What we paid our city council members in 2016

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

February 28th, 2017



Why does what we pay our politicians of so much interest to people?

We don’t spend as much time on what we pay our Member of Parliament and the Member of the Provincial Legislature. Partly because what the municipal politicians do is much closer to home.
Explain the ongoing angst over the New Street Road diet?

Its impact is so exaggerated by both sides of the argument. A short change in the amount of time it takes to drive from one Line to the next is made to sound like the world is coming to an end for those who feel the road was put there by God himself and is a divine right for car drivers.

The cyclists explain that it is just a small part of the bike lane network they want to see build across the city.
Emotions do get stirred – and it takes a sensitive politician tuned to the will of the residents and a genuine desire to listen and find the needed compromises. We don’t have a lot of those on this city Council.


The significant seven – how many will return in 2018?

Most of them take the view that they were elected to make decisions, which they do, based on the world as they see it.

Councillor Sharman brings his pretty solid conservative views to the table and in order to avoid making a decision he continually asks for more data.

Councillor Taylor is of the view that if someone one needs support for transit they should undergo a means test.

He has somehow equated transit with social welfare. Taylor can probably not tell you when he was last on a bus in Burlington.

Councillor Meed Ward wants to maintain some height limitations that are not realistic and believes that the city can somehow stop the kind of growth that is going to take place.

Her colleague, Councillor Jack Dennison, would be quite happy to see a Burlington with 300,000 people living in with the city limits. He thinks like a developer.

The Mayor wants a city just like the one he was raised in – he forgets that both he and the city have grown up.
Councillor Lancaster has an elitist view of what a politician is supposed to do.

We commented on Councillor Craven in a separate article.

They are the people the citizens elected. That less than 40% of the population bothers to vote is not something you can blame on the politicians – even if they do make it very difficult for new comers to get elected.

Hundreds of people grouse about where these members of council fail – but very few step up and run for office.
The money isn’t great. No one is going to buy one of the larger homes on sale in his city with the salaries that are paid.

And those that really do the job put in long hours. The Mayor is out most nights of the week. Among the Council members he works the hardest.

Salaries + city council

Add about $55,000 in Regional salary to what the city pays and you arrive at a total of $120,000 a year. The hours are pretty easy with close to a month off in the summer. Pension is now very good,

Every member of Burlington’s city council is also a member of the Regional Council. They earn a separate amount from the Region – about $54,000 a year plus mileage expenses.

The current pension plans is very good.  For those that have been at the Council table for 20 years – the pnsion isn’t going to allow them to live in luxury.

Would paying more result in better council members; probably not but it would certainly attract a lot of people who see $100,000 as a great salary.

Municipal politics is nothing like the private sector and it takes a full term of office to get the hang of it.  some never get it and probably should not have been there in the first place.

Of the seven men and women we elect expect at least five of them to run for office in 2018.  The race for MAyor has been going on for some time.  On Monday at a Committee of the Whole meeting Councillor Meed Ward was serving as Chair.

MMW ate his lunch #3

Councillor Meed Ward ate the Mayor’s lunch at a Standing Committee on Monday.

There was an award  presentation to be given – the city was named as the winner of an Ontario Public Works Association award for the way they handled the 2014 flood.  These award presentations are usually done at city council meetings and not Standing Committee meetings.

The Mayor uses these occasions to give commendations to various groups and often receives an award the city is given along with the relevant staff members.

On Monday afternoon Meed Ward, as chair of the Standing Committee, decided that she would accept the award for the city and invited the Mayor to join her along with senior staff members.  Meed Ward had just eaten the Mayor’s lunch.


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