm.

“Old MacDonald had a farm… Lebo’s full of Crap!”

It’s a very good app and I recommend the pro version for an extra $9.99.

Anyway. When I started with Lebo, we had an agreement. But we really didn’t. Because Lebo never signed a thing. So paycheques were not a given. By that I mean that I spent all of February in the first year of the Highlander without recourse to a red cent. I lived on my line of credit. Before that I did not, not once, receive a paycheck on the day that paychecks were rendered. I was always in arrears by weeks. But I had cut my teeth at the original County Voice. The same pattern went on there. Several reporters from the Voice had to meet weekly, form an ultimatum and present it to management to gain monies owed. I left and finally received monies in arrears totaling over $3,500. Fool me once… yada yada yada.

In Lebo’s enfant terrible place of wits and warts monies sometimes came. When they came? They came without an aoplogy. Mr. Lebo and his partner went to Florida twice while I was waiting for recompense for work done. I was not the only one. He cut agreed salaries by 20 percent within two months. He crossed the line of any decency I had come to expect. He hired someone wholly unqualified as his office commandant after interviewing a pool of over 30 qualified Highlanders. He bragged about that in a column. He hired the least qualified person because – and you can look this up – she agreed to a payment plan that the qualified people could never agree to.

But we digress… back to the hunt for a point.

[blockquote cite=”Mr. Lebo, Column Feb 2015″ type=”left, center, right”]”That makes the contemplation of debt both easier and scarier at the same time. Easier, because after decades of good stewardship we have substantial room to manoeuvre. And scarier, because if a politician as financially conservative as Warden Fearrey is getting on the credit bandwagon, things must be looking precarious indeed.[/blockquote]

Okay. I’ll let you in on a secret.

Lebo also started his for-profit enterprise in an incubator that was partly funded by the local government. So when Lebo asks the questions about why the County is considering taking out some loans to cover operating expenses, one of the answers could be: “Well it’s because the County actually believes in paying its bills and its people on time. And it believes in providing services to people without bragging about it in weakly screeds.”

I was actually uncomfortable with occupying space in that incubator because, as a reporter, I knew why that incubator was started. And it wasn’t to create mini-empires on a rent-free basis. Please feel free Mr. Lebo to go and ask Warden Fearrey what he thought about that wee incubator boondoggle marking the start of The Rag.

Hint: Lebo ain’t got the guts to engage. He likes pronouncing. He loves offering his insights. He likes to meddle. Lebo likes to do all of this, but what Lebo does not like to do… is think. Cogitate. Muddle. Canoodle with his Noodle. Scan his Skull. Clunk his Cranium. Fact Find. Talk to Smart People. Research.

Much too hard, all that.


[blockquote cite=”Flatulence From Lebo… anyone heard this solution like 2,000 times before from whinging arsehole archetypes?” type=”left, center, right”]”The way out has to involve not just managing costs, but growing our revenue base. With provincial funding on the decline and tax increases unpalatable for all, the best way to achieve sustainable growth is by attracting new businesses and residents.”[/blockquote]

See Warden Fearrey? See Reeve Devolin? See? County Haliburton? See Residents and Business Owners?

It’s Easy.

Just do what Lebo says. Can I get an A-Freakin’-Men?

But… umm… could you all manage it while still paying your staff on time?

Maybe let’s postpone Florida till next year.

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