Council discusses social networking compensation

By Karen Fallon

Registration fees and the cost of tickets for various functions were highlighted in a report by Carol Bendo, human resources, at the June 13 meeting.

The report outlined amendments to the council compensation policy.

However, noted CAO Pam Malott, no actual changes had been made to the policy it just provided clarification following a number of questions which had been voiced by new councillors regarding such expenditures.

“This is simply an improvement to the language to be helpful and contain more detail,” said Malott.

The town has a Council Compensation Committee which is said to decide the amount of compensation council receives for various things.

According to Bendo’s report, there are many invitations that Council members receive with regard to meetings or networking events which are important informational or networking opportunities.

Many of these meetings are optional for Council to attend, noted Bendo.

An example of such meetings would include: committee meetings, the ERCA general meeting, Community Living Annual Breakfast, WEEDC stakeholder meetings.

Currently there is a $7,000 allowance for social/networking events in the 2011 budget under the Council receptions account, which is not part of a $1,000 limit for conferences and conventions.

Any social networking event has to be booked and paid for by an individual council member for which they are later reimbursed upon the issuance of an associated receipt. Only when a table is to be purchased for council at a charity event, must the approval be sought during a council meeting.

“There is no requirement of council to ask for permission of other council members to actually attend a social event it is all part of the council compensation policy,” said Malott.

However, it is noted that council is not eligible for the per diem daily rate, or part-day rates for social or networking functions.

According to the CCC it is customary for the Mayor’s expenses to be higher than other members of council due to the number of invitations they receive.

The budget has always been there for social functions, says Malott, who noted that the fund has never been broken down between council members.

“It has never been abused in the past,” said Malott, “The amount of $7,000 is not necessarily spent within the annual time frame, it just appears as a line item in the budget.

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