Small-town politicians say pandemic has increased job demand and vitriol Pipa News

Small-town politicians say pandemic has increased job demand and vitriol

Politicians in big cities like Ottawa have said the last term was tough for them, but those in smaller community councils – where members are just a phone call away from their constituents – say the strain of the past four years has been particularly trying. Is.

“You’re in the public eye no matter where you go. You’re in the corner shops, you’re in Canadian Tires, you’re in the coffee shops,” said Rick Dumas, mayor of Marathon, Ont., a small northern. The city of Ontario is located 300 kilometers east of Thunder Bay.

“No one wants to run away because the responsibility of the mayor and council is too much and a lot of people don’t realize it.”

CBC compiled data from 414 municipalities holding elections for 2022 and compared that information to data provided by the province from 2018 and 2014.

The number of candidates running for the municipal office is dwindling and there are more council members who are running unopposed.


Admired Dumas ahead of the October 24 election says municipal governments bear the brunt of local fires even when stemming from provincial or federal decisions – the COVID-19 pandemic being a prime example.

“I experienced attacks personally, in public, in the community, on the street as well as through social media,” Dumas said.

Even the past four years felt more like an eight for the route Isbester.

After a stint as mayor of Greater Napey Town, west of Kingston, Isbester, 71, stepped down. She cut her first retirement to become town councilor in 2010, but she was unprepared for how extensive the work would be and how COVID would increase the burden.

“It got very controversial and it wasn’t just trying to protect [people], It was trying to fight those who were against security.”

Time consuming ‘if you do this job properly’

Both Isbéster and Dumas get themselves in trouble for incidents unrelated to COVID: Dumas responding to a Facebook post criticizing her yelling and yelling at her critic’s door, and Ibster threatening to burn down someone’s house. Granted, an incident for which he had to apologize.

“I’m one of those mayors, stupidly at times, who will pick up the phone and say ‘Do you know how far along you are with that? he said.

The trouble of dealing with the “keyboard warriors” did not lead to Isberger’s exit. Instead, a genuine desire to retire coupled with increasingly complex demands on municipal governments put them out for good, she said.

“If you do this job properly, traveling is a lot harder to make sure you’re taking advantage of watching grandchildren’s football games,” she said.

“Throw Covid into the mix and really the word, not just myself as the mayor, but everyone, missed a lot of things.”

‘Don’t know when to call’

Isbestor’s departure opened the door for Terry Richardson, a retired police officer who was serving his first term as councillor.

Richardson submitted his name to be mayor and won without casting a vote – one of 139 mayors across the province, or Reeves, who have been lauded this year.

Richardson was surprised to be lauded as mayor of a city of nearly 17,000 people, but understands that the job may not be lucrative.

He clocked in for 30 hours a week as a councilor – earning just over $19,000 – and said it’s not even a regular nine to five workdays.

“You never know when the phone is going to ring,” he said. “You deal with a lot of information where people are angry about things, and you try and help them as much as you can. You feel like you have a lot of control in what happens and sometimes you Really don’t.”

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One in three candidates running for mayor or reeve in Ontario has been lauded. The incoming mayors of Brockville and Mississippi Mills weigh in on what they might say about interest in local politics.

Higher salaries can help diversify councils: Mayor

Zack Spicer, an associate professor at the University of York who focuses on local government, says the role of municipal councils extends beyond just the streets.

“They’re complex organizations that are under a tremendous amount of pressure on the regulatory front, on the financial front, and you need people who are able to think about that,” Spicer said.

Dumas says that raising the salaries of council members would help deal with a barrier to entering municipal politics, which is that councils are largely the domain of retirees and business owners who have double duty to pull. Time and financial flexibility.

Richardson, the newly-approved mayor of Greater Napenny, says he has clocked in for 30 hours over the course of a few weeks as a city councillor. (courtesy terry richardson)

Richardson, who is on a police pension and has overtime, agrees that “not many people have that ability.”

He doesn’t think hiking is the answer to council members’ salaries.

“You get into this profession for the love of the community,” he said.


as well as this week

monday: How many congratulations are there this year?

Wednesday, The challengers are pushing to stop the praises at their local ride.

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