Are councillors paid enough?

Dave Bartlett
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Ward 4 representative Debbie Hanlon says elected positions should be full-time

Debbie Hanlon

A St. John’s city councillor says anyone elected to city hall should be paid full-time wages.

Ward 4 Coun. Debbie Hanlon said the workload of the job requires a full-time commitment.

To illustrate her point, Hanlon invited The Telegram to spend a day with her getting a first-hand account of a councillor’s duties and responsibilities.

Hanlon knows her idea will be unpopular with some, and will bring accusations she’s looking to line her pockets.

Not so, she said.

“I believe that if people saw the work (councillors do) they would say ‘wow, she does all that?’” she said.

But Hanlon said if they were paid full-time, councillors would have to be more accountable to the public.

Learning curve

Voted in during a June 2008 byelection, Hanlon sad she was overwhelmed for the first couple of months until she got her bearings.

“I think it’s more work than I thought it would be,” she said. “I thought if I put in an issue (to staff), it would get straightened out. But what I (found) was you have to chase that issue.”

When asked if there was orientation provided for new councillors, she said yes.

“But that’s like the first day of university. Now, go find the cafeteria on your own,” Hanlon said. “The way you learn is baptism by fire.”

Hanlon said she had to learn quickly and admits she made some mistakes in the early days. That’s why she does her homework before speaking out or voting on issues now.

She spends a good bit of time asking questions of city staff, getting historical context for rules, and getting updates on outstanding issues.

Hanlon credits two former senior staff members with helping her in the early days — former city manager Ron Penney and former director of engineering Art Cheeseman. Both have since retired.

She said the public only sees the tip of the iceberg of what council does and what goes on at city hall, and adds no one can prepare you for the amount of correspondence.

Unlike an MHA, a councillor has no assistant beyond a BlackBerry, which Hanlon considers essential.

She was already reading and replying to emails before her first meeting of the day when The Telegram met up with her last Monday.

Besides getting calls and emails at all hours, she uses her BlackBerry to forward constituents’ concerns to city staff right away to get the ball rolling.

Without the BlackBerry, she said, she would get behind very quickly.

But no matter the amount of work, Hanlon said the satisfaction of solving issues for a constituent makes it all worthwhile.

She said it’s all about building relationships.

“If you take care of an issue for someone, then they call you back,”  Hanlon said.

Retiree Morgan Colbourne was thrilled to finally meet Hanlon last week. Colbourne sharpens skates in his backyard shed, sometimes getting $5 for his work, other times a bottle of moose or seal flippers.

A while back, the city viewed Colbourne’s hobby as a business and wanted him to install male and female washrooms and a wheelchair ramp in his shed, which is only about 10 square feet.

Hanlon was able to convince the city that wasn’t necessary and it backed off. Now the city wants Colbourne to move his shed away from a utility easement.

Colbourne told Hanlon the current position of his shed actually makes it easier for workman to get to the pole, as compared to where the city wants him to move it.

Hanlon, Colbourne and city staff will all meet in the near future to resolve the matter.

During meetings, Hanlon occasionally has to take a call from someone else, be it a private contractor retained by the city to do snowclearing, the mayor’s office asking her to attend a luncheon, someone calling in about a streetlight not working on Kelsey Drive or a complaint about snowmobiles in Airport Heights.

Yet she said the only exposure some people get to city hall is the few minutes of a council meeting covered by reporters.

“I think people draw their own conclusions from what they see in the press. They don’t see what goes on behind the scenes and they don’t see the work that we do,” said Hanlon.

She admits she didn’t even know who her ward councillor was before deciding to run.

Besides dealing with constituents’ issues, members of council sit on committees which takes up several hours a week.

Hanlon chairs the economic development committee, and sits on five others.

“If you don’t get to the committee meetings then you don’t know what’s going on,” she said.

Hanlon’s also helping to develop an economic road map for the city, which hopes to project and guide how it will grow in the next 10 years.

“This is the reason why I got into city hall. I wanted to be instrumental in shaping our city,” she said.

And then there’s public meetings, luncheons and city functions, all of which Hanlon tries to attend.

Becoming a councillor has also affected Hanlon’s business and family life.

After 17 years of running a real estate business, she recently turned it over to her brother and walked away.

“I can’t do both. I can’t run a real estate firm and (oversee) 45 people and be a councillor effectively. I could do a half-assed job,” she said.

“It was very hard to do, because it was my baby. It defined who I was for the last 17 years. But I made a commitment to Ward 4.”

She said her argument for full-time pay is not about making more money — she could have done that in real estate.

Hanlon has another reason for advocating for full-time wages. She suggests it might encourage younger people to run for the job. At 45, she’s one of the youngest councillors at the table.

She tries to keep Sundays for herself and her family, but isn’t always able to do that.

Feb. 20, for example, she was scheduled to attend a conference on attracting and retaining immigrants to the city.

As for her future on council, Hanlon said she hasn’t made up her mind whether to run again in 2013.

“If I run, I’ll be running for a different position at city hall,” she said, adding she’s leaning towards an at-large position or the deputy mayor’s job.

She said she loves being on council, and as long as she is, the job will get her full attention.

 

This is what elected officials at St. John’s City Hall are

currently paid annually:

Position        Salary                   Tax-free allowance    Total                   

Mayor        $65,075.40              $32,537.70               $97,613.10

Deputy

Mayor        $30,168.58              $15,087.28               $45,255.86

Councillor    $23,341.50             $11,676.60              $35,018.10

Source: City of St. John’s

dbartlett@thetelegram.com

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Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • Jim
    March 05, 2011 - 18:30

    I think we know today why Debbie Hanlon wants an increase in her salary. I guess she would want the taxpayers of the city to get her out of the hole she dug herself in. I can never understand how naive politicians think people are. If you are not capable of doing the job step aside and let someone else do it. For $35,000 a year part time I think there will be lots of takers.

  • NewfieLove
    March 04, 2011 - 10:07

    It seems that one of the most dearly-held traditions in Newfoundland is to shoot down progress and vision and stick with the customary. Debbie is a visionary and as such she is being shot down by the city she is trying to better. I am a Newfie through and through and I love this city. It's too bad that the citizens are afraid to back someone with a desire to challenge and change the norms and instead they shoot her down as a greedy, selfish, money-grubbing lowlife. You want snow clearing? You want a better city? It's going to take a whole new generation on council to make that happen. Sadly, I'm sure that I won't see that happen for many, many years to come due to the stubborness of the people in this city and their closed-minded, backward-thinking view of new ideas and not to mention, one of the only councilors who seems to have the courage to challenge the regular accepted ways (which are clearly not working) amd advocating change.

  • Wanda
    March 02, 2011 - 13:49

    HELLO TAX PAYERS Debbie, Not looking for a raise,cut the crap, your salary now is $35000 a year part time, you expect the tax payers of st.johns to believe that if decided to make councilors a full time position you would not want a raise, You must think that we the tax payers just climbed out from a rock.Our taxes go up every year and we dont see anything out of it, most of the money now is spent on salaries.When Andy was Mayor they let the city manager go to make the mayors job fulltime look at the mayors salary now it double. But guess what, since O'Keefe is mayor he rehired the city manager and he still gets to keep his 100,000 a year.Who do you think is paying for that . Stick to writing your childrens book because you are living in a fantasy world.

  • Solution
    March 02, 2011 - 07:17

    Re Ms. Hanlon's post, Mar 1, 7:47: Let's see if we can get this straight now. You "never once asked for a raise". You are "not interested in a raise". You "can't believe that people actually took from the article that I was looking for a raise" and "this couldn't be further from the truth". BUT you do " believe that full-time representation is required" and you "will be asking for a review of City Council Terms of Reference" and you "will be working towards that goal." You manage "over a 200 million dollar budget" and "our city is leading the country in economic growth" and "we are poised for greatness". All this and Council is still unable to efficiently provide the basic essential services of snow clearing - streets AND sidewalks, effective public transit, etc., etc., etc. Surely you have heard about all the suffering. Please don't take this the wrong way because we really do appreciate all the time you spend on emails, phone calls, and meetings but what I'd really love to know is this: Do you and your colleagues and associates drink the same tap water as all the other normal, regular, ordinary taxpaying citizens of St. John's?

  • t
    March 01, 2011 - 09:18

    Debbie, if you're not looking for a raise, then there is no problem here. No one is stopping you from working all the hours you please, if you're content to do it on your current salary. But if that's the case, then why does this article even exist?

    • Bryce Wrightly
      March 01, 2011 - 21:11

      I just read this entire article word for word and nowhere does Hanlon say she wants a raise. Not once. Then I read the comments. Are you people illiterate?

  • HUGHIEHUGHIE
    February 28, 2011 - 23:24

    The Down Town unelected runs the city, The same ones show up at these Forms,While Duff, O Leary,Colbert Hickman,Hanlon show up for photo op. THis Council needs a over haul,, Its run by the retired looking to supplement their income , Ms hanlon just turned her business over to her brother,now looking for City handout..We pay for what we get and deserve it ,we know when Development comes before Council ,guess how the vote will go and who if against it. From teir performance citizens shold be looking for salary cuts. By way water street would be a fine place to build the Town house,,Built to O Leary and Duff specifications. Good Tourist attraction. Anyway Debbie give us a break ,Resign and Duff,O Leary, Colbeert,Hickman with you.By the way what Real Estate Co has f non contrib pensions.

  • dorothy scheeler
    February 28, 2011 - 23:07

    In my opinion i think the city councillors are the most greedy bunch of people i ever heard of in my live.While they all have the highest kind of pensions coming in as it is, if they don't have penions they are like Debbie Hanlon they have their own bussiness.I worked 28 years with the Heath Care when i left my job 4 years ago,i still was'nt making $35.000.Why don't you move over and let someone who has a job making min.wage and a family to support have your job.I'm sure you don't have to be a brain to run the city..Where is Andy Wells now.7 years battling the problem we are having in our ward 5 still nothing done,Ya so maybe our councillor do need a raise..What a joke keep up the good work city councillors

  • Debbie Hanlon
    February 28, 2011 - 20:14

    I have never before made a comment on any article, but after reading the above comments i just couldn't refuse. I never ever once asked for a raise.. I am not interested in a raise. The only raise I wanted was to raise awareness of the hours I work and the responsibilities that Councillors have.. Our city is leading the country in Economic Growth, Council manages over a 200 million dollar budget, we are poised for greatness and I believe strongly that full time representation is required.. I cannot believe that people actually took from the article that I was looking for a raise.. this couldn't be further from the truth... This isn't about me ..this is about the next generation.. I will be asking for a review of City Council terms of reference as there hasn't been one done in over 20 years. No, I was never a YES person, and if I see an area that I feel could improve our City and make our city better ,then you'd better believe i will shout it out.. I was warned by the media that coming forward on this issue would cause me some flack ,, in fact one of them even told me in advance what some of the comments would be.. that didn't deter me.. I was elected to represent my city and that is what I do and will continue to do.. I love my position and look forward to helping shape the future of our City .I believe full time representation is required and I will be working towards that goal. If anyone of you would like to discuss this or any issue... feel free to call me 699 7035 I would love to discuss this or any issue with you

    • Krista
      March 04, 2011 - 13:12

      It's great to see a councillor who's actually making an effort to change something instead of just squashing every new proposal that comes up and trudging along with the same old ho-hum. While not every current councillor may deserve better pay, I fully agree that better pay would attract fresh new blood that's so desperately needed! Personally I'd shell out a few extra bucks in taxes every month to see this city managed properly. And to those of you whining about it being unfair for councillers to make more money than you do, boo hoo. If you don't like it, run for council. Personally I'm happy to pay someone else to do the job, because I certainly wouldn't be able to put up with that much flack for a job that barely pays. I don't live in Debbie's ward, but if I did she'd have my vote any time.

  • Unimpressed Youth
    February 28, 2011 - 19:51

    "BRAD at 12:31:55" comment I agree with, already Councilor’s 'part-time' pay is more than other's actual full time salary. Hanlon claims she wants to have a hand in developing the city, but it seems she also wants the other hand deeper into our wallets. Don't like the work load, quit. Simple. Noting on the small skate sharpener business. Wheelchair ramp, for a SKATE sharpener business. Not touching the irony there but what city employee took the time and effort for this involvement? Somehow I think there are much, MUCH more pressing issues around the city; east-side dump odors and snow clearing for side walks to lightly mention. I can understand that Hanlon tried to get the public to see her side as a councilor, but with the recent salary raise and still unresolved issues this approach really did not seem like a good idea. Judging from the other user comments, I'm not the only one who is unimpressed and disappointed with their (councilors in favor of full-time) mentality. Calling out the writer of this story, PROOF READ. Crlt+F "sad" on first page. Spell check software helps, but isn't there to do your job.

  • Bottom of the Barrel
    February 28, 2011 - 17:19

    I understand where Ms. Hanlon is coming from completely, however I also know that people are working overtime in dead end jobs trying to make ends meet, and only coming up less than what the councillors are currently paid. And although some councillors are indeed working their butts off, we have others that don't give a damn. So here lies the problem. Does the municipal government get more cash and end up hiking up taxes, thereby putting the "middle class workers" even further under the poverty line, or do we employ more councillors that are doing their fair share of the work? God knows the Mayor would want even more money if those down the ladder from him got a hike in pay. I speak for all the "average" occupants of St. John's when I say we feel your pain, but please don't take more money from our own situations, we really can't afford it.

  • Irene
    February 28, 2011 - 17:05

    If Ms. hanlon thinks she is underpaid,there is a simple solution. Don't seel reelection. When i lived in the east end she was my representative. A sorry one at that. She knew the work involved or she shoud have. One does not apply for a job without asking about what the job entails. As far as I can see, they are overpaid. How about using your energy to make the city a better place in which to live especially for those struggling to make ends meet.

  • Fundad
    February 28, 2011 - 16:10

    Its interesting that the councillors who need the $$$$ are the ones that want the $$$ on the backs of taxpayers. Need + Want = Selfishness. If there's extra give it to City workers who would be more deserving of this. Take the time to work on more city issues rather than provincial issues, attend less ribbon cutting events, and then you will have more hrs for work/family.

  • MOU
    February 28, 2011 - 15:21

    They knew the wage before they applied for the job and that is a salary for many of the taxpayers they represent, overpaid as part-time. If they can't handle the position quit, i'm sure someone would take the job it would not be left vacant for many minutes.

  • Boyd
    February 28, 2011 - 15:18

    Crap

  • Political Watcher
    February 28, 2011 - 15:02

    I can't believe it. Ms. Hanlon, like everyone else on Council, knew full well that if elected they will be full-time at their position. Yes, there are some who maintain a full time job with other employers but that is their choice. If their constituents re-elect them then they must bedoing their job and well. Considering that Ms. Hanlon has extensive holdings of her own, one would believe that she would have the time to do the job and not comprimise he living. If some can do it effctively and jold a full time job then why can't she? There have been many public converations and actions of Council regardin their salary and the time invloved: Ms. Hanlon knew the time required and the salary involved and one would have thought she would have done the research and did the math on the impact to her personal life bfore deciding to run. I belive that Council are paid a fair wage for their positions and receive a decent benefits package to boot. Ms. Hanlon knows this will be unpopular so why is she raiing it?

  • Jennifer
    February 28, 2011 - 14:54

    Considering the level of importance, the complexity, and magnitude of work that is expected of these councillors, and considering how much more money MHAs and MPs get paid, I think this is a legit issue. If you want the best possible people doing this work, then you have to offer a compensation package that is consistent with other jobs of this nature. If you want good quality and quantity of work produced in the most efficient and effective manner, then you need structure and commitment to the positions. How effective can you expect people to be doing this work 'part time' if they have to have a 'day job' on the side? How many people could support themselves, let alone a full family, on $23000/yr? Heck, most file clerk jobs pay more than that! You pay these positions the same as their counterparts at the provincial and federal level, you will get a better bang for your bucks. It's like anything else, you get what you pay for.

  • Bill
    February 28, 2011 - 14:46

    Councillors are paid lots of money for what they do. Thanks to the Telegram for opening this story up for comments. Many of the other City newsmakers in recent weeks have not made it to a comments section. Given the response to this story, you can see that there are many citizens with realo concerns about how Councillors conduct the taxpayers' business. If Debbie wants a raise, she should go back to her real estate company.

  • Robert
    February 28, 2011 - 14:07

    She's delirious! How about she works fulltime for the current wages that she receives. She'll still earn more than half of St. John's!

  • resident
    February 28, 2011 - 14:04

    If you are going to claim that you are so busy Debbie you really shouldn't post your very empty calendar online. http://www.ward4report.com/tiki-calendar.php?calIds[]=1#main

  • turry from town
    February 28, 2011 - 13:55

    GET RID OF DEBBIE!!!! This is the type of person that we do not need in public office.Instead of finding ways to generate revenue and decrease taxation,this CL:OWN is trying to increase her salary and fill her pockets.Nothing but pure GREED!She knew what the pay was before she tried desperately to get elected.Answering a few emails everyday Debbie is a good bang for your buck.And don't say because you sit on this committee that you should be paid more,that is what you were elected to do.Get rid of theses committies,that is like micro management.All councillors should be responsible for all decisions made in all areas,that is why you all were elected,not to cherrypick what you want to do and expect to be paid more.We don't need this mentality at city hall.Get rid of DEBBIE please.Next thing you know she will be collecting a pension on the backs of SJ taxpayers while she sits on her realestate empire.

  • LOLing
    February 28, 2011 - 13:22

    IS SHE SERIOUS? I make $22880 a year if I work 40 hours a week...you make $35,018.10 a year.....I'm actually making $11.00 per hour which is $1 more an hour than people on minimum wage.....which equates to ALOT of people. You knew the pay when you ran and signed up....did you really think the job would be a cake walk????? DO YOU HONESTLY EXPECT TAX PAYERS LIKE MYSELF TO SHORT OURSELVES ON OUR ALREADY LOW INCOME SO YOU CAN INCREASE YOUR SALARY????? I WOULD LOVE TO HAVE YOUR $16.38 AN HOUR!!!!!! which i equated from a 40 hour work week. and while you said that you don't WORK 40 hours a week, neither do I....my work follows me home daily, i work through my lunch and breaks....QUIT WHINNING....i bet you own your home instead of renting and probably don't drive a 11 year old car like i do either.....do you struggle to buy diapers and food for your child? if you don't like the pay....don't work there....that's a simple equation....weren't you a real estate agent/owner....clearly you were making more money there...you're name was on every for sale sign i came across....i don't have the luxury of picking a job...i work a $11 an hour temporary position that may not be here in 3 months because i have to.....I'LL MAKE SURE IF YOU DO RUN IN THE NEXT ELECTION, THAT I DON'T VOTE FOR YOU...THAT WILL ENSURE YOU DON'T HAVE TO LIVE OFF YOUR 16.38 PER HOUR JOB...that should solve things. do you know my office was raising money for families for christmas that were less fortunate....do you know when they distributed the information about those families that our family brings in only $50 more per month than that family??? grow up...

  • Mark
    February 28, 2011 - 13:16

    Peter's comment (at 12:38:48) is the most sensible thing I have read in a long time. We really need to re-evaluate what the 'job' of our elected members is. It is not to cut ribbons and to bypass the civil service on day-to-day constituent problems. Their job is to exercise the authority invested in them to run the city (or province) through laws, regulations and programs which the civil service then administers. That's it. And that's why it only need be a part time job.

  • Ross Kitcher
    February 28, 2011 - 13:15

    i work full time for $35,000.00 and that is with the Goverment. If you think it is to much work, let some else do it.

  • Peter
    February 28, 2011 - 12:31

    Generally only the Duties of the Mayor (NOT the Councilors?) are described in the Act(s) in NL. A full time employment requires a specific job description. ".....13. The duties of the mayor are : (a) to execute and put in force the laws for the government of the city, and all by-laws and ordinances relating to the laws; ...." etc. "Council" acts as a single collective entity? - Similar to the Cabinet?? The problem is with Councilors, MHA's and MP's is that once elected they become either an Ombudsman or Senior Civil Servant. MHA's and MP's are supposed to be Parliamentarians - law makers. If their constituents complain about a matter they are supposed to investigate why the Laws or Civil Service does not solve the problem. Thats it! - IMO. Councilors of "Municipal Institutions" [92(8) -BNA Act] are more like Directors of Corps. (IMO). They make decision and recommendations. When they act for citizens or lobby for developers they have to be careful. The rights of citizens and their property might be greater than any Council? ("...On top of this the municipal vote may not even be Charter Protected?[33] ....In essence, the argument is that a municipal election is creature of statute and that it does not give rise to a right to vote under the Charter........")[http://www.canlii.org/en/nl/nlsctd/doc/2010/2010nltd38/2010nltd38.html] Full time job....are they sure that they want it for ANY pay?

  • Sean
    February 28, 2011 - 12:14

    Why would the city ask for a shed to be moved off an utility easement? There are countless structures built on easements across the city. This request should becoming from Newfoundland Power as it is there easement . Unless Newfoundland Power or another utility has deemed the shed a problem I think the city should stay out of it.

  • oh dear myribshurt
    February 28, 2011 - 12:07

    are u joking; i am on the floor laughing more money; they are getting more than enough in cbrook if this lady didnt know what she was getting into; and the SACRIFICE; oh the pain; the terrible searing pain she was making or getting into; she shouldn' t have run for council......this is apathetic its hurts to read it

  • Joseph McGrath
    February 28, 2011 - 12:05

    I suggest any councillor who is not happy with their pay resign immediately. This whining story about Hanlon makes me want to puke. She is a loser and not a good member of council by any means. I am sick and tired of paying high high taxes to pay incompetents on council like her. Resign Resign

  • richard scheeler
    February 28, 2011 - 11:48

    i always thought st. john' s city councillors should be full time positions. what salary not sure. other facts i may of like to see in your article is/was are councillors paid for the extra committee meetings, how much,how many they attend and also this tax free allowance why? thanks richard

  • Ken
    February 28, 2011 - 11:42

    Is Hanlon for real? When you throw your hat in the ring you know what you are getting yourself into. If salaries increase so do taxes. Let's keep councillors part time and get rid of Colbert, O'Leary and Hanlon. They will cost us money.

  • one of the tax paying sheep
    February 28, 2011 - 11:23

    if Hanlon and others feel the work load is too great then i say find another job!, or get rid of their positions all together and i bet my next property tax bill that no one will notice!... these positions are nothing but go betweens and can and should be done on volunteer basis, qualifications?- eyes that see, ears that listen and a pulse that beats giving them the ability to carry their constituents' wishes to city hall. i say cut their salaries and give the difference to city employees that do the real work- the street staff, plowers and cleaners, the clerks who are chained to their desks, the unappreciated RNC and other low profile cogs in the wheel.. also, can someone explain to me their tax free benefit?.......

  • frank
    February 28, 2011 - 11:06

    One thing that bothers me is when you hear a doctor, nurse, fireman, policeman etc. complain they have to work holidays, weekends, Christmas and all. Didn't they know the hours before they chose their career? Ms. Hanlon ran for council fully knowing the committment required and the pay it came with. Now that she is in she wants full time wages. She claims she gave up her real estate business to devote full time to the city, consequently that income is gone. Sounds like "top me up" to me. Come on Debbie!

  • Average Joe
    February 28, 2011 - 10:49

    What did you expect when ran for council????

  • W bagg
    February 28, 2011 - 10:41

    You've got to be kidding! we don't even need councillors, city staff do everything. If you have a problem, a councillor will only forward your correspondence to a city dept. hat's the extent of the job. Colbert spends more time in Florida then in the chamber. Also, Hanlon has only real estate to compare workloads to. Real Estate, houses sell themselves, they get a fixed % on the sale regardless of work done. Seriously Debbie, come off it bye!!!

  • Steve
    February 28, 2011 - 10:12

    If being a councillor is a full-time job, then how in Hades does Debbie Hanlon keep her business empire running? What a load of carp. It's a part time job.

    • Ross Kitcher
      February 28, 2011 - 13:24

      i work fulltime for $35,000.00 and that is with goverment. maybe Debbie should step down and let someone else do the job

  • Donny Dooley Dildo NL
    February 28, 2011 - 10:02

    Until Hanlon and the others get rid of the dump stink in the eastend they should have their pay cut in half! Imagine looking for a raise while the citizens in this area have to turn off their air exchangers because the putrid smell of the dump fills their homes.

  • Sad to see...
    February 28, 2011 - 09:48

    Councilor’s annual salary $23,341.50 with TAX-FREE allowance of $11,676.60 = Grand total of $35,018.10!! Debbie, if over 35K isn't enough for you, move aside and let a hard working person take your place. I'm sure there are dozens of qualified people out there that are more than willing to take your spot for that salary. This isn’t your only job, and if the work is too much then leave. You knew what you were getting yourself into. Stop the BS & your poor lil OLD me routine and get to work!

  • Kent
    February 28, 2011 - 09:37

    “But that’s like the first day of university. Now, go find the cafeteria on your own,” Hanlon said. “The way you learn is baptism by fire.” Hanlon said she had to learn quickly and admits she made some mistakes in the early days. That’s why she does her homework before speaking out or voting on issues now. =================================== Welcome to the real-world Debbie... All jobs have learning curves, some steeper than others, however, it doesn't automatically entitle you to a raise. Perhaps you should have thought it through a little more before running for office. If you can't handle it, then step aside and we'll elect someone who can.

  • Edmund
    February 28, 2011 - 09:09

    Well now, Ms. Hanlon has turned over her Real Estate business because of all the pressure and time required to do the job of a city councillor. Was that also the cause of her ill fated dinner cruise business going under as well? Makes one wonder if she is, in fact, capable of being a councillor. Like any new position an individual is applying for (like a city councillor position) it is considered professional business practice to investigate the requirements of the position before making a decision to apply. Well obviously Ms. Hanlon did not have the professional knowledge or skill level to do this which makes one wonder if she is capable of actually doing this work. Also, she should know that you have to work smarter in these positions and to say she works hard and deserves more money just does not cut it anymore. She should have done her homework before she ran for an elected position to understand the demands of the position and what the paycheck was, not two years in to her term. The income city councillors receive complete with all the perks and tax free income is more than sufficient. If Ms. Hanlon feels otherwise she should resign as there are more professional, interested and capable people interested in doing that work for the compensation currently offered. Quit complaining and move on Ms. Hanlon. Keep trying to find your pie in the sky, get rich quick scheme but not at the mercy of the taxpayers. You won't be able to use "the interest of a better community" as part of your get re-elected campaign now so what else do you have to offer. Obviously not much!!

  • P F Murphy
    February 28, 2011 - 09:09

    Councillor started out as a volunteer position so that people who could spare the time ran. This is continued today with the circumstancess that almost all our councillors are pensioners who are collecting CPP and some OAS so that they are collecting 150 to 200% or more of what their former colleagues are and on top of that they are building a non-contributory new pension if they re-retire or don't get elected next time. Given that the average salary in Canada is $43,000, that in Newfoundland the average is less and and that $35,000 is only $8,000 short of the Canadian average, I wonder what Councillor Hanlon is expecting - $60 to $70,000 perhaps? Is that a council interested in saving money or even just holding the line?

  • Brad
    February 28, 2011 - 09:03

    So, she is saying she's working full-time but only getting paid part-time, yet the amount of "part-time pay" ($35,018.10) is still more than most people get paid full-time working a full-time job. So, in my opinion, she is getting paid full-time already, and as she says, she is working full-time---therefore, she is getting paid for what she does. Obviously if you do not have another job seperate from being a councillor, you have more time to put into being a councillor. Therefore, you can fill your entire day, as was detailed in the article, with things relating to the city. But other councillors who do have seperate jobs, also manage to be a councillor as well---as many of them said 'it all depends on how involved you want to be'. Just because, as she says, she may be working full-time at being a councillor, doesn't mean she needs to be paid more, not all people working full-time get high salaries. Some people work full-time and get paid $20800 (if you work 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, on minimum wage), others $30000, $45000, $60000, $100000, or whatever. It's not like councillors are hired by the city, after being interviewed for the position and being selected from a group of qualified candidates based on their education and work experience---they're elected by the public, based on a popularity vote. Yes, I admit the public are going to take into consideration the background experience of the candidates when voting to allow someone the priviledge of being a councillor---and the candidates should look at it as a priviledge to be allowed to serve the public, it's a priviledge not a right---but all in all, it is a popularity contest. If anyone else were to apply for a job anywhere, no matter what it may be---carpenter, secretary, paralegal, doctor, mechanic, anything---they have to be qualified to fill the position, otherwise they won't get the job. But when it comes to being a councillor, for the most part, anyone from any background can run to be elected and get elected. As I said, in my opinion, she is getting paid a full-time salary, and as she said, she works full-time, so the issue is not that she is working full-time and getting paid part time. The issue is she's working full-time and getting paid full-time, and she just wants to be paid more for it---to which I would say, if they want to be paid more to be a councillor, then there should be, set in law, certain requirements that must be fulfilled to become a councillor to justify being paid more. Unless that is going to change, the councillors should just accept the pay they receive from winning the popularity contest. As with any job there are requirements that need to be met to get the job, so it should be the same thing with becoming a councillor (and for that matter, mayor and deputy-mayor too).

  • Politically Incorrect
    February 28, 2011 - 08:52

    I think that counsellors should not be paid at all. Why can't businesses and individuals, with the means to do so, buy seats on city council and appoint their own counsellors? Using this free market model the City will be 1) truly open for business; 2) counsellors won't be beholden to special interest groups (tree huggers, hippies, anti-development types, citizens, etc.); 3) building proposals will be passed without having to pander to the previous groups; 4) taxes will be lowered a couple of dollars without taxpayers having to pay these salaries; 5) we will be able to do away with expensive elections and; 6) we won't have to worry about counsellors who are always moaning about poverty, pesticides, culture, the environment (of the non-business variety), housing and families. This is how things were done a couple of hundred years ago and everyone (that mattered) loved it.

    • JT
      February 28, 2011 - 13:32

      I sincerely hope that line of reasoning was meant to be tongue in cheek.

    • Don
      March 01, 2011 - 06:07

      It is a "part-time" job. She, and other councillors new what they were getting into when they ran for election (unless they are stupid) . If they don't like the salary then they should quit , including the clown, Doc O'Keefe.

  • Keith
    February 28, 2011 - 08:42

    I am so sick and tired of these people poor mouthing about the salary they receive for positions they themselves requested. I wonder if any of the business people on council would feel if they advertised a position, it was filled and the person hired could vote themselves a raise. They would not be long in singing a different tune. You know the salary when you ran for the position and that is the salary you receive. The people of the city are the only ones who should be able to approve or disapprove any wage incres for the councilers of this city.

  • Trump or monkey
    February 28, 2011 - 08:29

    Oh the poor councillors do not get paid enough.It is such a hard job to answer e mails and use your blackberry all the time.Typical real estate agent always wanting more money.I am sorry Debbie Hanlon but you can not get paid full time wages for a job that is not full time.Has the use her blackberry and answer e mails, hahahah I am still on the floor laughing at that one.

  • Richard
    February 28, 2011 - 08:27

    Withdraw suport for crosswalk crossing guards and vote for a pay raise. SHAME SHAME SHAME ON WHOEVER VOTES FOR THE RAISE Most city councillors are paid too much now..

  • Taxpayer
    February 28, 2011 - 08:07

    Instead of picking a Clowncil meeting day when any Clowncillor who has not done their job is busy trying to catch up, why not take a Wednesday. Also in the summer they only have meetings every two weeks do you know of any employer who does that. Why is it that the Telegram is such buddy-buddys with Clowncil? Stories about Clowncil meetings are so poorly researched that you know it the reporter was at the whole meeting or if misinformation was given out at the meeting.

  • John Smith
    February 28, 2011 - 07:24

    NO, what it should be is volunteer. Don't give me that crap about attracting better people etc. Look at the dupes we have now, and they are getting nearly 40 grand a year for a part time job. This is why hanlon got into it. her business was failing, and I doubt if someone with her education could get a job at a maries minimart checkout. They are 5 million in the hole, the treatment plant is broken, the landfill is broken, we have to come up with 20 million for the Bay Bulls big pond fiasco. All this and this is what our councillors are spending their time thinking about. How can I suck more money from the public purse without doing any real work. Doc makes a hundred thou a year for taking a few trips, and Shannie spends her time buying expensive art. I say we fire the lot of them, they are useless, like she said all she does is direct your call to the right person, surely we can geta call center to do it cheaper. What a bunch of money grabbing morons.

  • Mindy
    February 28, 2011 - 07:23

    Sorry...I have had full time jobs as a childcare worker which got me a lot less money than your wage Ms. Hanlon. A job with a lot of responsibilities and no it did not finish when I went home,..programs to prepare and plan, reports to prepare and present.. As far as some of the matters mentioned that is the job..Mr. Galgay. Ms. Duff and others have been there for years so maybe before you got your foot in the door you should had spoke to these people, One matter that you mentioned is a pole light out ... give the person the number of the power company, the other a snowmoblier in airport hieghts..give them the number to persons in charge of such issues. These sound like very simple matters ... you cannot chase the snowmoblies, nor can you change the light. You are going to get these "calls" but that does not make it your problem. Most councillors have another source of income ... therefore it is a part-time job...and when you were starting in the real estate firm you mentioned I doubt if you had very much time free when you were climbing the ladder. So NO...No increase because if you get an increase that means I get an increase as a tax-payer and many people have not seen a wage increase to cover anymore costs that what they are bearing now.

  • Accountability is missing
    February 28, 2011 - 07:20

    Debbie Hanlon said: “I think it’s more work than I thought it would be,” she said. “I thought if I put in an issue (to staff), it would get straightened out. But what I (found) was you have to chase that issue.” If you have to chase down the issue then someone is not doing there job. What you need to start doing is making people accountable for the work they are given to do. It is that simple. If you got to hunt down if someone is doing what you are asking them to do then "Houston we have a problem".