Saturday, April 11, 2009

Why not slice number of city councillors in half?

Why not slice number of city councillors in half?

RE: Who's looking out for the taxpayer

Mr. Philp's article and proposal of having an auditor-general is a very interesting one. In these difficult times, both private and public sectors have had hiring freezes and downsizing. While we hear of endless studies regarding committees and proposals, the city should definitely study the justification of having two councillors per ward in a city the size of Brantford. There are endless examples of larger cities that have a single councillor responsible for larger wards and a greater number of residents.

A single councillor per ward, with the mayor would equal six votes on council; in order to break a tie, the candidate with the most votes that did not get elected could be installed as an at-large member. An increase in responsibilities, pay and a part-time staffer would attract and keep the good and popular councillors and attract a new type of candidate and instil a greater sense of commitment to one's ward.

In the last five years, two ward-mates thought so little of their commitment to council that they ran (unsuccessfully) for higher office after being elected with a mandate in Ward 3. Another interesting note is the fact that in the 2006 election, the three councillors who received the most votes in the city beat their current ward-mates by an average of 1,316 votes.

Brantford residents would no longer have to call two councillors for services or concerns and city workers would no longer have to deal with two sets of phone calls or e-mails for a single problem. This would produce a more efficient council with shorter meetings, less speeches and save trees due to the decrease in paperwork.

It would also save taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars in the long run. Like Mr. Philp, I am not optimistic of a city council taking this seriously, but would be interested in the results of a poll or study of popular opinion on this proposal.

Jorge Gomez Brantford

An interesting assessment of improving the effectiveness of our cities spending habits. I agree with the need and am a proponent of the auditor general function as suggested by Tim Philips. The suggestion that the elected members or councillors be reduced in the name of effeciency by Mr. Gomez needs reviewing and is counter intuitive to the taxpayers interest.

The councillors are our public watchdogs, and attempt to the best of their ability and time resources to ensure that the non-elected and highly paid administrators and staff spend our money wisely and according to agreed to plans. They are our oversight group and can be removed by public vote if they are not effective. If we removed just one of the 100K club administators , we could increase this oversight group by a factor of 5, and increase the
potential public accountability factor . More eyes on the tax spending ball ,not less public eyes, seems to make sense. Pr

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