Burton makes surprise pitch for full-time mayor

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At a special Clearview Township council meeting convened to vote on compensation for the next term, Deputy Mayor Barry Burton tabled a surprise motion which would have declared the job of mayor full-time.

Burton, who is not seeking re- election, told the August 11 meeting that both he and the current mayor work long hours in jobs that come with much responsibility and personal liability, for compensation that works out to less than minimum wage.

Council was advised that the matter could not be dealt with as an amendment to the compensation motion as it actually involved changing the structure of council. Burton’s motion would have needed the support of a majority of councillors to suspend the rules of procedure and have it added to the agenda.

That support was not forthcoming. Councillor Connie Leishman, who will also be retiring at the end of the current term, spoke in support of Burton’s motion. Councillor Thom Paterson sees some merit in the argument that in order to attract top talent, compensation should be increased. However, he says most people seeking a seat on council are not just looking for a job, there is a large dose of civic responsibility and a desire to give back.

Mayor Doug Measures was flattered by the suggestion that his performance in the role is worthy of increased compensation but says he works long hours because he is keenly interested in the business of the township and has no expectation that it will be treated as a full-time job.

With the motion off the table, council also voted no to Burton’s amendment which would have increased raises for the mayor and deputy mayor above the consultant’s recommendation.

As a part of the budget approval package for 2022, council retained Marianne Love Consulting to conduct a compensation market review comparing data from 11 area municipalities chosen for similarities in size, geographic location and scope of services provided. The comparators are Penetanguishene, Tiny, Tay, Oro- Medonte, Midland, Wasaga Beach, Severn, Ramara, Essa, Springwater and the Blue Mountains.

A similar review in 2018 established a target of the 60th percentile for salaries for Clearview Township elected officials. That means Clearview salaries would be higher than in 60 per cent of municipalities in the comparator group.

The consultant’s recommendation, adopted by council calls for the mayor’s base pay to increase from $38,762 to $44,141 per year; deputy mayor base to increase from $29,496 to $30,909; and councillor pay to rise from $22,270 to $26,675. The next council will have five ward representatives down from the current seven so the overall impact on the 2023 budget will be an increase of $28,817.

Economic adjustments will be made to the base pay rates in each year of the upcoming term in line with the adjustments for non-union and management staff of the township. The rate for travel reimbursement will increase from $0.53 per kilometre to $0.61.

Council voted to approve the changes recommended in the consultant’s report. The increases will take effect following this fall’s municipal election with the next review slated for the final year of the next term.

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