by Cecilia Nasmith
Retiring Cobourg Mayor Gil Brocanier warned his county-council colleagues of challenges that await them under new legislation governing council compensation.
The remarks regarding what Brocanier described as "an onerous level of record keeping" were made at the July meeting, as council received a report on compensation levels. The staffer presenting the report said that such a review has become customary during the final year of each council term, so that any changes can be in place for the successor council.
In the new term of council, legislated changes will remove the one-third taxable benefit, making councillors' salaries and remunerations fully taxable.
The AMCTO company prepared a report for this quadrennial review that resulted in the motion councillors passed with changes to take effect Dec. 12. These include setting salaries at $18,347 for councillors and $45,477 for the warden. Meeting remuneration will be a flat rate of $100, and the maximum reimbursement for conference expenses will be set at $4,000 per year.
The motion provided for a mid-2019 review to ensure the changes are within established guidelines and comparitors, and for a full report (with recommendations) to be made in the third year of the next term.
As he is not running for re-election, Brocanier said, he has no conflict of interest in supporting these increases. He will miss many things about being mayor, he added, “but not the added burden members of coucil will have tracking their expenses – everything from ink cartridges to mileage to paper they have purchased.”
With mayor being a seven-days-a-week job, Brocanier said, much of his work is done at home as well as in the office – so expenses like Internet time enter into the picture. And it's amazing what other expenses go into the job. For example, since a mayor must represent his or her municipality professionally, a new suit jacket may occasionally be required.
“There's a huge list, and it never ends. It will take everyone a while to adjust to what they have to keep track of.
“There is a tremendous amount of paperwork added on to be a member of municipal council, so good luck to all of you,” Brocanier said.
Warden Mark Lovshin, mayor of Hamilton Township, noted that requirements may vary from municipality to municipality. And Brighton Mayor Mark Walas added that it's up to the individual what he or she will claim.