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Letter: Red Deer city council should be considered full time job

The Mayor makes about $132,000 plus expenses and it is considered a full time job and our city councillors make only about $69,000 plus expenses and they are considered part timers. Some hold other full time jobs as employees or business owners and some are retired with numerous pensions.

The $69,000 alone still means $5,750 per month, or $1,327 per week and if considered full time at 40 hours per week means $33.17 per hour. Don’t forget they get expenses for phones, mileage, travel etc, plus free meals at events so it is lucrative for a part time job.

Seriously how many part time jobs get you that much per year? Very few.

So, let us classify city council as full time, and expect full time effort. They would have more time to dedicate their time to city affairs, perhaps be more demanding of staff and administration’s reports and recommendations. Being the first priority for councillors would make for a more knowledgeable council, would you not agree? They would be able offer more input into council agendas and issues.

There are other issues to ponder about our city council. Should we bring in a ward system, perhaps four wards with two councillors in each ward? The citizens would know more about their candidates as there would not be 29 candidates to choose from. The elected councillors would be more accountable to their constituents, rather than just having a shallow support base spread throughout the city.

Another item to consider is term limits. If a politician cannot follow through his promises in six years, what makes you think he or she will do it 26 years? Incumbents enjoy the name recognition, but their support usually decreases after two terms. Yet it is still hard to unseat an incumbent who enjoys the perks and pay of a lucrative part time job, no matter what they say.

The next election is 10 months away, we should think about growth and adapting to a new age. Maybe it is time to look at changes as the city has only grown by 195 residents since 2015. Perhaps a new way to run the city is in order?

I think it is time to consider and explore all options. Don’t you? Just asking.

Garfield Marks, Red Deer

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