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Clearview Council wage issue continues

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In Clearview
Sep 1st, 2010
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By Michael Gennings Simcoe.com August 18 2010
STAYNER – The Clearview Council Compensation Committee, an ad-hoc body struck by council in July in an attempt to determine rates of remuneration for elected officials, submitted its recommendations to council members last Monday night.
However, a lengthy agenda caused council to only receive the report for information.
Ward 4 councillor Thom Paterson said the recommendations will likely be presented and discussed at council’s Sept. 13 meeting.
The committee is proposing that Clearview’s mayor earn $31,000 a year, compared to the current salary of $28,317.
The deputy mayor would earn $23,500 annually, compared to the current amount of $22,378.
And councillors would earn $19,000 each year, compared to the $17,748 they pull in now.
The wage increase for the mayor’s pay represents a 9.5 per cent hike or 2.3 per cent annually over four years. For the deputy mayor, the increase is five per cent or 1.2 per cent annually. Councillors would get a 7.1 per cent increase or 1.8 per cent each year.
The committee also recommends that members of council continue to receive a one-third tax-free allowance, which helps cover expenses incurred for work in the municipality.
The committee suggests these changes take effect once council accepts the recommendations.
To determine a rate of pay, the committee looked at what other townships in Simcoe County pay members of their council, plus one other township, Smith-Ennismore-Lakefield, located in Peterborough County.  
The committee is recommending that a citizen committee review wages again towards the end of the next council’s four-year term.
Committee members aren’t the first to tackle the subject of council remuneration this year.
In June, at the urging of Mayor Ken Ferguson, council and staff began looking at the subject.
The mayor wants rules in place that establish when and how council members get a raise.
The mayor wants to avoid situations like in the past, when retroactive raises were approved.
The optics of these raises aren’t good – elected officials have said – as it appears the raise is large when in fact it’s merely a case of playing catch-up after going so many years without an increase.
Council members haven’t had a raise this term.
Staff presented a draft outline in late June regarding what wages council should receive and when there should be increases. That information was largely based on a remuneration exercise conducted recently by nearby Springwater Township.
It was thought a remuneration bylaw would be passed at the July 12 meeting but at that session Councillor Thom Paterson convinced officials to strike a local ad hoc committee to look at council wages.
“We’ve got the talent – so why not have a made in Clearview solution,” he said, explaining why he pressed for the committee.
The committee’s findings aren’t that different than what was on the table in early July, however, the increases aren’t based on cost of living adjustments but rather moderate increases.
The bylaw that was on the table earlier this year, had it been passed, would have come into effect for Dec. 1, 2010, when the new council is sworn in.
Under that bylaw, members of council would receive the rates of pay currently in effect. But annually, starting April 2011, they would receive an annual cost of living increase – the same as township staff get based on the union contract or a cost of living increase based on the Consumer Price Index, whichever is less.
Working on the committee that submitted the new recommendations is Clearview Township residents Bill Mann and John Smart, who both live in Creemore, along with Mulmur Township resident Don McFarlane. There is also a person from Stayner who wishes to remain anonymous.
Paterson said Mann and Smart offered to sit on the committee before he suggested to council that one be formed. Council accepted their participation and allowed them to find two other members.
Mann is a former vice-president of human resources at Imperial Oil and Southam. Smart is the co-owner of Village IDA in Creemore and a former member of Creemore council.
Mann said he approached McFarlane, a former senior vice-president at Frito-Lay, to join the committee.
“I wanted people who had strong HR background and it had to be someone I knew so I could make judgments about how wise and flexible they are. Don I’ve known a long time and he’s something like nine kilometres from the edge of Clearview and had experience that couldn’t be duplicated by anyone I know.”
The anonymous member from Stayner is also highly skilled, he said.
“It’s a very successful business person – someone who would be known and respected by everyone in Stayner,” Mann said.
But why remain anonymous?
“It had to do with the notoriety that being in this role might present. He’s in a retail type business and if someone took umbrage it might affect his business. I thought long and hard about it but thought what he brought was absolutely essential,” Mann said.
“I know they’ve worked hard to provide recommendations to us and I hope this doesn’t undermine the work they’ve done. I learned from another member of council who the person is and because I know the individual I’m ultimately comfortable with them playing a role. But I don’t like what’s happened.”

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