"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Monday 1 April 2013

The devil is in the details

It's forty years since Council adopted the policy of appointing a citizen committee to review Councillors' remuneration to get over the awkwardness of Councillors  deciding what Councillors should be paid.
Though the decision to accept  the recommendation had to be made.  In theory at least, Council was not deciding directly.
No review was undertaken in  the last term. 
This  term , Council approved a resolution to appoint a review committee. Chief Financial Officer was assigned  as staff resource. 
The committee reported. 
Council debated the report  Four times.
First  decision was to  receive .
Second was to waive the procedure bylaw and allow re-consideration .
Third was to recommend approval of the report.
Fourth  rejected the recommendations.
Several  problems presented 
Councillors' salaries were not  be changed due to the state of the economy 
The state of the economy was not within the committee's purview.
The state of the economy did not prevent the committee from making generous but 
 implausible  changes to the Mayor's salary and benefits. 
Salary was to increase by $9,000.
Long term disability benefits were to be provided; problematic in the extreme. 
It meant the Mayor would receive permanent disability if he had the misfortune to become  incapable of occupying his seat. The position of Mayor must be  his for a period of  twelve  months before the seat could become vacant.
The Municipal Act does not permit a council seat to be vacant. After three months, Council must fill the seat by appointment or by -election.
Long term disability is an employee benefit. Not intended for elected officials.
The committee recommended a "transition" allowance be paid to the Mayor in the event of  departure from office.
The  allowance is  the equivalent to severance paid to a long-term employee
under particular circumstances. Or unemployment insurance to a working-class stiff.
The allowance is already  being paid at the region.Has been for years.
Even if appropriate to pay severance  to an outgoing  politician  elected for a finite term of office , if the committee's recommendation was followed, town taxpayers would foot the bill for severance at the region, severance at the municipal level and salary of  a Mayor elected to replace the outgoing Mayor.
Last time I checked salaries paid to members at the Region, $50,000 was the figure, plus$10,000, worth of employee benefits.t was some years ago.
Regional representatives are enrolled in group benefit plans at the local level. The  Region pays  the bill to the municipality.
I suspect the reason
I also suspect the salary review committee for Aurora's Councillors was not apprised of details  they needed to know to  form sensible judgement.
Nor were Council until the fourth and final consideration of the matter when the responsibility rested
on the shoulders of moi.


Anonymous said...

Welcome Back. This time take it bloody easy please. We need you.

Anonymous said...

MorMac is dancing in the streets and getting the fund raising plans in place.... the next election is going to be a doozy!

Anonymous said...

To 3:45pm

Is that an April Fools Joke, because its after 12 noon, when the jokes I thought were to stop for the day.
So if not a joke please fill in the info as to your meaning please.

Anonymous said...

Hey, it was worth a shot.

Anonymous said...

"Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz's Conflict of Interest case head for courts "
Matthew Coutts.

Anonymous said...

3:45 PM
You may be right. But I think they have a serious credibility problem. Despite the Judge's decision, no one with whom I have spoken believes that Morris had no conflict of interest. Nor do they buy that conspiracy theory. Former Mayor Tim Jones wants nothing to do with politics { he has made that very clear } & the others merely exchanged information briefly.

Anonymous said...

The latest issue of The Auroran is on line and has a letter to the editor titled “An Aurora Live post-mortem” on page 6 by George Roche, Lucid Community Development.

I am neutral to Lucid. I didn't think it would get off the ground as it was too short of a time period to organize for this year. I also think that the Town staff were not allowed to do their job of vetting the organization as instructed by Council as some councillors intervened in this process and it all seemed to fall apart. There’s evidently more behind the scenes that we all know about.

The letter is an interesting read and here are a few excerpts:

“we (Lucid) experienced two Councillors with behaviour that was completely organized around defeating Aurora Live!” (he is referring to Councillors Ballard & Gallo who like the others on Council all voted for the proposal to proceed to the next stage);

“…our model will not ever be embraced by problematic councillors whose desire is to undermine event investors with covert vendettas intended to damage town partnerships trying to make the Mayor look bad”;

“In the absence of any legitimate argument to defeat Lucid, the Councillors had one thing left to do; manufacture what does not exist. Lucid’s work is built entirely with integrity in mind leaving nothing to argue that could validate [their] scepticism.”

“Observing Councillor Ballard’s theory for appraising success now provides future event planners with two shameful references to consider”.

“Aurora Live or any project of its kind will be no match for political viruses like those endured by Lucid. The counter-productivity was ingrained in the social fabric long before Lucid came to town, making those viruses the acceptable norm rather than the exception to it.”

An interesting observation from Mr. Roche who was trying to do business here and is viewing Aurora from the outside.

Anonymous said...

8:46 AM
You can do good stuff. Beats your usual negativity. Well done.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, the political landscape that Mr Roche found here in Aurora isn't a one-way street. Much of what we see is motivated by the mutual settling of scores.

Anonymous said...

That seems a bit funny 11:02am you said:

"8:46 AM
You can do good stuff. Beats your usual negativity. Well done."

I would have to think you are confusing me with someone else. Since everyone is using Anonymous I can't comprehend how you would know who everyone is to tag on that they or I have a history of posting negative comments. Though I'll take the credit of "you can do good stuff".

Anonymous said...

To 11:08am

To a certain point I can agree with your statement, but in this case I think Mr. Roche at no fault of his own got tangled in and was thrown under the bus in the motivation of settling a score. i.e. if we can't have a jazz festival we'll sabotage any other music festival.

Anonymous said...

12:44 PM & 8:46 AM....

People here seem to think that they know who someone is although they post as anonymous. You have just proven that these people are full of it.

I've been accused of being many different people here - only I know who I am/was/are.

Anonymous said...

8:14 AM
Naw, you're not sure.