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Bid to raise councillor remuneration to encourage more candidates fails

A motion by councillor Kate MacNaughton to increase remuneration to attract a wider and more diverse range of candidates in October’s election, received no support from her peers.

At Thursday’s committee of the whole meeting, MacNaughton sought support to raise a councillor’s wage to $35,300 next year – a $10,000 bump from the current remuneration.

Her motion asked for support “to foster a more inclusive local government during the electoral nomination period and to bring council remuneration closer to the region’s livable wage”.

MacNaughton stated she was looking at an “emergency attempt to open doors during the nomination period” with a more equitable, barrier-free entry target – based on the living wage network.

She stated some people she has spoken with to encourage them to run for council, told her they do not have the means to take on the job, or do not have reliable support from their employer to do so.

She said council is not representational and “excludes a lot of people who are impacted by our decisions” such as renters, and people with hourly wages.

Several councillors were quick to state they have taken on the part-time job on council in the interest of serving the community, not to pay themselves.

Councillor Andreas Bolik said he also has been encouraging people to run for council “and not one of them has said it doesn’t pay enough.” Rather, he states their concerns are things like being personally attacked or not having the qualifications… “Some of them say it’s too much time, but none of them say it’s not enough money.”

“And considering the timing, in the middle of the highest inflation rate we’ve had in the last 40 years, this is not the time to go to the electorate and say we’re going to spend more money on the people who are not even running the county. We have staff that does the day-to-day. We are an oversight body. We set policy; we set budget.”

He added each councillor, averaged out, represents just over 1,000 residents. “How much do you expect them to pay us?”

“The last thing I would like to see in the future is for us to have professional councillors who say ‘you know what? I’m going to do this because I can make a good living at this’,” said councillor Jamie Forrester. “We already see this at the federal level, and we already see this at the provincial level. I sure don’t want to see it at the municipal level.”

People should be elected, he said, “because you’re the most qualified; because you’ve went out there and knocked on doors and talked to people and they’ve made the choice to vote you in. Period.”

“If I didn’t get paid one dollar, I would sit at this table,” said councillor Phil Prinzen. “I’m not doing it for the money. I’m doing it for the community. The door is open for every member of this community to run.”

Clerk Catalina Blumenberg also highlighted that “it’s very important that council not be involved in the electoral process or the nomination process. Council has a very distinct and prescriptive role in the election, under the Municipal Elections Act,” adding the wording of MacNaughton’s motion might not be legislatively legal.

The nomination period for the Oct. 24 municipal election continues to Aug. 19 at 2 p.m.

Candidates filed to seek the mayor’s seat, so far, include:
Dianne O’Brien, Steve Ferguson and Kyle Mayne

Candidates filed for wards, so far, include:
Ward 1 Picton (two seats)
Phil St. Jean, Kate MacNaughton

Ward 2 Bloomfield/Hallowell (two seats)
Brad Nieman, Phil Prinzen, Sarah Moffatt

Ward 3 Wellington (one seat)
Heather Norlock
Corey Engelsdorfer
Jennifer Cobb

Ward 4 Ameliasburgh (three seats)
Bill Tkach

Ward 5 Athol (one seat)
Sam Branderhorst
Tom Harrison
Elis Ziegler

Ward 6 Sophiasburgh (one seat)
Bill Roberts

Ward 7 Hillier (one seat)
none

Ward 8 North Marysburgh (one seat)
David Harrison
Ben Thornton

Ward 9 South Marysburgh (one seat)
John Hirsch

Following the nomination period, Clerk Blumenberg will review all nominations to prepare a certified list of candidates and declare any acclamations.

Filed Under: Local News

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  1. Paul D Cole says:

    PEC 2021 population is 25.704 according to vital signs. In this study dated 2018 municipalities with a population of 25.000 to 49.999 councilors were paid a provincial average salary of $24.841 and in eastern Ontario the average salary was $16.006.. Study link https://www.amcto.com/getattachment/a9e4b504-21c2-4378-bfab-ef4e1eb001c2/.aspx?fbclid=IwAR2JfLJber7qozxDCXj3wDZK82Fc69V6cQnXFmoSfcjb9Wy4CbqyKtD_RSU#:~:text=While%20levels%20of%20pay%20vary,less%20than%20%2440%2C000%20per%20year

  2. Mark says:

    The issue remains to be the unreasonable size of Council that has never been resolved. An increased renumeration is acceptable given the changes locally causing far more work to prepare and govern. If Council size was cut in half and elected at large to provide every resident equal representation the increases applied would cost the taxpayer nothing.

  3. Todd says:

    Good on the rest of the councillors for Not supporting this. ADJ sums it well.

  4. AK says:

    While I know the article is council specific, it may interest the author to include trustee candidates who are also running as of date

    South Prince Edward – Judith Burfoot
    North Prince Edward – Hale Ferguson

  5. Argyle says:

    Sanity has prevailed, council refusing to increase salaries of councillors is the right thing to do. However, imagine being able to initiate a work place motion to increase your pay.

  6. ADJ says:

    Congrats to all the other councillors for their position on this. I never ever thought a council seat was going to pay a livable wage. It was a dedicated individual who basically applied their opinions for a remuneration. If any voted in politician feels they are not paid enough then perhaps try getting a second job in the work force. There are lots of them out there.

  7. Dennis Fox says:

    I am not opposed to anyone receiving a pay raise – not even our councillors. BUT, I believe there are a few things that need to happen first – – – 1/ as everyone knows our council is far too large, so a restructuring of council is needed before a pay raise. 2/ for many people in our community $35,000/ yr is a full time salary. A pay increase should mean that the position of councillor is now a full time one. If so, this may drive more people away, than attract them. 3/ The idea that money will attract more interest in running for council is wrong.

    For me $35,000 X 13 councillors, plus the mayor’s salary is just too much money. Fewer councillors (like 6) are needed before any further discussion on pay raises – please!

    And also remember our employees have been limited to a 1% increase for the last 4 years.

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