Thursday, November 25, 2010

Self Service or public service?

Although I think it fair to publish the salaries and expenses paid to First Nations leaders (SP Nov. 25/10) I don't know that it is fair to comment on them without knowing exactly what it is they do to earn the payments. If we respect their right to self-governance I think it best to leave them accountable to the people that elect them.

However, this article did being to mind a recent comment made to me by a city councillor, that being that councillors should make at least the same amount as MLAs. Councillors more than doubled their own salaries during the previous term, with little or no fanfare. What are we, the public, getting for this?

MLAs give up their jobs, or take leaves of absence from their jobs, when elected. Councillors that were gainfully employed prior to being elected, maintain their jobs and boost their incomes with their council remuneration. MLAs have larger numbers of constituents to serve compared to councillors. MLAs are required to be away from home (exempting of course the Regina MLAs) and be in the legislature when the government is sitting. They will sit both caucus and provincial committees. Councillors sit a couple of all member committees and each represent council on a few advisory committees. MLAs will spend a full day in the legislature and work into the evening if need be. Council's clock stops at 11:00 p.m. as witnessed last Monday night. I'll go no further as I think the point is made. Am I comparing apples to oranges?

The question this raises for me is: Where is the public service component? When candidates are running for elected office they know what the remuneration is prior to being elected but they all want to "serve." Yet when elected they all want to be paid more money. Yes I know everyone is over-worked and unpaid. And I know the argument that you get what you pay for and if we paid more we would be top quality people. But do we really?

If Councillors want more money, perhaps we should reduce their numbers, enlarge the wards and make it a full time job. That means you give up your real job, park your butt in an office at City Hall and be at the ready to serve the public.


  1. Public service is with out a doubt the noblist of endeavers, self service a little less so. Darren Hill is actively campaigning for Ashley Robertson in ward 5 for the upcoming byelection, why is that of any interest? If elected Ashley would be voting on the Bridge and many other current issues that she may or may not be up to date on. Again why would anyone care? Ashley works for Darren as a subordinate at Junior Achievement. JA board of directors should have something to think about as should all ward 5 constituents.

  2. It is absolutely appalling that the city has allowed one council member to actively campaign to have a candidate elected. Gee I wonder if they will be voting as a block or if each will have independent voices.

    If elected, Robertson should do the noble thing and forfeit her salary and position and just allow Hill's vote to count double.

    The worst part is that this young lady has no idea how much damage she is doing to her reputation long term by running as the Darren Hill puppet (not a shot at Hill, but anyone who so closely aligns themselves with any candidate is risking coming off as simply a pawn without a mind of their own). The one impression that Ashley has left with this writer from her campaign.....she is Hill's lackey.

    Good luck to all candidates, I fear this will be one of the few remaining civic votes before the the party system completely infiltrates civic politics. A sad day indeed.

    With regard to Councillor renumeration, you do get what you pay for. If Council realized the compensation was lacking changes should have been made that would go into effect after the NEXT election not immediately. Though that would go against Atch's plan to spend money with no regard for the consequences. Only good thing about Atch being elected is that it meant Lenore Swystum wasn't.

    Sorry for the rant.

  3. "MLAs give up their jobs, or take leaves of absence from their jobs, when elected."

    "MLAs have larger numbers of constituents to serve compared to councillors."

    Mistress, I do not agree that Councillors should increase their own salaries. That should be a decision of an independent review committee and implemented for the new council in 2012.

    I do not think that your two statements above are entirely accurate as there are Wards in Saskatoon and Regina that have more constituents than many MLA ridings and there are also many MLAs who keep employment or business ventures outside of their MLA duties

    I would like to echo the comments of previous posters from other blog entries. I do not think that you intended this blog to be a constant NDP or specific councillor bashing tool and as a result I will no longer participate in these activities.

    Elaine, thank you for your interest in all things political. Even though your party politics peeked through at times I appreciated your candor and interest in our city and province.

  4. It's Ainsley Robertson.

    Last time I checked there was nothing stating that a sitting Councillor can't campaign for someone else - Provincially sitting MLAs are the most active volunteers during a by-election.

    I'm more worried about the Sask Party/Conservatives heavy involvement on Donauer's campaign.

  5. "Last time I checked there was nothing stating that a sitting Councillor can't campaign for someone else - Provincially sitting MLAs are the most active volunteers during a by-election."

    Unfortunately, that's always been Hill's MO. He skirts the rules, but just because there is no specific rule on a certain matter does not make the perception of wrong-doing any less apparent.

    In addition, Hill goes over the line when he uses city hall resources to help his campaigns. This includes his use of the City of Saskatoon cell phone in Robertson's campaign.

    Also, provincial and federal representatives are always involved in campaigns at different levels. I have as much problem with the SK Party being incolved with Donauer's campaign (if that's true) than I would have with the provincial and federal NDP being involved in the campaigns of Charlie Clark or Pat Lorje. It's not a concern as the two levels are distinct.

    However, my own concern is also with Robertson's association with Hill. He's gaining quite the reputation out there, and I'd hate to see a young politician smeared with the same brush that rightly taints Hill.

  6. Mistress, the question should not be "Are councillors make enough to justify their amount of work?"

    Instead, the question should be "Why cannot councillors do work according to their level of pay?"

    City Council (as with other levels of government) has moved far beyond its mandate, and as such needs to continually find work to do to justify its own existence. A politician who doesn't promise and/or deliver some fancy new high-cost program to the city gets taken to the cleaners on polling day.

    How I dream of a world where our city councillors "work to rule", doing only enough to provide the basic services and community forums required by the citizens, instead of treading full-tilt into unnecessary facets of our private lives.

    They should get paid what they earn. They just should work less.

  7. Last time I checked neither Pat Lorje or Charlie Clark had direct involvement of the Provincial NDP in their campaigns. Just because your volunteers are NDPers doesn't mean your backed by the NDP. The same goes for someone with SP or Liberal friends/supporters.

    If a candidate can't call on the people they know to help them out without being labeled a party-dupe - who are they supposed to have help them?

  8. Charlie Clark knocked on my door during the last provincial election AND I saw him delivering flyers - it doesn't get more "direct" than that.

  9. "If a candidate can't call on the people they know to help them out without being labeled a party-dupe - who are they supposed to have help them? "

    This is only allowed if you are a Saskparty/CPC supporter. If anyone else does it, it's "wrong" or "inappropriate"

  10. "Councillors more than doubled their own salaries during the previous term, with little or no fanfare"

    Mistress - that statement is misleading. The increases to the mayor and councillor salaries the past four years was implemented by you and the rest of the 2003 - 2006 Council. You make it sound as if the last council and this new council (unfortunately the same as the last) are responsible for the pay salary increases over the last four years when in actual fact it was your council.

  11. Anon 701pm -

    So what?

    For some reason the majority on this blog like to single out Clark over and over. Clark is a well known supporter of the NDP. Yet lets look at the rest of Council:

    Lorje, Pringle are former NDP MLAs.
    Penner is a former Liberal MLA.
    Paulsen and Hill are current/former Federal Liberal candidates.
    Heidt campaigned openly for the Sask Party in 2007.
    Wyant was the buisness Manager for a SP MLA before becoming the MLA.

    The same type of connections can be made for many former challengers as well.

    I bet if you did a background check on their volunteers you might find a majority of one political stripe or another on their municipal campaign teams. However, that doesn't mean any of them are backed by their respective provincial parties. It also doesn't mean they have to vote a certain way on Council. Infact, I could probably list off countless times they have voted against what might be considered a Liberal, NDP, or Sask Party position.

    So give it a rest.

  12. Anon 7:23, the concern right now is that a young women is being manipulated and managed by one of the more questionable Councillors. Further, they have direct involvement in the professional lives.

    I don't know Robertson personally, and I choose to avoid Hill as much as possible (especially since watching his sleazy tactics in recent elections). I think that the one who needs to be concerned in all this is Ainsley Robertson. I am not sure she understands how closely she is hitching her wagon to Hill. Perception is everything in politics (ie. look how the SP has painted Link, or how the NDP painted Hermanson). Fairly or unfairly, many people I have talked with about this by-election have perceived Robertson as Hill's puppet or pet project. Hill has been more visible in her campaign than she has.

    I understand as a younger person she may be looking for guidance in campaigning (though, Hill would be the last person I would look to for ethical advice in this regard). I just don't think she is aware of connection that many outside her inner circle are perceiving. Not saying it is accurate, but it is the perception that is being given off.

    This will be almost comical when Darren looks for some return of the favour once she is elected (I have a feeling it's a two horse race with Robertson leading the charge). It will be interesting to see those two's voting patterns.

    As for Clark, I agree the constant pot shots are getting played. Although, I didn't realize he had direct connection to the NDP. Perhaps civic candidates should be required to disclose their political affiliations if they have any.

  13. I have heard that another civic candidate basically inherited a newly elected provincial politician's team and supplies for this campaign. How does everyone feel about that?


  15. I believe that comment was correcting a previous comment where someone had written "Ashley Robertson" and not pretending to be Ainsley.

  16. interesting that noone chooses to respond to Anon nov 26, 2010 @ 7:41. I wonder how much those glossy full color mailbox flyers and full size billboards cost? More than the allowed compaign spending limit? I wonder why a representative from one particular faith community runs a candidate in the same area in consecutive civic elections. Hmmm.

    No, lets use out next post to talk about another candidate's publicly aknowledged agenda instead and damn her with faint praise. "I come not to bury Ainsly, but to praise her...". Well done Mistress Brutus .

  17. A councillor is paid to serve his constituents. Our council has become more tainted with personal agendas and politics than serving those who pay their salaries. An exemplary councillor is one who serves his constituents regardless of the remuneration...The last one I can think of who did an exemplary job was Anita Langford in Ward 2...Get to work!


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