Calgary Minute: Ward Gerrymandering, Corporate Welfare, and Golden Handshakes
Calgary Minute - Your weekly one-minute summary of Calgary politics.
This Week In Calgary:
Today there is a Combined Meeting of Council where, in addition to deferring the civic census, receiving water utility and waste recycling reports, and hearing a lot of land use amendments, council will also begin the process of gerrymandering their own Wards for the next election.
On Tuesday, there will be a meeting of the Green Line Committee, where Committee members will be discussing alignment options and technical risks for the massive project which is already well over budget and running behind schedule.
- On Wednesday, both the Standing Policy Committee on Transportation and Transit and the Standing Policy Committee on Utilities and Corporate Services will be meeting, while on Thursday, there will be a Calgary Planning Commission meeting.
Last Week In Calgary:
- Premier Kenney took a shot at Mayor Naheed Nenshi over Calgary's misguided philosophy on attracting job creators, stating that, "Constantly raising property taxes is not an investment promotion strategy. When I’m sitting across from investors … and I explain to them they can immediately save by moving operations to this province on their business tax rate, that is compelling."
- The Golden Handshakes plot thickened at City Hall. These retirement allowances for City staff cost around $10,000 per employee and, apparently, there is no record of Council approving the practice that has been in place since the early 1960s. Many Councillors are particularly frustrated by this discovery as they've repeatedly asked administration to look to find areas where the City can save money, and this has never been mentioned in spite of the practice being controversial, costly, and wasteful.
- Councillor Farkas also wants the City to end transition pay for elected officials that leave office. Farkas said, "my preferred position — and the one that I've taken by declining the transition allowance myself — is to say that these golden handshakes at city hall, whether they're for staff or elected officials, they need to be ended immediately." He also noted that councillors should be leading by example as they aim to terminate the golden handshake practice for City staff.
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