With the appointment of the OLG Board of Directors now complete, the Board reaffirming the future of lottery and gaming modernization in Ontario and in follow-up to your October 24th letter, it would appear to be an opportune time to accept my invitation to have a formal meeting.
More importantly, it is a critical opportunity for OLG to explicitly demonstrate its commitment to the community and head office here by requiring the CEO, hired to replace Mr. Phillips, be located in and operate from Sault Ste. Marie.
You may recall that last fall we invited you to come to Sault Ste. Marie at your earliest convenience to meet with key city stakeholders, discuss the future of the OLG, digital gaming initiatives in our community and to determine how best to work with the OLG Board and Executive as the host community for OLG’s head office.
We would be most grateful if you could now confirm a time for such a meeting.
As we discussed, OLG and Sault Ste. Marie have enjoyed a long-term beneficial relationship - they have over two and half decades of shared history.
The City and the SSM Economic Development Corporation have embraced the new era of "modernization", made it a community priority and are undertaking a range of initiatives and activities in support of digital gaming development and in particular, the lottery and gaming procurement processes - integral parts of modernization.
At the operational level, a positive working relationship with Tom Marinelli and the senior management team has been established. Together we are identifying and developing ways for the community to become the Centre for Next Generation Lottery and Gaming.
We have been working hard to build the structures and competencies to support the lottery and gaming as OLG proceeds into their next developmental phase.
Together with the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre and private sector suppliers, we are becoming more engaged in OLG's digital gaming efforts.
We have also created a community framework to support private sector proponents who seek to win the OLG business through the RFP processes.
Over the last year, we have been heartened by Ontario’s and OLG's pledges that Sault Ste. Marie will remain at the centre of managing the lottery business in the future.
The approximately 560 OLG head office positions and the complementary work done by private sector suppliers are essential to the economic well-being of Sault Ste. Marie. indeed, many pubiic and private sector initiatives are taking root in anticipation of OLG continuing to manage its lottery activity here.
Very recentiy a unique opportunity has emerged for OLG and the Government to clearly demonstrate its pledge to Sault Ste. Marie to maintain its place in OLG's operations.
Presumably, with the resignation of Rod Phillips as OLG CEO, the Board and Government will be launching a search for a replacement.
As part of this recruitment process, we strongly urge that the CEO position be located at the Sault Ste. Marie head office.
An OLG CEO based in Sault Ste. Marie would be such an important signal to the prospective new operators of the Lottery, to the supplier community and public sector organizations that the resources and structure of this community will continue to be dedicated to the lottery and gaming industry in the future.
When Sault Ste. Marie was designated as the Provincial lottery headquarters in 1986 as part of the Northern Ontario Relocation Program, the executive team and CEO were based here.
Even then, the distance from Ontario's major urban centers did not prevent the growth and development of Ontario's lottery crown corporation. With today’s ICT technologies and competitive air transportation services to the community, Sault Ste. Marie is an even better place to do business.
Unfortunately, over the years all senior executive positions and many OLG positions and functions have been relocated or transferred to Toronto, in fact to a point where its OLG employees headcount now outnumbers that in Sault Ste. Marie.
We hope you wilt agree that hiring the next CEO as a Sault Ste. Marie-based position is best for the future of a modernized OLG and for the economy of Sault Ste. Marie and Northern Ontario.
Please let me know how my administration and the SSM Economic Development Corporation can assist in this CEO search. Once again, we look forward to formally meeting the new Board in Sault Ste. Marie.