One of the issues important to potential candidates seeking election as a councillor in Penticton is how much time does it take to do the job.
It is now official: At the last candidate orientation meeting it was confirmed by city staff that councillor is a part-time job.
Expectations are that the job takes about 30 hours a month: Five hours weekly twice a month; 10 hours weekly twice a month for attendance during council meetings.
Mayor and council receive an honorarium; not a salary. Its purpose is to replace their regular private income lost due to attending to city business. Subject to taxation; it is called an honorarium for that reason.
Former mayors worked part-time. Mayor David Perry spent 50 per cent of his time on mayoral duties. While councillor he held a full-time teaching position.
Mayor Mike Pearce ran a law practice while serving as councillor; mayor and unofficial legal advisor. Any current mayor or councillor claiming they have a full-time position must be incredibly disorganized.
When elected last term: Penticton council could have said “No” to medical and dental benefits. Instead they discussed three payment options: employer 25/75 council; employer 50/50 council; employer 100/0 council.
Council opted for the 50/50 by a vote of 4-2.
A fourth option; not considered would have been for council to pay 100 per cent of the premiums. Even with their contribution at 100 per cent I suspect it would have been a steal of a deal for a gold-plated government style medical and dental plan.
Anyone running for council today needs to examine their motives for running. Are you running to serve or do you need a job?
Anyone running for public office in Penticton this election should be willing to confirm that they will seek:
* No pension plans
* No medical and dental benefits: Oliver council turned down medical benefits. The mayor and one councillor pay for it 100 per cent themselves. The opportunity is provided to purchase the benefit package. In Oliver all it costs taxpayers is the price of a .85 cent stamp.
Apparently severance for outgoing council is also likely to become an issue in the future. This should also be declined.
The annual financial report for 2017 will be released shortly. This report will show the annual salary of the mayor and council.