| Sep 25, 2008

Sept 25/08 - County Council

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Feature Article - September 25, 2008 Frontenac County Council By Jeff Green

At their September meeting, Frontenac County Council dealt with a few lingering issues, and refused to deal with another.

A proposal to increase the salary grid for three senior positions, which has been on the table since June, was put to rest. The three positions are: Director of Emergency Services (land ambulance), Administrator of Fairmount Home, and Treasurer.

The average pay grid for the three positions in Frontenac County is $86,244 - $102,431, which is less than the average range in neighbouring counties for the equivalent positions ($92,789 - $109,179).

According to the County Human Resources Specialist this could pose a problem of retention and recruitment for these important positions and he recommended that salaries be raised by 10%, retroactive to the beginning of 2008.

South Frontenac Mayor Gary Davison said, “I don’t like the idea of a 10% raise in one year. Let's make it 5% this year and 5% next year.”

North Frontenac Mayor Ron Maguire reiterated a point he made earlier this year, that he did not want to get “into a bidding war and turn it into something like NHL salaries where they go up and up until they are out of sight.”

Davison's proposal was adopted in a 3-1 vote.

County governance

The mayors considered the details of a request for proposal for a consultant to look at the composition of county council.

Mayor Maguire from North Frontenac wanted the document to include references to the differences between the north and south ends of the county, and Central Frontenac Mayor Janet Gutowski said, “I do have a problem with spending money and staff time for a report that in the end will go nowhere without the poltical will to change things.”

With the assurance that by agreeing at this point the mayors are not committed to going through with the consultation, they agreed to release the request for proposal.

Broadband grant application – Council agreed to make an application for provincial funding aimed at filling any gaps in broadband service in Central and South Frontenac and the Frontenac Islands. The county intends to put forward a grant proposal for North Frontenac, which is severely lacking in broadband coverage, in February of 2009.

Bratina leaving – Dianna Bratina, the County Manager for Economic Development, leaves next week for Sault Ste. Marie, where she is taking a job with the federal government. Bratina has been with the county for three years. Under her the county has undertaken a series of background studies which will be of use to her successor. She leaves behind a detailed three-year economic development plan.

South Frontenac Chief Administrative Officer Gord Burns thanked her for her efforts on behalf of the chief administrators of the four townships. He made specific mention of her work in developing a north south trail in the county over the past year.

Council refuses to consider motion from Central Frontenac – A resolution from Central Frontenac Township requesting that the County of Frontenac “Distribute its portion of gas tax revenue to lower tier county municipalities, ...” was one of 39 pieces of correspondence which were brought to Council as correspondence to be received and filed.

Mayor Ron Maguire proposed moving it to another category, correspondence which require action, whereby it would have been the subject of debate.

Central Frontenac Mayor Gutowski agreed, but the proposal was defeated in a 2-2 vote because Mayor Davison and Warden Vanden Hoek voted against it.

(At a subsequent meeting of Central Frontenac Council on Tuesday, September 23, Councilor Gary Smith took issue with the way this matter had been dealt with at the County. “In terms of procedure, if a lower tier government passes a resolution I would have hoped that the county would bring it to the active agenda rather than receive it for information, as happened in this case.”)

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