Thursday, December 16, 2010

Big Night at City Hall? Bigger Idea for the Region

Here at When the Mayor Smiles we are giving consideration to going on-location with a live twitter feed for this Monday’s (December 20th) Burlington City Council meeting.

This must be a big event because the Burlington Post is all over it. You better check them out for all the details.

Put simply, committee of Council by a vote of 4 - 3 has recommended a .8% increase (Read that as point eight percent increase) to the salaries of the Mayor and Councillors. Using our abacus we get this as a $3,365 annual impact to the city budget. We are incapable of reflecting this as a percentage of the annual budget.

In that Groundhog Day style unique to Burlington Council the same seven decision makers get to repeat their arguments and recast their votes at ``full`` council on Monday.

On second thought we’ll leave the on-location reporting to the Post. However, inspired by such hard hitting journalism we’ll take a look at another remuneration issue – this time over at the Region of Halton.

Here we have 20 Regional Councillors, including the seven aforementioned Burlington debaters, pulling down $43,000 a piece to make the big political decisions that affect us all across our world class municipality - Halton Canada.

Is it just me but we are hard pressed to recall any significant controversial political decision made over, say, the last five years by this body? (The best I can come up with is spending $300,000 to save the white oak tree that blocked the way when Council decided to pave over most of the adjacent property on Highway #25).

This is not to say that good work doesn’t happen at Halton Region. Planners plan planning projects, public health nurses hang out in local watering holes and hand out condoms and the Chair’s golf tournament always does a great job of raising dollars for good causes. But politics isn’t happening here at any higher level than in the two person unit I work in on my day job.

So my idea:

Get rid of those 20 Councillors. I know they are trying but there is nothing for them to do. We'll save close to a million dollars.

As for the Chair, Gary Carr, the former Commonsense Revolutionary has become a popular figure in recent years. I think he should stay. I imagine a role somewhat like Prince Philip`s where Carr could preside over various events like commemorations of grade separations, awards for developer of the year and that golf tournament.

That`s it - just a little December daydreaming.


Walter Mulkewich said...

I think you should change your mind and go to Council and give a running commentary via Twitter. Bets on whether the Post will be there?? We need you!

Maybe you could also report that the proposed increase is based on a cost of living increase formula that has been in place in Burlington since the eighties so that the "politics" could be taken out of the issue of salary increases for Councillors.

Then, you could ask how Councillors can implement that formula for 2010 and then later vote on election promises to freeze salaries for Burlington staff.

Further you might consider taking your tweeting to the Region so that politics there can be reported by someone.

Merry Christmas.


Bob Wood said...

Hey Walter,

So there should be some consistency with staff salaries. Is that what you think?

How about I'll contact the Post and ask them whether you can be their City Tweeter?

Maybe they'll let me be the Regional Guy. I'm just not sure what I'd tweet about.