Gravy Train – Some Clarification

Chris Carrier wrote at 8.42 Mar 27th 2014

Nobody, I think it is important that the public understands that COLLUS is our electrical distribution company. They own the poles and wire infrastructure required to distribute electricity to the its customers. The minutes/agendas you posted are the CPUSB (Collingwood Public Utilities Services Board) which is a Municipal Services Board which provides governance to the Town’s water and waste water departments. The confusion stems from the privitization of the PUC which was both eletricity distribution and potable water (drinking water). When the electricity sector was privatized the Town chose an interim board to guide them through that process of which 3 members were from council (Tim McNabb, Sandra Cooper and myself{Chris Carrier}). COLLUS is a corporation under the Ontario Business Corporation legislation whereas the CPUSB runs 2 town departments. There is an integration of staff due to the fact that before COLLUS the employees were public employees but no longer. Instead of re-hiring and doing a costly separation the Town created a hybrid option of keeping two distinct entities but sharing some staff. When the current council sold 50% of COLLUS I believe a thorough review of the existing model should have been done and that it was likely time to have a full separation between the 2 entities. Somewhere along the line the current council decided to compensate the CPUSB Board members with the exception of Ed. He receives no finanical compensation as a Board Member. Doug G and Terry H do but both do bring a wealth of knowledge to the table. I am not aware of the study that council used to base their decision on compensating a board the previously was not compensated and let me be clear the former CPUSB water board of 3 people when I was Mayor consisted of Dean Muncaster, Doug Garbutt and myself. We were compensated for sitting on the COLLUS Board and we also were on the CPUSB Board but did not receive any compensation for that. The subject of compensation of council appointments does deserve a wholesome discussion but let us remember good people sit on those boards/committees/commissions and deserve our respect for the job that they do. In looking at the minutes you posted and on the COLLUS web site I could only find agendas/minutes for 6 meetings. The compensation levels do seem excessive for such little involvement but then again I did not see any report justifying the reasoning for the new compensation. I also noticed the May 21st and May 27th meetings lasted from 4:30pm to 5:02pm and 11:59am to !2:22pm so 32 minutes for the May 21st meeting and 23 minutes for the May 27th meeting. I am disappointed if per diems of $2,400.00 were paid for such short meetings. Hopefully the issues you highlighted are addressed by the Mayor and Council soon. It would be nice to be able to find information about Town departments and Town Municipal Boards on the Town’s web site as it might help with the confusion that COLLUS is the CPUSB and the CPUSB is COLLUS. Collus is a private business corporation and the CPUSB is a governance board that provides input for the water and the waste water departments within the corporation of the Town of Collingwood.
The remuneration report shows how much tax payer dollars were paid out to both council members and members of the public who have taken on the responsibilities of leadership in one form or another for our community. Your post raises some important issues that should be addressed by Council but one that is not really highlighted but inferred is why are we paying compensation to 2 members of council (in this case Mayor Cooper and Councillor Edwards) to sit on a board the provides governance for town departments. Isn’t that what their council salaries are for (35k and 20k respectively). The past payments for COLLUS appointments were researched by KPMG and the added responsibilities of oversight to a private corporation by 2 members of council (myself as Mayor from 2006-2010 and Councillor Edwards) resulted in stipends/honourariums and per diems for Board Members other than Council appointments and only per diems for the 2 council appointments.
Council has the legislative responsibility for the operations and functions of all Town departments including the governance support received from the CPUSB. I understand discussing compensating if you are going to compensate at all Board members other than council but certainly not council members who are already paid for their duties of policy and oversight of town departments.

Thanks for the clarification Chris. I think that the participation in this board and others should be part of respective peoples positions, especially council members and the mayor. I also think that any financial compensation should be commensurate with how much work gets achieved, like the rest of us.


7 thoughts on “Gravy Train – Some Clarification

  1. Good morning “Prof” whomever you are, how about a coffee and we can chat about the issues past, present and Collingwood’s future. is my personal email, cell is 705-888-7230, take care and have a good day.

      • Oh heck NO….
        You have convinced me that we need a wholesale change in Council and I agree that the Mayor and Deputy Mayor have to go.
        One for being “Not up to the job” and one for….there are so many reasons….if it was a multiple choice exam, the answer would be “e) all of the above”
        But please….let’s find someone else to vote for other than Carrier (or Kathy Jeffery)

        My blood pressure would not stand it.

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