Progress with Remuneration Ad Hoc Committee

On March 1st, the first meeting was held of the Ad Hoc committee charged with deciding on remuneration for Councillors and Police Board members in the next term of Council.  As Deputy Mayor John Henderson explains in the video below, there is no methodology mandated as to how this should be done so John decided to create an Ad Hoc Advisory committee for the purpose.  The idea was first put forward in September 2017 when it was realized that after tax pay would actually decrease if nothing was done.  This is because of the recent elimination of a tax break for a third of the “salary” which was classified as expenses.  But then the start of work was delayed because there was concern that there were no women on the committee.  This was resolved when Dylis Robertson was named as an additional member.

Deputy Mayor - John Henderson
John Henderson

The plan is to have three more meetings with the last one on April 26 so that new candidates for October’s election will know what they would get paid. The first date to file as a Candidate is May 1st, 2018 and the last day is July 27, 2018 (more on the election here).

In making a decision, committee members were asked to consider:

  • Scope of Position/Responsibility of elected office;
  • Base Number of Hours required for Council Members as gathered from a Cobourg Municipal Council Survey;
  • Review Comparable municipalities;
  • Impact of 1/3 tax-free allowance;
  • Town-paid group Insurance and benefits;
  • Technology/ways of conducting business.

In their first meeting, committee members got complete information about current remuneration and details of many comparable municipalities.  See links below for full details but here are some highlights:

  • Councillors (including the Mayor and Deputy Mayor) get full benefits as are paid to non-union employees – this includes extended health, dental and life insurance but excludes the OMERS pension.  The value/cost is $5,700 per year.
  • Salaries in 2017 were
    • Mayor $34,720
    • Deputy Mayor $21,851
    • Councillor $17,528
  • Some expenses were reimbursed – the total for all councillors in 2017 was $35,775
  • Police Board Members receive 28.5% of the compensation for councillors
  • Police Board Chair receives  1.25 times the rate for Police Services Board Members;
  • Port Hope salaries in 2017 were
    • Mayor $48,400 – gets full benefits
    • Deputy mayor $26,000  – must pay 1/3rd of cost of benefits
    • Councillors $20,000 – must pay 1/3rd of cost of benefits
  • Cramahe salaries in 2017 were:
    • Mayor $52,295 – no benefits
    • Deputy Mayor $33,274 – no benefits
    • Councillors $28,505 – no benefits
  • There is a reduction of $250 per meeting for absence from Regular Council and Committee of the Whole meetings in excess of five meetings per year.

On 8 Feb 2018, York Bell-Smith interviewed John Henderson on Cogeco’s Municipal Matters:

It seems that Councillors are probably underpaid and John’s process seems a fair way to resolve it.


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Deborah OConnor

There is a statement in this post by Mr. Draper that doesn’t sit well with this taxpayer. He says “But then the start of work was delayed because there was concern that there were no women on the committee”. Let me offer the following instead. “But then the start of work was delayed because there were concerns the composition of the committee didn’t reflect the diversity of the community”. You see, it’s about diversity, which includes much more than just having women involved. When I sat on a committee at the provincial level tasked with setting up an advisory board in Ontario, our job involved far more than that, we had to consider age, ethnic/racial characteristics, geographic location, even occupation and income levels. This was almost thirty years ago and hardly a revolutionary idea even then. Mr. Draper’s comments reflect his own (limited) understanding of the concept of diversity itself, and goes a long way to illustrate why we need more than older, affluent white males in charge of virtually everything in this town. But not to pile on John here, it’s the Town itself that needs to up its game. C’mon Cobourg, let’s get up to speed in this… Read more »


Like most people who work in Cobourg and area, give the councillors and others a cost-of-living increase. That’s about all the rest of us and pensioners get. What’s good for us – is good for them.


Any talk of a raise is premature until you get a handle on the workload and that is hard; the lazy Cllrs will tell you the job is part time and the people who can’t stay out of Town Hall will say it is definitely full time.

Walter L. Luedtke

I would like to see remuneration at a level where municipal public service is not just a hobby for pensioners.