Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

This Little Piggie Got Roast Beef

Or rather lamb chops if they are Part-Time Members of Windsor City Council.

New CUPE hires get none.

As the Mayor reminds us. He is the only full-time Member of Council.

I do not understand the first paragraph in the Star story about what happened at Council the other night.
  • Bid to eliminate post-retirement benefits for city politicians falls flat

    Mayor Eddie Francis’s bid Monday to do away with post-retirement benefits for politicians drew an angry response from union leaders representing striking city workers.”

That never happened as far as I remember.

Neither did this:

  • "Francis sought a motion to get rid of post-retirement benefits for elected officials.”

Here is the shocker though. If Eddie cannot get his own Councillors to give up their post retirement benefits, and they refuse to do so after a public vote, how can he dare have the nerve to ask workers to do so!

Here is what really happened as far as I know. When Eddie was a Councillor he voted in favour of the following Resolution. It’s pretty generous don’t you think:

  • CR617/2003

    Whereas the Mayor and members of Council have not had a salary increase since 1991; and,

    Whereas the savings to the City of Windsor has been approximately $440,000 representing the Consumer Price Index for cost of living for the years 1991 to 2003, with an acknowledgement of the period 1993 to 1996 being “Social Contract” years whereby legislation prohibited cost of living adjustments; and

    Whereas the role of the Committee to Review Council Compensation and Benefits (“The Blue Ribbon Committee”) is to review salary, benefits and the matter of assistance to City Council and not to judge performance; and,

    Whereas the municipal electorate serves as the judge of job performance for municipal councils,

    THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the remuneration paid to the Mayor and Members of Council BE ADJUSTED as follows:

    1. i) effective January 1, 2004, the base salary for members of Council is to be $28,234 representing the current base salary plus 50% of the cost of living indices not previously applied for the years 1991 to 2003 (less Social Contract years); and the base salary for the Mayor to be $85,275 representing the current base salary plus 75% of the cost of living indices not previously applied for the years 1991 to 2003 (less Social Contract years); with no further cost of living increase to be considered until 2005;

    2. That the one-third tax free remuneration paid to the Mayor and Members of Council BE RETAINED for the term of Council commencing December 1, 2003.

    3. That the financial policies enacted by the Corporation governing municipal employees including, but not limited to, travel and business expense, automobile allowances, as amended from time to time, continue to apply to the Mayor and Members of Council.

    4. That provision for healthcare benefits available to City staff BE MAINTAINED for members of Council as follows:

    Health Benefits – Green Shield – present provider
    Extended Health
    Out of Province
    Nursing Home

    5. That the provision for 100% retirement medical benefits BE MADE AVAILABLE to the Mayor and Members of Council in accordance with the City’s existing criteria for staff retiree benefits, provided that the member of Council has served a minimum of four (4) terms; and further that where a Council Member has served a minimum of four (4) terms in office but does not meet the required retiree eligibility for retiree benefits, that member be afforded the opportunity to purchase the retiree medical benefits at one half of the prevailing rates as may be adjusted from time to time

Take a look at paragraph 5 above. All that happened last night was that the amount of “one half of the prevailing rates” would have been changed to 100% of the prevailing rates.

Post retirement benefits would not disappear for Councillors. All that would happen would be that in one case they have to pay for them at the full rate rather than at 50%. Everything else remained the same.

Sure, sure, sure, that they would have to pay more but they are not losing the generous benefits that a Group Plan would provide or something that an individual would have to buy in the marketplace if there even was such a plan available. If it was, it would not be at a comparable cost that is for sure.

But it is more than that. A Councillor who leaves office before retirement age is entitled to keep the benefit. Unless the City plan differs from most others, an employee who leaves is NOT entitled to do so

  • "When an employee retires with an unreduced pension in accordance with the OMERS pension requirements..."

Take a look at the generous benefits a Councillor gets in Sections 2, 3 and 4 when elected to office. It looks like they get the benefit immediately. Not a bad deal.

Of course, we saw another attack on Windsor Democracy because the Mayor is afraid to let citizens appear at Council to speak. It appears a number of Councillors are afraid too. I guess they really do not want to know what people think.

The Procedural By-law rules were waived again and a Motion was introduced by surprise at the end of the Meeting by the Mayor.

The Mayor claimed:

  • “Francis later told reporters the idea to seek a repeal of the post-retirement benefits for elected officials, approved in a council bylaw in 2003, came to him earlier that day.”

Gee, I thought it was because a Councillor raised a similar concept first in an email that was circulated to all Members of Council earlier.

Eddie is so forgetful. He only voted for those benefits a few years ago and did not think that it might offend the CUPE members during a strike.

Councillor Hatfield this time around at least asked that people in attendance at Council be allowed to speak on what the Mayor proposed. However, the Motion to defer was defeated. Accordingly, Windsorites lost the chance again to appear in front of Council.

Eddie’s Motion was lost so that Councillors are still in the same position as before. In other words, nothing changed.

It was nothing but a cheap grandstanding trick that failed again. It has generated nothing but hostility. It achieved nothing more than helping to doom Eddie’s version of “negotiations.”

I noticed one thing in the story though that encouraged me:

  • "Francis added that he would never be drawing such benefits in any event."
Does this mean that Eddie is not running for Mayor again? Or does it mean he is merely not going to pay the cost for the PRBs?