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Home News Councilors receiving fees for serving on outside bodies OK: Integrity Commissioner

Councilors receiving fees for serving on outside bodies OK: Integrity Commissioner

Hamilton’s Integrity Commissioners says there is nothing wrong with councillors receiving fees for serving on outside boards. The biggest of these is the Electra Utilities Board, whose membership includes the mayors of the municipalities that are served by the utility. For Mayor Andrea Horwath and her predecessor, Fred Eisenberger the extra pay works out to over $40,000—a flat fee of $30,000 plus $1250 per meeting. There was some controversy when the fees were first revealed after the merger of Hamilton’s Horizon Utilities because the municipal mayors voted for the merger and then presumably approved the fees.  With the recent focus on conflicts-of-interest with members of Hamilton Council the Integrity Commissioner was asked whether members of Council appointed to sit as members of other bodies may collect a per diem for such membership. The IC wrote, “ It has been suggested that receiving a per diem for such activity may constitute a contravention of the Council Code of Conduct which provides as follows:  No Member shall accept a fee, advance, gift or benefit, that is connected, directly or indirectly, with the performance of the Members duties or responsibilities of or in office, except as permitted by one or more of the exceptions listed in subsection 4(3). In our view, receiving a per diem for membership and attendance on another body, such as a conservation authority, an energy board or a police service board, where one is provided, does not contravene the gifts policy contained in the Code of Conduct.   There is also nothing in the Municipal Act which would preclude a member of Council from receiving such per diem.  In fact, across the province of Ontario, there are quite a number of boards which compensate appointees, including members of Council, for attendance at meetings, and that practice is quite acceptable under the legislation.”

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