During 2003, town council voted for a raise in salary while dropping the benefit package, which put their gross salary on a par, more or less, with other communities in Northwestern Ontario.
It now appears some councillors want it both ways. They want both the increase and the benefit package.
The treasurer reports that roughly $6,000 is required to pay mandatory benefits. These are being paid on a regular basis. So why did council feel it necessary to budget $15,000 knowing that, by prior agreement, $9,000 would not be needed?
We also must keep in mind that the mayor and some councillors sit on boards for which they receive an honorarium. For example, Mayor Onichuk sits on at least three of these boards and Coun. Neil Kabel sits on two.
All persons who ran for office were aware of the remuneration they would receive when they put their name up for nomination for the privilege of serving the people of the Town of Fort Frances, and that they would be able to purchase—at their own expense—a package of benefits equal to those enjoyed by full-time town employees.
Elected officials are not employees. They are elected to direct the affairs of the community in the best interest of its citizens, most of whom do not enjoy the luxury of buying into a benefit plan such as this, but are being called on to subsidize it by increases in user fees and taxes.
Maybe it is time some members of this council quit whining about the past and got on with the job.
It now appears that, far from accepting that responsibility, some are interested only in their personal welfare. They have a choice to pay for the benefits. Each should make his, or her, own choice and get on with what we expect of them.
If they are not capable of making such a personal choice, maybe we elected some of the wrong people.
Fort Frances, Ont.