Former city mayor Charles Gosling
Former city mayor Charles Gosling

Right move, bad timing — that’s the opinion of a former mayor on payments for elected city officials.

Five of the City of Hamilton’s nine elected officials reportedly voted this week for a $375 payment for monthly corporation meetings.

The Royal Gazette reported that Councillors and aldermen will also be paid $175 for attending various committee meetings, understood to take place six times a month.

The payments could be backdated to the start of the current elected administration, in May 2012.

Former city mayor Charles Gosling says councillors and aldermen should be paid. “I have stated that a number of times when I’ve run for election. I am pleased with this current vote they’ve just done, as they were looking at it on a ‘per meeting’ basis rather than paying themselves with salaries during the course of the year.

“However, I don’t think they could have chosen a worse time. And I also feel it is something that should have been done for an upcoming group (the next elected Board), rather than a reward for themselves. I think it could be seen as self-serving.”

Mr Gosling also commented on the ratification of the Municipalities Act 2013 this week. “I think it was inevitable,” he said.

Did he agree with accusations that Government is trying to gain power over city revenue? “I don’t think that’s necessarily the intent; I just feel it was not good legislation. The powers have been taken away from the corporation. Yes, Parliament requires oversight of the corporation, but not to the extent as set out in this Act.

“There is an imbalance in the relationship at the moment; the corporation doesn’t receive commitment from Government back, in terms of timely responses to requests for ordinance and other matters of importance.”

Mr Gosling described Government’s right to approve the waterfront lease, as permitted under the Act, as “a fait accompli”.