Maxed Out 

Process, process, process

Page 2 of 3

So, what lessons are we to learn from this exercise in enlightened self-interest? We could surmise the last two citizen-led review committees, both of whom recommended modest pay increases, were largely comprised of misers who clearly didn’t understand the time and effort councillors put into their work, not to mention their intrinsic value. We could decide the myth of the 20-hour work week for councillors is simply passé and they need a big raise to compensate them for the time they’re putting into doing the job. We could, as easily, learn the wisdom of the old adage about not letting the fox guard the henhouse.

But none of those are really the most important point. Let’s face it, the money is chump change. An extra ten grand each and twenty-five large for the mayor doesn’t even add up to half a Jim Unit. We can barely build a bus shelter for that kind of money in this town.

The real issue is, once again, process. Faced with a right way to proceed and a wrong way to proceed, our elected officials unerringly chose the wrong path. And worse yet, not a single one of them stood up and said, "This isn’t right."


Someone had to say it.

I don’t care if Parliament does it. I don’t care if the U.S. Congress does it. It isn’t right for elected officials to set their own remuneration. This isn’t a grey area. It’s wrong. Period.

More to the point, it underscores the disappointment a large number of people, myself included, are feeling about this council’s performance to date. It wasn’t that many months ago we were all feeling pretty jubilant. We’d elected new councillors who seemed more in touch with the mood of the people living here, councillors who, as candidates, all expressed a strong bias for open, transparent government and who placed a high value on citizen input. We’d elected a new mayor who had demonstrated a clear community commitment and who better mirrored the people he represented.

What we didn’t elect, and what it seems more and more like what we’re getting, is a form of imperial governance. While this council is actually deciding things – full marks for improvement in that area – it doesn’t seem to grasp the other half of the challenge of governing. Making a decision is only half the battle, guys. You have to sell the decision as well. No finer example of that truism exists than the P3 debacle. You made a decision. I’m certain it wasn’t made lightly. But you never sold the people living here, the people who elected you, on that decision. You never explained why it made sense. You never addressed the big, hanging questions around it. You ignored the opposition. You got your collective ass handed to you.

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