NORM PUTTICK/Special to Bullet News
There is no doubt the best and closest elected representative to the local citizens are the councillors spread among the 12 municipalities and the region. Who performs more transparently, gets more calls, or is directly approached when shopping or out for dinner, your MPP, MP or local councillor?
Local councillor, hands down.
These people are continually in the public eye for good or bad decisions and are the poorest paid among those in public office. In Niagara, that is.
This came to mind when it is been reported that a few members of the Senate are said to be submitting expenses that are questionable. Regional councillors at just under $30,000 a year would take almost 12 years to earn the amount some senators are billing. Niagara Falls councillors would take about 14 years, give or take.
Now I am still an advocate of fewer councillors and municipalities in Niagara. However when I read how appointed members of Canada’s Senate can fleece the taxpayer with little consequence, I wonder why they do not adopt our local policies governing councillor expenses.
Personal telephone calls on taxpayer issued cell phones have to be reimbursed. Councillors have no tax paid pension or benefits or severance pay yet take all the verbal insults and very little praise for their efforts. Probably as it should be.
So to all you councillors in Niagara, I believe 124, thanks for your efforts on our behalf. And yes comparing the work you do and results or lack thereof, I truly believe you are not appreciated compared to those in Canada’s senate not satisfied with $130,000 per year plus expenses. This even if they do not show up for work.
Dollars earned in public life does not dictate quality of work and the recent headlines pointing at the members of the Senate prove this. I believe when discussing governance at the Region, councillors should discuss the whole package with the Senate compensation and then call for its dissolution.