Mayor calls for citizens' group to review...
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Dec 17, 2013  |  Vote 0    0

Mayor calls for citizens' group to review remuneration

Stratford Gazette

Jeff Heuchert editor@stratfordgazette.com

Mayor Dan Mathieson is proposing a citizens' committee to review and make recommendations to council regarding remuneration for councillors who serve on additional committees and boards.

Having councillors debate what they think they should be paid can be difficult, acknowledged the mayor at Monday's year-end council meeting. He said having a formal mechanism in place to deal with salary issues for elected officials would not only ensure consistency but add a layer of transparency to council's decisions.

"I think it's a healthy thing for us to go outside and allow the citizens to tell us, and it's probably the best way to ensure the citizens truly have a voice," he added.

The mayor successfully put forward a motion Monday to have the city's finance and labour relations subcommittee explore the idea of forming a group of non-elected officials. The request comes on the heels of some heated debates in the council chambers over the last few weeks regarding compensation for council members who sit on the Festival Hydro board. Council approved pay hikes for the chair and vice-chair but deferred a decision about increasing the remuneration for the board's council representatives.

Part of the issue is the disparity between the Hydro board and other groups. Council members on the Hydro board currently receive an average of $340 per meeting, while city subcommittees compensate elected officials around $60.

Mathieson, who sits on the Festival Hydro board with councillors Frank Mark and Tom Clifford, noted the city last organized a citizens' committee to deal with remuneration back in late 2005. The city advertised for the group and created a term of reference for it to follow. The committee made recommendations on council and the mayor's wages and for what meetings they should be compensated for.

Having "someone other than ourselves look at these situations on a regular basis and give input" might be the best way moving forward, he said.

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