Council is taking a giant risk in trying to revert to the General Vote, a system that no Local Government expert would ever acknowledge as being the more democratic, accountable, representative, or indeed close to the people, which should be the prime characteristic of local government.
The public then might ask the question, if no knowledgeable person would ever suggest reverting from ward elections to the general vote, why would politicians risk their integrity in making this move to a form of municipal elections that is virtually unused in Canada, a form of local government that is acknowledged by all experts as being inferior?
The answer is the “big bucks” politicians are being paid these days and the recently introduced four year term.
Under the general vote, politicians cannot be defeated in elections and so the system insures their continued re-election until their death or resignation. This was the history of the general vote in Oshawa prior to the introduction of ward voting in 1985.
With the 4 year term, and city council member's REGIONAL COUNCIL pay, their LOCAL COUNCIL pay, auto allowance from both the CITY and the REGION, expense allowance from the CITY and the REGION, benefits packages, pension, severance pay from the CITY and REGION upon their defeat, CITY and REGION charge cards, CITY and REGION office expense budgets, and other perks including their blackberrys, entertainment expense, use of for city box at GM Place including free inside parking, travel costs to international conferences or to “represent” CITY or REGION at destinations of their choosing, etc. approaching half a million dollars, it is little wonder that the politicians want to move to a system that insures them a lifetime seat.
Oh Yeah!....almost forgot hidden HONORARIUMS for non-jobs like city or regional committee chairmanships, vice-chairmanships, etc. and being city/regional rep on some organizations like CLOCA, etc. because it's a huge responsibility to chair a meeting from a staff prepared agenda.
Remember, all of the salaries are 1/3 tax free and the expense allowances and honorariums are non-taxable and not public so that politicians neither pay taxes nor are accountable to the public for all of these “extras” that "disguise" and "balloon" the huge monetary rewards they are reaping.
Big bucks are involved. Big bucks indeed! Big, big bucks! Big bucks are involved and they keep double/triple/quadruple dipping into the taxpayer pot…they’re like pigs fattening up at the feed trough!
Since no reasonable explanation has ever been offered why the question was brought up in council to be placed as a referendum question in the last election and there was not a whimper of expressed satisfaction from voters to want a change, we can only assume that the whole question was self-serving for the politicians IN GUARANTEEING THEIR CONTINUED FEEDING AT THE PUBLIC TROUGH.
The "huge financial rewards" provide politicians with big motivation in serving themselves first rather than providing good democratic government for this city.
With the 4 year term, and salaries, benefits, expense allowances, and honorariums approaching half a million dollars, it is little wonder that the politicians would risk their integrity by wanting to change to a system that insures them a lifetime seat.
There’s no “nickel and dime-ing” the public…rather it’s $1000 here, $1500 there, and $2000 there…all hard to trace and pin down…and understandably the politicians are not commenting on all of these “extras” that take their salaries and tax free allowances to the moon. Even their blackberries don’t sound like much…but at $150 per month, that’s $1800 of tax money for each of the 11 members of council yearly…it all adds up to the $500,000 of financial benefit councillor’s will receive over their four year term…if they don’t vote themselves more money and benefits!
So Oshawa voters would have to ask themselves again, why would Oshawa politicians want to move to a system that is virtually unused in the country. The answer…political greed! The huge financial benefits are pushing politicians to serve themselves…rather than the people who elected them.
There is still time to stop this lunacy of council if enough people write to the mayor and council demanding the retention of the Ward System, the system that serves the people and not the politicians.
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