Paid in full

Dear editor:
It would seem that Mayor Onichuk and Couns. Kabel, Gilson, and Wiedenhoeft need to be reminded of their place.
In the June 29/04 edition of the Daily Bulletin, Coun. Kabel stated: “We’re paid a salary to do an elected official’s job for the Town of Fort Frances. I consider myself an employee. . . . It’s not remuneration.”
The fact is the mayor and council are elected officials and it is wrong for them to consider themselves employees because they were elected, not hired.
To consider themselves employees would mean that they would be subject to all disciplinary procedures, performance appraisals, and/or discharge that employees face when they don’t perform their job properly.
Municipal councillors are elected for an established term and our only remedy for poor performance is to vote them out in the next election—we can’t fire them.
Employees receive salaries and benefits through the process of negotiations and the ratification of contracts. Who is the mayor and council negotiating with?
For Mayor Onichuk to state that, when asked by CAO Mark McCaig if an investigation would be fair, “I don’t think that’s necessary. I don’t think we want to review it. As opposed to having a long debate about it, we should just move forward and do a vote to have the benefits cost covered. . . .” is not only arrogant, but appalling.
How dare Mayor Onichuk have the audacity to ram this through! The citizens of Fort Frances have been subjected to increased property taxes, increased user fees, and the infamous “bag tags” because the town is experiencing financial difficulties.
The Municipal Act, 2001, c. 25, s282(1) states:
“282. (1) Subject to the Health Insurance Act, a municipality may provide . . . (c) hospital, medical, surgical, nursing or dental services or payment of those services for members of council. . . .”
The act states “may,” it does not state will or shall!
If the idea of remuneration and benefits has entered the minds of the mayor and council after putting forth their names for election, shame on them! In my opinion, they have been paid in full by being allowed to serve us!
Sincerely,
Joe Gray
Fort Frances, Ont.