A Pension for Councillors?

In a bid to make serving on Council more attractive, Council is considering allowing Councillors to join the OMERS Pension scheme. This would only benefit those eligible and anyone not already receiving an OMERS pension.  To be eligible, you must be less than 71 and you cannot both contribute to a pension plan and receive from that plan simultaneously.  Randy Barber is over 71 and both he and Brian Darling already receive an OMERS pension. The big benefit is that the Town will match the employee’s (councillor’s) contribution to the plan effectively increasing their income (albeit deferred) by approx. $2400 per year. It’s optional to join so Brian and Randy would likely not join since their pension would then stop.

But because the Town would be paying the “employer contribution” of approx. $2400 to the OMERS fund for those who opted in, staff suggested that those who were not eligible should also receive this amount.  Since it could not go to the pension fund, it would be added to their salary. Councillor Miriam Mutton thought that this discriminated based on age: Over 71 and you’d get $2400 more income (albeit taxable) but those opting in would get $2400 less since they would contribute that much.  Other councillors saw this as not a problem – it was just a matter of when you get the money.

Ian Davey estimated that the cost to the Town if all Councillors opted in would be $20K.

Anyway – lots of debate and council finally directed that staff prepare a bylaw to implement this.  The by-Law would come to Council for approval at a later date and it looks like Council will approve it.  There’s more detail in the report by HR Manager Andrea Short in Resources below.  

Resources

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Rob
7 months ago

I’m finding his early part of the term quite frustrating – Council, with some exceptions, appears to be a rudderless, somewhat self indulgent mess. Following their collective noses on individual agendas, pointless pet projects, climate crisis theater and leftist ideals. EV charging stations in parking lots of new drive-thru restaurants, a poppy crosswalk to further disrespect heroes (thank goodness it wasn’t approved), selfish pay increases 6-months into a term and discussions of participation in one of the best pension programs in the Province, excessive parking taxes, time wasting trips to India with non-specific benefits to our community, strategic planning resulting in vague objectives, attempts to place affordable housing on a multimillion dollar piece of lakefront property, the most significant tax increase in the time I’ve lived here … and the hits keep on coming.

This group needs a material reset and the CAO should be part of this, given her experience. Very similar to the Federal Liberal party, they are losing/have lost their way, focused on meaningless garb and forgetting about their core responsibilities to their ratepayers. It isn’t unrecoverable and there has been some good work but the indications are this could get far worse, quickly if not reigned in now.

Bryan
Reply to  Rob
7 months ago

Rob,

How many of the misguided examples (and which ones) that you provided were proposed by staff?
How many (which ones) by Council members?

Last edited 7 months ago by Bryan
Frenchy
Reply to  Bryan
7 months ago

Bryan, you (and the guys) used to behave like attack dogs, always barking at the heels of the last 2 mayors and councils. Good CTA stuff.
Now it always sounds like you’re running defense for the new guy and council. I don’t recall you guys ever blaming staff for everything during the last 2 administrations.

Bryan
Reply to  Frenchy
7 months ago

Frenchy,
Rob listed a number of cases for which he blames Council. I respectfully disagree that it is one sided and ask that he identify which cases belong to Council and which are Staff’s.

There is plenty of blame to go around for both Staff and Council. The bad decisions are far from one sided. It is important, that we recognize who did what and who is responsible for what. Responsibility and accountability.

Council needs to take its oversight responsibility seriously and stop micro-managing staff. Staff needs to stop pushing operational decisions onto Council and be responsible and accountable for operational decisions

Last edited 7 months ago by Bryan
Frenchy
Reply to  Bryan
7 months ago

Yeah yeah yeah. I know, but I never heard your group speak like this about past administrations.
Is the new guy your guy, hence the defense?

Bryan
Reply to  Frenchy
7 months ago

Frenchy,

My (our) guy? This discussion is about Council collectively and Staff.

What defense has there been of “my guy”

For the record, and to answer your question, the CTA did not support or promote any candidates in the past municipal election. So none of them are “our guys”.

Sandpiper
7 months ago

They just got a Raise this year invest it wisley
We the property owners also got a Raise 16 % in our Taxes

Eastender
7 months ago

In addition to a pension, I believe Councillors need a limo and driver to navigate through all the addicts and miscreants currently flooding our streets.
Seriously though, a pension plan for maybe a 4 year job? Ian Davey does not tell us the cost to administer the plan.

Bryan
Reply to  Eastender
7 months ago

Eastender,
OMERS administers the plan so there should be minimal extra admin cost to the Town.
An important bit of missing information is the annual pension payout that a Council member could expect to receive based on one or two terms of service. OMERS should be able to provide those estimates.

marya
7 months ago

Based on all of the endured written insults, our Public Servants deserve an opportunity for this optional pension plan.

Eastender
Reply to  marya
7 months ago

I believe they are elected officials, not public servants. I wholly support pension funds for public servants.

marya
Reply to  Eastender
7 months ago

The answer to the question was that even elected officials are classified as civil servants/public servants..

Deanne Spalding
7 months ago

A) I am still not convinced that Cobourg needs incentives to attract viable candidates to run for council.
B) Adding an OMERS pension for council doesn’t seem like a good fit. Exclusion if you are the young age of 71 and past enrolment in OMERS are good reasons to explore other options. This type of pension plan is also built on long years of contribution and I doubt we will see even the most outstanding elected members serving 20 years. Can’t there be other options?

Pete M
7 months ago

When will council return to focusing on their responsibilities– roads, sewers, water, and creating a welcoming environment for industry.
All we get are poppy crosswalks and ways for council to enrich themselves- pensions, travel to India

Jeffy
7 months ago

Is it just me or does council discuss one of two things, either something completely trivial and idiotic or to try to find some way of enriching themselves?

Gerinator
7 months ago

Thank you Councilor Bureau. To think that it was only his NO vote that did the 180 on whether this council should/would get a pay increase. He says ‘I listened to the protestors/other citizens’. Well hear this, stop with the boondoggling and start acting on the citizens behalf; provide solutions to complex problems. Its becoming an epidemic of taxpayer-funded-largesse. There is nothing this council has done to deserve any incremental compensation since their being elected; and I certainly don’t see any change in the offing.

Last edited 7 months ago by Gerinator
Sandpiper
7 months ago

Then Take away their Cell Phones or another Perk that we pay for they don’t answer them anyway nor do they return Calls

Dave Chomitz
7 months ago

Buckle Up !!!

cornbread
7 months ago

This town council is becoming a joke…Let them invest their own money from salary into a Defined Contribution Plan with no added funds from the town. That what most of the popu lation except govt. workers do these days.

Bill
7 months ago

It would be interesting to know the individual who came up with this proposal. Given the average tenure of councillors, it doesn’t make any sense. Another waste of taxpayers dollars!

Ahewson
Reply to  Bill
7 months ago

There are some younger councilors who, I’m assuming, hope their name recognition at election time means they have a job for life.

Cobourg taxpayer
7 months ago

I will see how many other towns of 22000 have Omers pension scheme for their councillors! Being self employed for the last 25 years, as was Miriam Mutton, I never assumed a pension from the government other than CPP which I paid into for 35 years.

Cobourg taxpayer
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
7 months ago

As per a google search “council participation in OMERS is limited,16% of municipalities make pension contributions on behalf of council. This number increases to 21% for municipalities with a population between 10000 and 24999”. Who came up with this idea indeed????

Sandpiper
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
7 months ago

This New Mayor has done nothing but increase their salaries and Produce nothing since this New Gang came into power . When they show me that they are saveing us all money and reducing our Taxes as Campaigned on I might agree .

Old Sailor
7 months ago

$2,400 is such a peanuts amount to be fussing over. And given the average tenure of Members of Council their resulting pension benefit will be zilch. Why not first exhaust all of the potentially non-taxable benefits employers could pay for Council members and forget about the pension contribution. A phone call to the tax partner at the Town’s auditor’s office would not cost that much. And could result in a non taxable payment being available.

ben
7 months ago

The by-Law would come to Council for approval at a later date and it looks like Council will approve it”

Of course they would! sneaky, sneaky, and more sneak!

Last edited 7 months ago by ben