The size of London City Council won’t be changing anytime soon.
A motion by Deputy Mayor Paul Hubert to look into reducing the size of council was rejected Monday at City Hall.
Councillors voted 11-3 against Hubert’s motion at the Strategic Priorities and Policy Committee. Only Mayor Matt Brown and ward five councillor Maureen Cassidy supported Hubert’s motion.
The timing of Hubert’s motion was odd. A citizen’s group reviewing councillor pay is set to report back in early 2017. Their review does not include council size.
Cassidy said with London expected to grow, the role of councillor should as well.
“We expect it to grow, we say right in the London Plan that we expect it to grow by 70,000 people over the next few years. We’re going to be a full-time council, whether we are today or not, the city will get to a tipping point where you will not be able to do this job.”
Hubert’s proposal suggested reducing council from 14 councillors and the mayor to 10 councillors and the mayor. He also called for councillors to receive a raise.
Councillors currently make about $40,000, previous salary reviews have rejected making major changes to their pay.
With a review currently underway, ward 10 councillor Virginia Ridley said now wasn’t the time.
“I think the discussion is good, I’ve raised this as a discussion point in the past, but the timing is bad. The timing is bad for us to have a full-fledged discussion here and make statements which are going to impact the work of an arm’s length committee that we tasked. People who have volunteered their time, people who have significant jobs in the community who have spent their time working for us, for free, to answer some of these questions.”
Hubert had suggested if council were to make changes now, they would be ready for the next municipal election in the fall of 2018. However, by rejecting that call, any change in time for the next election is unlikely.
Council has already reduced its size once, removing Board of Control six years ago following a referendum. Council went from seven wards with two councillors per ward, four board of control members and the mayor to 14 wards with one councillors per ward and the mayor.
Ward six councillor Phil Squire said he doesn’t see any reason why that should change.
“I’m one of those councillors who has a job that I’m very proud of, I practice law and I’ve done it for over 30 years. I think I do a pretty good job as a councillor and I think I could continue to be a part-time councillor.”