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County council takes a 10 per cent salary rollback

"All sectors are going to be under close examination and scrutiny." Reeve Glen Ockerman

473ST. PAUL - One of the first orders of business for the newly elected members of the County of St. Paul council was to take a 10 per cent reduction in their base salaries.

Reeve Glen Ockerman said he was pleased to see the motion, brought to the table by Coun. Darrell Younghans at the organization meeting Oct. 25, saying it is a clear demonstration of the new council’s commitment to fiscal responsibility.

“I think it was this new council’s way of saying they are serious about fiscal responsibility, and they are going to try leading from the top down,” Ockerman later told Lakeland Today.

Just fresh off the election campaign, he believes the move speaks to the new council’s desire to lead by example.

“I think everyone is on the same page with that. We know there’s some tough decisions coming ahead. We’ve lost a pile of assessment. I think that was the starting place for this new council, and a good starting place.”

The 10 per cent reduction takes the reeve’s monthly base salary to $2,869. Coun. Maxine Fodness will fill the role of deputy reeve for the next year with a base salary of $2,473 monthly. The base pay for the rest of council is now $2,077 monthly, according to information from CAO Sheila Kitz.

The remaining remunerations and allowances for council, including committee meeting rates, will be discussed in the days ahead as the council begins the budgetary process.

Asked if the salary rollback for council is a hint of what is in store for county employee wages, Ockerman said nothing of that nature has been discussed at this point.

“Council hasn’t discussed that, but I think we are going to look at all sectors. All sectors are going to be under close examination and scrutiny. I’m not going to single out one,” he said.

“I think council is going to look at anything and see where we can try and stretch a buck and get more value for the dollar going forward because everybody is aware of the times and what we are going through.”

He said he has the sense fiscal responsibility is at the forefront of the minds of all council members.

“I’m not saying we’re not going to hopefully provide a good service and meet the services, but there’s also the fiscal responsibility.”

With only a week under their belts since being sworn in, Ockerman said the time has been spent in orientation and bringing everyone up to speed. However, with an interim 2022 budget needing to be in place prior to year’s end, the new council will be thrown into budget discussions very shortly.

“I’m only one of seven. I’m only the voice of seven, but what I heard from the other six councillors is they know we have some tough decisions ahead and I heard the comment made that ‘there’s lots of tough decisions financially but we still want to provide a good service’,” he said.

Clare Gauvreau

About the Author: Clare Gauvreau

Clare Gauvreau has worked for the St. Paul Journal for more than 20 years as a journalist, editor and publisher. In her role today as newspaper publisher she continues to contribute news and feature articles on a regular basis.
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