"Whereas the COVID-19 pandemic continues to negatively impact economic realities for residents and businesses, now and into the foreseeable future;
And Whereas Durham Region Council wishes to support residents and businesses throughout this crisis by continuing to provide critical municipal programs and services to the community with minimal increases to service costs and property taxes;
Now therefore be it resolved that staff be directed to freeze Council members’ salary, travel allowance, and benefits for 2021 at the approved 2020 rates."
Although I am not on Region Council, I support this motion and hope it passes. It is called leading by example.
I made a similar motion at Oshawa Council last year that was defeated. Last week I submitted another Notice of Motion which was on yesterday's Oshawa Council’s regular monthly meeting Agenda. The Mayor referred it to next month's Council Meeting, November 23rd. It is a motion that actually goes further than the motion at Durham Region Council tomorrow. I am requesting that all City of Oshawa non-union salaries and wages be frozen for one year. This includes Council members.
I will need a seconder and hope one of my colleagues on Council seconds it. Considering the economic turmoil caused by the pandemic I believe the time is right. Many employment sectors do not receive annual increases and a one-year freeze is not a true hardship for those with job security when many businesses in the community have closed and people have lost their jobs, some permanently.
I am not the only one advocating for such a measure. See below the several municipalities who have or are in the process of agreeing to a pay freeze (Note that when Sault Ste. Marie had a salary freeze in 2017, it saved $227,000. Also consider the fact that Ontario MPPs have not had an increase in 11 years.)
The motion copied below will be voted on by Oshawa Council on Monday November 23, 2020. (But, as I said above, it will need a seconder). I have not asked anyone on Council. I did not want to be discouraged before putting this forward. There is time for them to consider it and not feel pressured. Given the past six months and the likelihood that COVID-19 may be with us into the 1st, 2nd or even 3rd Quarter of 2021, I believe it appropriate at this to approve this action.
“Whereas with this year’s world pandemic the 2021 City budget presents many operations and revenue challenges; Therefore the City 2021 budget process give serious consideration to placing a one year freeze on all City non-union salaries, wages and benefits.”