Tuesday 31 May 2011

Glenn Taylor: Mayor or Party Leader Can He Be Both???

Well Monday morning has come and gone. Glenn Taylor, new leader of the Alberta Party has not stepped down as Mayor of Hinton. I listened to him on Rob Breakenridge last night on QR77 last night and Glenn has made it clear he will be staying on as Mayor at least for now.

To me it is pretty straight forward that someone who has been elected as the leader of a party; should not also hold another elected, non-partisan position that is paid for by the taxpayers. Glenn justifies it by saying his role a Mayor is “part-time” and that realistically at this point the role of leader is also “part-time”.

Here is a quote from the interview where Rob asks Glenn about stepping down:

Well, I haven’t resigned from it yet and there’s discussion to come with my council and my community about what the transition plan will look like. Course most mayors in Alberta, the smaller municipal level are expected to have to have part-time jobs. And the mayor’s roles are usually based on the meetings you attend and a small honorarium for the work that you do in between. So really they expect you to have a part-time job. And I guess when you really look at it, the Alberta Party at this point as we are building, is still a part-time job. But there is a transition plan that needs to be built and I will do that with my council and my community.

I’m not sure what this “transition” plan is all about. We have Municipal Acts and Election Acts in Alberta that cover what happens when a Mayor steps down. I’m fairly confident his council will support whatever Glenn and the Alberta Party want to do. After all every one of them is an Alberta Party member; the deputy mayor is even on the local Constituency Association for the Alberta Party. This information was obtained from Glenn’s own website. Here is a screenshot of it. (Click on image to enlarge)

I’m very interested in Glenn’s definition of “part-time” and of “small honorarium”. To me part-time is roughly 50% of normally work week, so 20 hours. Anything less than that, one would be inclined to say “very part-time”. And a small honorarium to me sounds like a token amount; an amount that likely someone wouldn’t be able to support themselves on, especially since Glenn adds that they “expect you to have other part-time work.”

I’ve searched Hinton’s website and was unable to find any reference to the total time commitment for council. There indeed are two regularly scheduled council meetings and two standing committee meetings each month. And with the “work in between” as Glenn described, I think it’s very likely the Mayors job could only take 20 hours a week.

What I did find this though, the 2010 audited financial statements for the town of Hinton. If you go to page #21 you will find this.

As you can see the salary includes honoraria, however it also includes base pay, bonuses, overtime, lump sum payments and any other direct cash remuneration. In Glenn’s case it totaled $46,533.00 last year; not including benefits. That works out to nearly $45.00 per hour, not bad for a part-time job.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying he’s not worth it or that we shouldn’t pay elected officials fairly. But I do have an issue with them presenting it to the public as a “small” amount. There are many working families out there struggling to make that type of income. To have an elected official brush it off as a “small amount, requiring a second part-time job” is insulting.

You can listen to the entire interview in the QR77 audio vault.
May 30, 2011
9:00 PM

Link to Hinton's 2010 Financial Statements

UPDATE:  I've received a message that approximately one third (1/3) of the Mayors salary is tax free. That would be $15,509.00 TAX FREE.

Follow up to this post is located here.


  1. Ah Jane I do love you.

  2. In response to your direct request for my opinion, a simple answer to your opening question is YES. Mr. Taylor clearly states his transition is yet to come. All new changes in office have a transition period. Would you have been happy if he'd said 'I will transition in accordance with Municipal and Elections Acts'? What would it take for you to have not questioned his transition?

    I am not saying you shouldn't ask, but I wonder if you really want answers or are just offering up fodder.

    It seems to me, if you are seeking answers, a direct communication with Glenn Taylor, or the Hinton Town council would be more productive.

    BTW, your UPDATE is NOT note worthy - MLA's also receive 1/3 of their remuneration TAX FREE - a whopping 26K - but I'm sure you know that.

    The Alberta Party is under way, and will move forward.

  3. I think the more ethically thing for him to do is step down immediately. There are deputy mayors and councilors for a reason. Other towns and cities have managed "transition" quite well without the need for a drawn out process. After all....its only a "part-time" role.

    I've tagged Glenn several times on Twitter, he hasn't responded. He is also free to respond here. I don't expect him to; he has publicly made his position clear.

    Yes, I'm genuinely interested in what you and other Alberta Party members think about this situation. I'm very curious first if they understand the ethics and optics of this. And second if any of them have the nerve to publicly speak out about it.

    Thanks for the blogging advice, however I never assume my readers know the same things I do. In this particular case it was something I wasn't aware of and felt if was worth an update. If I had known it, I would have included it in my original post.

  4. When does it become unethical to be a party's representative\candidate and a municipal politician at the same time?

    Or is that just if you're a party's leader -- not a lowly candidate in a riding, say?

  5. I'll admit I'm no expert on ethics cases, but I suspect the people of Hinton would speak out if they felt strongly enough about the dual role of their Mayor.

    From what I understand Mr. Taylor has done very well for Hinton, with a mindset similar to that of the Alberta Party long before he was a member. I am alluding to 'alignment'. I also believe individuals on town council have supported the Alberta Party by becoming members, and what ever else they may be doing. I suspect the people there believe in Glenn too.

    I would be curious to know if there are indeed similar cases where a municipal politician took on a partisan role and stepped down the instant the vote was counted. I'm reminded of Kent Hehr running for Mayor and keeping his MLA status, - different yes, he would have stepped down had he have won, but there still would have been a transition period. I still make the case for accepting that.

    I'm understanding your issue with it is more the length of time with no clear date. I think 'looking in' there are perceived ethics concerns, and 'being in', there are acceptable circumstances. Though that can be a dangerous statement, so lets keep it as it applies to this exchange please.

    I see your genuine interest, why not issue a direct invite to others in the #abparty stream?

    With respect, tagging Glenn easily missed for two reasons: 1) at this moment Glenn only on Twitter once today. 2)None of your tags would really lead to a response as none of them talked to him directly, rather about him. IMO.

    Not meaning to advise you on blogging especially since mine is the 'micro' kind, but I guess we can both agree that we learned something about tax free renumeration, and it's interesting to me that an approximate 30% across the board seems to be standard. Like you - an educational hobby.

    Have waxed on enough, regards....

  6. Ethics and optics, both perhaps compromised, are an important matter that we, in the party, must not be afraid to address. But I believe that for the Alberta Party, which clearly needs an incredible amount of party building and other work to be done, we have unwittingly just elected a part time leader.

    I don't recall seeing/hearing Mr. Taylor say that he would be part time prior to the election. The words were closer to 'I'm ready to roll up my sleeves'. I guess we should have asked, 'Both? Or just one..'
    My vote may have been different. The ideas in the party are amazing, as are the people and their goals for a better Alberta. Both deserve better attention. I believe in Glenn's abilities, hence my vote, but how serious are we? I wonder. Now is the time to show us if the boat we are on has a captain or is running on GPS.

  7. Thanks for the questions and comments. I will be addressing some of these in my next blog entry.

  8. I was hoping that someone in leadership of the Alberta Party could address the ethics of Chima Nkemdirim endorsing Glenn as party leader. For all the candidates to have had a fair chance, shouldn't he had stayed impartial? His endorsement would be comparable to the influence that Oprah has when she decides she likes something. This could have been a reason some of the voters stayed away.

    Glenn might have won anyway, because he has been known longer, but at least all of us would have known he won fairly.

  9. I share the concern with endorsements coming from the board of the party one week prior to the leadership convention. It turned me off, literally. I ended up not voting. It felt like a typical election with no point. Disappointing.

    There were two main thoughts that I had when I saw the endorsements: 1)why should leadership candidates feel they had to focus on 'campaigning' to the to the top of a 'bottom up' party? Did they all know that was 'the game'? Perhaps its not really bottom up after all? 2) If multiple 'brass' are endorsing just one candidate (it wasn't just Chima) in an orchestrated way, why should I vote? It looked like a done deal to me.

    This party is talking about being different. But it doesn't act that way always. It would be good to see the board actually address these discussions. The silence is deafening to me. Odd that the 'conversation' is happening here.(thanks for the space Jane) Odd that all of these comments are having to come from anonymous posters as well. Hmmmm.

  10. As party Leader, Mr Taylor should be gearing up ready to not sit as Mayor, but sit in the Legislature of Alberta. Even to contest successfully in a bi-election, you have to be a) ready and B) full-time confident. I move that the Alberta Party ask Mr Taylor to make up his mind who he is going to serve, otherwise they should pass an amendment to the party rules and put in Sue Huff - not as interim, but as the real Leader and inspiration to the Alberta Party.