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Mayoral report doesn’t reflect the facts

Mun Jasper 1 CMYK-2There is an old adage that says what looks good on paper doesn’t always work in real life.

Nowhere is this more often the case then in politics, where ideology and political tact often seem to supersede the facts.

Take for example a report tabled earlier this week about whether Jasper should have a full-time or part-time mayor.

Bernie Kreiner, the author of the report and former CAO of Hinton, concluded that given the size of Jasper and the time requirements of the role, moving to a full-time mayor would not be appropriate. Instead he suggested the mayor should be given administrative support to help him prepare for meetings and events.

He based his conclusion by analyzing data from 15 comparable communities and conversations he had with the mayor, who indicated he spends “over” 20 hours a week carrying out his mayoral duties.

Kreiner’s conclusion would be fine if he had simply stuck to his findings, but instead he told councillors that it was “probably an underestimate.”

Backing up those comments, the mayor said that at one point in time he tried to track his hours, but it was nearly impossible.

Further evidence seems to suggest that the mayor’s job surpassed part-time employment years ago.

In 2013, Peter Waterworth, a former CAO for Jasper, noted that the mayor’s job in Jasper is about 65 per cent of a full-time position. That was four years ago.

Just imagine where Jasper will be in the next four years. Since the last municipal election in 2013, visitation has increased by more than 250,000 visitors and the financial burden on taxpayers has increased in lock step, with property taxes jumping by more than 20 per cent since 2012.

Taking all of this into account, why does the report conclude that the time requirements for the job aren’t sufficient enough to warrant a full-time mayor?

Is the mayor being conservative in his calculations to save taxpayers a bit of money?

How many hours does the mayor need to work before council will recognize it’s in everyone’s best interest to pay the mayor a full-time wage to do a full-time job?

According to Statistics Canada, a full-time job is anyone who usually works 30 hours or more per week.

Using this definition and the facts that are before us, all the evidence seems to suggest the mayor’s job is already a full-time position.

Up until now the community has been fortunate enough to have a mayor who is not only a practicing lawyer, but has the skills, passion and experience to carry out his duties regardless of the payoff, but that might not be the case after Oct. 16, Jasper’s next municipal election.

If the community wants to attract the best of the best it’s time council faces the facts and makes the mayor’s job a full-time position.

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