Midland staff will study wages for next council

·2 min read

A decision made by this council could affect who decides to run for office next time around.

At its recent meeting, Midland council members asked staff to look into council remuneration to be set for those elected to municipal office in 2022. This move was made after those around the virtual table struck down a staff recommendation to hire a third-party consultant, instead handing over the matter to staff.

"I get it that council gets wage increases every four years," said Coun. Bill Gordon. "I have no problem with that. My issue is why do we need to spend the dough on third-party consultants? We could accomplish over a couple coffees and emails with other like-sized municipalities or talk to AMO (Association of Municipalities of Ontario)."

He said that one of the common laments from public is the town's propensity to dump money into consultations.

"I would trust our staff to do a good job and make a comparison and save the money," said Gordon. "Assuming staff has the capacity to do the research between now and whenever this comes about. That's my only issue with this: to spend on it externally than do it in-house."

Coun. Cher Cunningham agreed it was a good idea for more than that reason.

"I think it's a good idea if the incoming council would like to know before running what they would be paid," she said. "It would be appropriate to entice more people to run for election."

Her peer Coun. Beth Prost also backed the proposal to hand over the task to staff.

"I would like to see this done without spending a tonne of money," she said. "I don't think it's something we need to farm out. It's some money we can keep in town."

In this case, CAO David Denault said 'third-party' doesn't necessarily mean a consultant.

"I think we would like evidence that council feels is relevant and residents feel is legitimate," he said. "The direction is to drive this cost effectively and that's exactly what we will do."

Staff will come back to council with a comprehensive report at a later meeting.

Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com