Optics and Conflict


    Boy did the vote to increase financial compensation for Mayor and Council amount to poking a stick into a hornet’s nest.

    People are pissed! On the one hand we see “suggestions” that citizens pay a fee for access 2016-11-29_9-48-04to information then hot on the heels of that discussion we have Councilors complaining about the needing greater financial compensation for serving as a Councilor. Perhaps they shouldn’t have offered to serve on Common Council?

    Quite frankly I have never looked at being a member of Council as a “job”, it’s an opportunity make a contribution, to do your part  to build a better the community. Any Councilor that sees the position in any other light is there for the wrong reason. Over several decades I have sat on many boards and commissions and have never received, expected or asked for a single penny for the thousands of hours that I contributed.

    The primary reason for running for or accepting a position on a Board, Commission or Common Council SHOULD be to make a contribution to the organization or community. Financial compensation for Councilors should never be seen as a SALARY but rather a financial “thank you” from the community.

    There’s two very good reasons why the issue of financial compensation should not be on the Council table.

    1. Optics – Greg Norton and Gary Sullivan have it right. Each and every Councilor knew before that ran for Common Council what the responsibilities were and what financial compensation they would receive for their time and effort.
    2. Conflict of interest – How can you vote in favour of a motion whereby you receive a financial or other benefit without triggering a conflict of interest?   Any decision to increase financial benefits for Common Council should apply only to the next Common Council.

    Are you beginning to see why politicians at all levels rate near the bottom of the Most Trusted List of Professions?

    Should the voting public have a good memory some Councilors may find they are not as welcome come next election. Not for what they are asking, the amount is rather modest rather the manner in which it was achieved.

    Think about it.