Councillor’s position headed to full-time in future, says mayor

The job of a Red Deer City councillor will become a full-time position in the future, predicts Red Deer’s mayor.

“We clearly are moving in that direction,” said Mayor Morris Flewwelling. “This was something that started to be raised before the election with the previous council.

“We’re looking at the time commitment and the rigor that council goes through. We’re in a lot of business and it’s a big outfit and the budget numbers are huge – both capital and operating. I see us moving more and more to a full-time council.”

Flewwelling added since the election in October, council has met at least twice a week for some type of meeting or workshop.

In addition to regular meetings, Flewwelling and council attend about 650 events a year, he said.

“It is really heavy duty,” said Flewwelling. “The next election will clinch the deal and I believe council will go full-time.”

He added councillors now have an office space at City Hall to work in, something that is relatively new as previously councillors worked from home.

Councillor Buck Buchanan agreed it’s time for the council position to be full-time.

“We talk about being the third largest city in Alberta so I think it’s time to start transitioning to a full-time council,” he said.

Buchanan added he believes having councillors present at City Hall during daytime hours would be a benefit to the community.

“People can come in a talk to us and it’s a little more laid back,” he said. “I think it’s something we need to look at implementing.”

Councillor Paul Harris, who is currently serving his first term on council after being elected in October’s election, said the position is already a full-time one.

“We are working 40 to 50 hours a week right now on council alone,” he said.

Harris added there would be a benefit to the community if the job was full-time.

“I think it would attract quality people to the position,” he said. “We have good quality people now but not everyone has the luxury to have a business where they can come and go from.

“I think it’s an issue that needs some serious discussion.”