Enough With Consultants – This Is the Way to Go to Decide Council Salary by Jamie Gilcig

jg2CORNWALL Ontario – What should we pay our mayor and council in Cornwall?  Clearly their salaries are low and some might say you get what you pay for.

There are some, like Bernadette Clement, that spend mightily to get elected and clearly are using the role of Councilor as a stepping stone for either higher elected office or an appointment of some sort.  Ms Clement was alleged to have been offered a judgeship in Sudbury; but refused because it would take her away from her family in Montreal and loved one in Cornwall.

Elaine MacDonald also has used Council as a launch pad attempt for higher office and attempted to influence city spending and support towards the charities she works for including the passing of a motion and bylaw impacting used clothes collecting boxes in the city.

Mark A MacDonald recently put out a note with some other council candidates stating that they don’t want a raise.

Would Councilor Carr be in charge of Heart of the City; of which he’s salaried, if he wasn’t on council and in usually at the head of the budget committee in the past?

How many provincial boards is mayor Kilger on?    Currently one candidates, Brock Frost, wants to be on council so badly that he’s stated he wouldn’t accept his salary from council if elected.

The City recently spent tax dollars simply to have a consultant state they should all get huge raises.

I think it’s insult to injury.   Salaries should always be tied to merit.    Council is elected by the people and the rate payers should have a say in those salaries.   What better time than election time to do so?

I think that a sitting council in the first quarter of its fourth year should decide what the next council’s options should be; to ask for a raise, or remain the status quo.  Enough with this yearly endless waste of time and money over mealy attempts to gain a raise.

It should be a separate ballot question which in many ways would be an extra incentive for voters to get off their butts and votes.   It would be a simple question.

What do you support in changing the income of council and the mayor in the next term?

A) What council asks for as a raise via percentage.

B)  No Change

C) Cutting salary by the % asked for by council as a raise.

This also would give council an actual incentive to perform during the term.   Hide from the public and duck big issues?   Raise taxes an average of 2% per year?   Don’t fix enough roads and infrastructure?   Don’t deal with flooding?   Pay for two HR Managers?  Executive leave?   Whistle blower scandals?  Improper Closed Door meetings?  Chem tanks next to ball diamonds?

The shotgun factor of rate payers being able to cut salary by the percentage of raise asked keeps our elected officials honest as well.

The budget for Cornwall is over $150 million dollars per year.  A lot of expensive decisions get made by council and the mayor;  corporate welfare, our poor harbour  and waterfront, fluoride in our water, goose poop.

Spending less than $200K is probably not the best ratio; but the answer should never come from a consultant.  It should come from the people that pay the bill, and that’s the taxpayer.

After all if we’re going to run to consultants all the time why do we need to elect council?

What do you think dear CFN viewers?  You can post your non Standard Freeholder style comments, even though the city pumps them full of ad dollars in spite of their ridiculous ad policy created purely to attack CFN.

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  1. Great article. I’m sure there are situations that merit the use of a consultant to provide details analysis; however, it is far overused. And seems almost like a crutch, one geared towards laying responsibility on a third party rather than taking responsibility and making the tough decisions themselves.

  2. Hiring a consultant gives council to lay blame on someone else when they approve the raises. Once again passing the buck when they should be accepting responsibility.

  3. Author

    You can tell a consultant what result you want and they are paid to substantiate the result. It’s kinda stinky.

  4. Thus passing the buck again. When is this council going to start accepting responsibility for its actions?

  5. Jamie!
    You got it right on this one, MONEY TALKS and if the consultants don’t come through as requested they won’t be considered next time for future work.
    Sad but true.

  6. Author

    Well Mr. Beattie I’m glad I have this one right even if you’d give Mr. O’Shaughnessy your vote over myself 🙂

  7. i say pay them commission only on successful finalization of obligations and no gratuities

  8. Too much money wasted the past few years by council with consultants and law issues. It’s too bad for the city. It’s the ‘regular’ citizens who suffer for council misguided decisions.

  9. John Rathwell….good luck with that one.

    Carol E..agreed. Time to get this city back on track.

  10. John Rathwell….good luck with that one.

    Carol E..agareed. Time to get this city back on track.

  11. Ten or eleven councellors for such a tiny town and an absentee mayor who does nothing but cause trouble. Cornwall is in deep trouble without a doubt. Roads, sewers and water are mighty important and everything else is secondary. Businesses leave because of the very high taxes and when people are unemployed there is no way that they can buy goods. Many people are leaving Cornwall for other places that are more sane to live in. Bare Ass is earning top dollar in Cornwall while others are unemployed. The only ones employed are teachers raking in huge salaries and nurses and a few doctors who might live there while other commute from Ottawa and Montreal. Nothing remains sane in Cornwall – the vast majority have left. Very few people remain in town who are capable of being counsellor but who in their right frame of mind wants to work with Bare Ass and company.

  12. {MODERATED} If you can’t offer constructive ideas on how to improve Cornwall, besides replacing city counil, which we know must be done, please refrain from knocking the city we’ve chosen to call our home.

  13. Jamie!
    I do believe that you were aware that I would be supporting Leslie O’Shaughnessy, if he were to run for the Mayor’s Position. With all due respect to you Jamie, if it is really the main point to defeat Mayor Kilger then I respectfully suggest that Leslie O’shaughnessy has the best chance of taking him out. Most certainly Jamie you and CFN
    could be of great help in making that happen.
    Best of luck to you and CFN.

  14. ^ I second Hugger1. I thought by moving to Kingston I could “excape” the Cornwall bubble, but then I realized it isn’t a localized issue. It’s happening everywhere. My stance is as citizens we need to demand less from government and take care of ourselves.

  15. Thanks for the comment Jason. Some people feel that what’s happening in Cornwall is only happening here. Sorry, nope. Good politicians and cities to live in without problems are hard to find.

  16. What’s needed in Cornwall is to cut the council down to eight councilors. As well, have wards created and have four ward specific councilors elected. The other 4 councilors would be elected at large. If they did that they could rationalize their proposed raise in pay. And when a problem arose in one part of the city you’d have a ward specific councilor to deal with. Instead of the current system of ten councilors who seem to like playing pass the buck.

  17. Hugger do you know of one thing to help the bleeding in Cornwall and that is to stop voting for so many counsellors. Cornwall has too many counsellors and there should be not more than 5 to 7 counsellors at tops. The problems is that people go in to get paid and don’t do a good job for the town and that is the truth. You can say Kingston, Ottawa, Toronto, etc. and the result is the same. You have to cut and you don’t cut on the important things like roads, sewers and water and the like but you cut on salaries. Cops make top dollar and they along with the teachers are paid too much money and you all know how I feel about that. The fat has to be trimmed. Besides mayor and counsel it is going to take the citizens of Cornwall to get interested in what goes on at City Hall and no closed door meetings. What goes on behind closed doors spells trouble. Be honest and upfront with the people and if you want the people’s trust do that. Stop being like the corrupted system of Ottawa’s feds. Here in Canada we are in a very big mess of trouble just like everywhere else. Cuts have to be made and they would be painful but there is no other alternative.

  18. I noted changes needed in my previous comments. Changes are needed. But policing and teaching can’t be cut. They have very good and secure contracts. If you try to cut it would end up in the courts, more taxpayers money down the drain. As for closed door meetings I agree. But if you look at the rules for closed door meetings they could have them to purchase light bulbs due to the way the rules are worded.

  19. I have agreed with the ward system all along and I sounded like a broken record on that topic. Eleven counsellors is ridiculous for such a tiny town. Hugger you know about the Hunt Club area and one day my son drove my daughter and I to a bank down there since ours is closed on Saturdays. While going by there was a big sign for selling houses “starting at $500K) and I was in such shock that I couldn’t stop coughing with the shock. Recently we went to a translator’s townhouse in that area but you go on Johnson Road and you go as far as you can easterly and you see residential street and no bus. If you need a bus you have to walk very far to get to one. The house had no window at the front only a small thing on the side and an upstairs and a long hallway inside and costs a ton of money. I couldn’t live like that at all. Ottawa is very expensive to live including the food, etc. If Bare Ass has his way Cornwall would become like that and worse where people couldn’t afford to live.

  20. @ Jason. I’m surprised that you skipped by Brockville and moved to Kingston. Kingston is a fairly progressive place with its university and colleges and such, whereas Brockville is a seriously conservative little town where your values prevail.

  21. @Hugger I think a ward system would be great. They have that here in Kingston. I like the idea of a councillor being in charge of a certain area, it makes things easier when one wants to voice concerns. A reduction in council size coupled with a ward system would work. It may require a slight pay raise to ensure those with talent don’t shy away as it would require a more full time work load. The mayor’s seat can be at large obviously.

    @Furtz Kingston wants to believe it’s progressive but it oozes with conservative notes. I hear a lot of people talk about getting back to basics here and leaving the whole ” let’s become Canada’s most sustainable city” credo on the side.

  22. Author

    I have advocated for a Ward system since CFN started. It’s the only way to get some things done.

  23. What is also important are good competent people in the Ward system which just now you call councellors. What has come forward so far is a mighty sorry site. People who are in business should come and put themselves in for election and not some teeny bopper who knows nothing at all and has no experience of life. This is a joke is to have people so young and know nothing about budgets, about running a business, etc. Yes running a town is like running a business and if you are not really on the ball of things then you can run it into the ground like what McGuilty #1 and 2 did to Ontario. Remember young Korey Kennedy and he was a well educated young man but lacked experience and know how but one thing he did do was a lot of entertainment for the rest of us. Don’t make the same mistake twice.

  24. So business owners should become politicians and ignore their businesses? They can do one or the other, not both. And young people should not run for council? Sorry, I disagree. Young people have ideas, desire and drive. Yes, they don’t have experience. But they will learn what / how to be a politician.

  25. Author

    Hugger I honestly think that a good councilor should spend between 15-25 hours per week on the job. That’s pretty demanding. That being said we need more people involved in contributing to the leadership of our city.


    We can and need to do better.

  26. I agree. So, it is unrealistic to expect a business owner to abandon his business to be a city councilor. But a lot of people do not want to get involved in politics. Because being a politician you`re damned if you do, damned if you don`t.

  27. There are people who can run a business and spend a certain amount of time on council and this fellow Perkins in town is a business person and there are others as well but they have to have a change of mind and not the kind of person that they are living in somewhere of 100 or more years ago. People have to know business and how to run one and it is extremely important. A young person would be dumbfounded on the job and would want all kinds of things that are unaffordable. My own daughter who is the same age as Korey Kennedy (they went to La Citadelle together) laughed when Korey was on council and said then that Korey was way too young for the job. That was coming from a young person at the time and she even said that he would not do well and she was right indeed. Anybody (even myself) can offer suggestions but they would not be the right ones for Cornwall. A person has to take into consideration many things and see what is around them. When people are unemployed, low incomes, or on pensions they cannot keep up with the high demand of taxes, utilities, etc. Be reasonable.

  28. And hang the ones who don’t lower taxes.

  29. I will jump in here with more things as we go along but I will continue saying that the taxes need to be held down somewhat. If you build all kinds of things taxes sure do rise. When we came to Ottawa 40 years ago it was a nice place to live – yes very expensive but in no way was it as expensive as it is today. The city grew very big and full of cars and gangs that we never saw before and shootings – this never happened. People from every corner of the world are here. Cornwall has to be mighty careful. Bring businesses in but be wise as serpents know what you bring in and what kind of a business. Good housing is needed and it doesn’t need to be McMansions or anything like that. Bungalows and side and back splits and things of that nature. Good care in housing even for apartments and townhouses. People need to change drastically their ways of living and take pride in their homes. It isn’t hard for people to think about cleanliness. People themselves have to change and come out with good ideas and we need councellors (ward system) where people are good in business and come out and become part of good changes.

  30. I agree taxes have to be cut or at the very least frozen.

    I think is unrealistic to expect a small business owner to put in a full weeks work at his / her business and then give 15 – 25 hrs per week as a councilor. Now people with business experience that’s a different matter. I think a good mix of experienced business people and younger (I don’t mean in their early 20’s) people who can learn AND contribute.

    Housing is essential. But I don’t think municipal governments can afford to build any new units without assistance (read grants) from senior levels of government.

  31. Hugger I don’t expect a business owner to spend 25 hours a week in council unless he had that kind of time or a person with business experience is essential. Housing is greatly needed in Cornwall and that is the truth. We owned and we rented down there and we know in what condition units are in and the hell that it is to live with other people. Yes it takes big money indeed and I sure don’t deny that at all but it is a necessity to put in a certain amount of units. There are many apartments and homes that are really only fit for demolition. You have to really go around in places to see the conditions that would shock you.

  32. My wife has a few friends who rents from absentee landlords. The renters try to keep up the property. But with absentee landlords they do little or no basic maintenance. Cities need to lean on these landlords to maintain their properties up to the basic minimum standards.

  33. Hugger hold on to your seat over what I am going to say to you – I AGREE FULLY WITH YOUR LAST COMMENT ABOUT ABSENTEE LANDLORDS and I am sitting here laughing saying to myself is Hugger ok after me agreeing for once maybe twice who knows. We had our share of absentee landlords and it is a hell. We have a super on duty here and Friday my toilet overflowed on the floor and I had the super up for repair. I had to go to meet my daughter and thought that I would be late and my husband stayed behind to make sure that everything was ok. We couldn’t be better with what we have. We dealt with absentee landlords and managers that did what they wanted and the owner never knew what was really going on on his property. We went through hell renting in Cornwall.

  34. Jamie,

    It is always easy to talk the talk for your own gain but to walk the walk is apparently quite another thing. On January 5th. I sent an email requesting direction and did not to receive any response. I recently made the same request to Mr. Regimbald of Gowlings LPP the firm who had arrange a mediation last year and he did respond. A simple question that had to be answered at the tax payer expense.

    The taxpayers did give it a great effort voting for change but as much as things change they remain the same.

    Take Care,

    Diane Shay

  35. Diane….as the old saying (Alphonse Karr / George Bernard Shaw) goes “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

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