Full-time or part-time? Lethbridge residents discuss work for city councillors

Residents in Lethbridge come to round table discussion on if council should start part time or start working full time. Sarah Komadina

To work full-time or part-time? It’s a discussion Lethbridge residents had Thursday night about the hours city councillors should work.

Led by an independent consultant, a citizens’ assembly met with the public to discuss council’s employment and compensation. The assembly has already met twice.

The assembly is made up of a group of 36 randomly selected residents from various parts of the city and it’s split evenly between men and women.

“We sent out 5,000 letters to randomly selected households and about 600 residents in Lethbridge indicated either their willingness to volunteer, participate or their desire to find out more information and maybe come to meeting like tonight,” Peter McLeod, consultant and citizens’ assembly chair, said.

“The sorts of things people are talking about are the sorts of things you would encounter if you went to a coffee shop or your local mall.”

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Through four education and information sessions, they are tasked with returning to council with a recommendation on appropriate hours and wage for city councillors. Right now, councillors could be paid over $44,000 a year.

“It’s interesting to get different perspectives on how people see council and things they really appreciate, it’s really unique in that sense,” Kim Ordway, an assembly member, said.

Participants at the public round table meeting learned about the work of Lethbridge city councillors, considered their workload and appropriate compensation and gave input to members of the citizen assembly.

The assembly will have one last meeting on Saturday. Members will return to city council in November with a recommendation on the appropriate hours of work and compensation councillors.  The feedback gathered at the public round table meeting will be used to help inform that recommendation.

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