Douglas W. Judson
Municipal Council and Board Remuneration for 2021
At last night's meeting of Council, the Treasurer presented a report outlining the compensation paid to members of Council and local boards and committees in 2021. Section 284 of the Municipal Act, 2001 (Act) requires that this report be published annually.
All members of Council receive a base salary of at least $14,719.38. From that baseline, members received the following additional amounts in 2021:
Mayor June Caul received additional base salary of $13,492.44, salary of $1,850.00 from the Police Services Board, and salary of $4,802.20 from the Fort Frances Power Corporation (FFPC) Board, for total remuneration of $34,862.02.
Deputy Mayor Andrew Hallikas received additional base salary of $1,839.24 and $3,378.96 in salary and travel costs from the Rainy River District Social Services Administration Board (DSSAB) for total remuneration of $19,937.58.
Councillor John McTaggart received salary of $1,850.00 from the Police Services board, for total remuneration of $16,889.38.
Councillor Wendy Brunetta received per diems of $1,120, for total remuneration of $15,839.38. Her stipend for service on the Northwestern Health Unit Board is not reported.
Councillor Michael Behan received per diems of $800.00, for total remuneration of $15,519.38.
Councillor Rick Wiedenhoeft received per diems of $400.00, for total remuneration of $15,119.38.
Councillor Douglas Judson received per diems of $400.00, for total remuneration of $15,119.38.
Police Services Board members Linda Hamilton and Gary Rogozinski also received salary of $1,850.00 each in 2021.
During our meeting last night, I made the following observations about this report:
First, it is my understanding that the Mayor has received funds from the municipality to cover various legal fees in 2021. If these fees were not covered by insurance, they should form part of this disclosure, as they constitute an expense paid to or on the member's behalf. This is required by the Act.
Second, I have concerns about the FFPC board compensation. The FFPC is a corporation of which all the shares are owned by the municipality. Like most corporations, it can set its own compensation structure for board directors. However, because the FFPC is owned by the municipality, it is accountable to the community through Council, which acts as the shareholder during its annual general meetings. At $4,800.00 per year for a single member of this board, the entire FFPC board costs about 25 to 30 percent as much as all of the rest of Council and the municipality's other boards and committees combined.
I see no reasonable basis for an FFPC board member to be remunerated more than a Police Services Board member or a DSSAB director. I encouraged Council to look at adopting a "say on pay"-type resolution at the next general meeting of the FFPC to require that its board compensation be subject to shareholder approval on an annual basis.
It does not strike me as good optics nor in the public interest to have a municipally-owned corporation with a board that receives compensation disproportionate to the others, particularly when that board has historically consisted of mostly former mayors and councillors. These directors are paid about one-third the salary of a councillor to attend a single meeting per month. Respectfully, this salary needs to be explained or squared with the compensation structure of the municipality's other decision-making bodies.