Up to $125,000 will be allocated from the General Operating Reserve to hire a third party to perform an analysis of the time council members spend on their duties in their roles as elected officials for official municipal matters.

The decision came after a notice of motion was submitted by Councillor Heather Spearman who said that she felt it was important to gauge how much time councillors spend performing their duties.

"... So, that we can provide that to people that may be running in the future and it will shape our recommendations of our roles in the future, or how those mid-term increases or decreases should look for council, as they're addressed midterm every four years," she added.

Councillor Spearman underlined that the Mayor would not be included in the analysis as his role is a full-time role. She underlined that the notice of motion reflected the growth of obligation council members have with an ever-expanding city populace.

"I know I'm putting in a lot more hours now than I expected when I took on the role and I knew coming into the role that it was going to be a heavy load," she said.

Though for the most part, councillors said that the analysis would be beneficial, there were questions surrounding the scope of the analysis as well as the associated price tag.

Although up to $125,000 was allocated, Charlotte Satink, with the City noted during the council meeting, that costs for hiring third parties for such a task can vary widely, with the lowest cost estimated at $70,000. 

While Deputy Mayor Al Jones said such an analysis would be beneficial, especially for future councillors, he said that the price tag for such an analysis gave him pause.

"I don't like to spend money... but I think it might be a necessary evil."

Councillor Candice Kolson agreed with the issue of pricing on the analysis, as well as how much time such an analysis would take. She said that she felt Airdrie's councillors should not be considered a full-time position.

"I think we get compensated well enough for the hours that are being put in and of course, there's a spectrum of hours. Those members of council that choose to volunteer on boards that are not mandatory, like what you had mentioned your worship [Mayor Peter Brown] with Alberta Municipalities [ABMunis], FCM (Federation of Canadian Municipalities), those types of things should not be lumped into this," Councillor Kolson said. "A lot of those things are voluntary, or some members of council have the flexibility to go to every single community event and then some, while others don’t, and some have full-time jobs, and some don't."

Kolson said that in her view, such an analysis would be better spent looking at what the job entails and what city staff requires of councillors.

"We are the gatekeepers of a multi-million-dollar organization, so, we need to be available to help and assist our staff and making decisions and be available to attend meetings and to attend what I think is the really important stuff," she added. "Yes, community events are important... but at the end of the day, the meat and potatoes of what we need to do is right here, at this table. It is not how many times, how many events, how many grand openings you can go to. It's really about making the decisions that affect everybody."

Councillor Spearman said the goal of an analysis would not be for any recommendations.

"Because I don't think we're asking for whether we go full-time or are increasing the pay," she said. "We're just asking for a snapshot of what this role looks like, so, that going forward, we can paint that picture, in true transparency to anybody who's looking at being on council in the future or to anybody who has questions about what it is that we do."

It was made clear that remuneration would not be part of the analysis.

“Council is not asking us to do a review at all of that remuneration policy now or in the future, so, we're not going to look at that at all correct,” Satink clarified.

The original notice of motion document stated that a draft candidate information package for council’s review would be ready before the start of the nomination period on January 1, 2025, of the next general municipal election. 

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