By Karen Wolfe

WOW! It seems Georgina council (with the exception of Mike Waddington) has decided that members of the next council deserve a 33 per cent pay increase.

The salary for a councillor has been raised from $36,000 a year to $48,000 a year.

In my humble opinion, that is just unconscionable during these uncertain economic times. And here is why I think that way.

First of all, there are thousands of people in this community who work full time and still aren’t making $1,000 a week after being on the job for years.

The job of a councillor is a part-time job and the salary traditionally supplements the compensation they get paid from their full-time jobs–and the ones currently on council, all have full time jobs.

Secondly, most compensation packages are tied to a specific set of qualifications and skills that should make them a good candidate for a particular position. That is not the case for a councillor. You need only be a resident, over the age of 18 and not incarcerated.

The positions of Mayor and Regional Councillor are considered full-time positions and their compensation packages–including the regional differential–completely represent full-time annual salaries of $140,000 and $110,000 respectively.

The increase that was approved for these two positions was seven per cent for Regional Councillor (Town’s base salary from $46,996 to $50,662) and eight per cent for Mayor (Town’s base salary from $74,665 to $80,662).

As expected, the discussions at council reminded everyone that the raises were in place for the new council that will be elected next fall.

However, I fully believe that those voting on the pay increases all expect to be sitting around that council table after the election and hope to benefit from the increase.

The discussions were also supported by two HR professionals who held up figures to demonstrate that Georgina councillors made 42 per cent less than the medium of councillors in other like-municipalities.

But, let’s look at the remuneration for councillors in our neighbouring Brock Township which is currently only $23,107 a year. And, their council recently voted to raise it up to $27,031 by the end of 2026!

It is my contention that Brock councillors put in the same number of hours as our councillors do–they attend the same number of meetings, they have to review the same agendas, approve budgets, take calls from constituents and attend community events.

So, why are our councillors worth so much more?

I think it would have been more reasonable, more responsible, more respectful and prudent to approve moderate raises–something like five or 10 per cent annually over the next term of council. Because let’s not forget that council compensation already includes a cost of living increase every year.

I take my hat off to Councillor Waddington who attempted to be the voice of reason for council during the debate.

He referenced published papers that refuted the notion that higher salaries for politicians resulted in good governance. In actuality, he said an increase in candidates benefitted incumbents in an election.

But instead of taking his comments as a common sense approach to the discussion, some sounded offended and the rest of council dug their heels in to ensure the raises were approved.

Sorry, but my feeling is this raise is an offense to hard working and struggling residents who can ill afford to meet today’s demands for housing, the grocery store and the gas pumps.

Simply put, this 33 per cent increase is offensive and those of you who voted for it deserve to be dumped by the voters on October 24, 2022 in favour of a candidate who has more respect for the taxpayer.

Many on council justified the increase by arguing it would attract good candidates and if this vote is any indication, they are sorely needed.



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