It’s a topic it seems nobody on Bradford West Gwillimbury council really wanted to discuss, but in the end, they all had their say.
That topic was the remuneration they, as members of council, receive, be it as salary or payment for expenses.
Bradford West Gwillimbury council previously voted to go ahead with the usual three per cent salary increase for members of council for 2009.
However, some of them said it had to do with the fact the motion tied their salaries to the non-unionized staff member of the town, who were still deserving of a three per cent raise.
As a way to possibly cut the amount of money councillors receive, Mayor Doug White brought forward a motion to create a committee of council in September to review the special meeting and expense remuneration members of council currently receive for the 2010 budget.
“If we had not passed the three per cent increase, that measure could have saved us $5,000,” Mr. White said. “We have to show leadership by taking a look at what our spending is.”
However, Mr. White did not ask council to consider a reduction for 2009, citing two reasons.
Firstly, town staff expressed concerns about having to re-open the budget and secondly, some councillors might already have plans and schedules made regarding to their expenses for workshops, seminars and other field trips.
Some items the proposed committee would consider include eliminating all mileage allowances for members of council and eliminating the $100 pay council members receive for attending special meetings above and beyond the usual three council meetings per month.
The latter did not sit well with Ward 2 Councillor James Leduc, who had concerns with the timing of many of these special meetings.
“I have a problem with the practice in which we schedule these meetings,” Mr. Leduc said. “For myself and the other councillors that work, we are forced to take a day off to attend these meetings and if you’re talking about taking away that money ($100), then we need to look at better scheduling.”
This is just one of many concerns councillors expressed over Mr. White’s motion.
“Whenever politicians deal with salaries, it’s not going to be fun,” Mr. White said. “The one thing that I am adamant about is that we do out part and just take a look at our spending.”
The motion to set up the committee in September passed, with Mr. Leduc voting against it.
“We are not overly paid here,” Mr. Leduc said. “We are talking about small potatoes here.”