- Published on Thursday, 13 February 2014 06:56
- Written by Michele Scott
Drumheller Mayor and Town Council will receive a three per cent pay increase retroactive to January 1, 2013.
Council approved the policy that incorporated the recommendations of the Remuneration Committee at Monday’s Town Council meeting.
The committee was appointed after the municipal election in October, and reported back to Council with the recommended increase, as well as a three per cent increase effective January 1, 2014, and a three point five per cent increase effective January 1, 2015. For their remaining terms of service, the Mayor and Council receive annual increases as per the negotiated Union Agreements for Local 4604 and Local 135, with an average between the two amounts if they vary.
The Committee findings state that the remuneration puts the Mayor and Council in line with other municipalities of a similar size.
The Committee also looked at compensation for Mayor and Council’s time and expenses they incur attending meetings, conferences and town-related business both at home and away.
The $250 per day per diem rate is now clarified as four continuous hours of meetings.
“We certainly appreciate the recommendations by the committee, who are trying to be as fair as possible, while still being accountable to taxpayers, as we are,” stated Councillor Jay Garbutt.
Former Councillor from 2010 to 2013 Doug Stanford disagrees with the review, and thinks it should be handled differently, with the previous council reviewing and approving any remuneration changes for the mayor or council before the election.
”When you go into elected office, you know what you’re getting ahead of time, that’s what you get.”
Stanford’s opinion is they make enough right now - not a bunch, but enough.
“When you go into that office, you shouldn’t be there for the money.”
Andrew Berdahl also served on Town Council, from 2007 to 2013.
“My initial response is the retroactive pay is probably necessary - three per cent is on par with both union and administration for the last few years.”
As for the three and half percent raise for 2015, Berdahl has looked at other contracts - provincial and otherwise - that he’s seen come in under the three point five.
Mayor Terry Yemen’s thoughts on the pay - “I’m happy with it. They looked at comparable communities and they compared size and budget, and we’re dead center. I think compensation for mayor is fair and compensation for councillors is light.”
- Published on Wednesday, 12 February 2014 20:54
- Written by Pat Kolafa | © DrumhellerMail.com
Pinky Molyneux captured this rare image of a Lynx spotted near her home in Nacmine. She sighted the animal wandering across the lawn and standing in her driveway last Sunday. The cat wandered through her neighbour's yard and then through her own. before disappearing over the riverbank. She says they have seen paw prints before, but this was the first time they viewed the animal.
- Published on Wednesday, 12 February 2014 10:35
- Written by Pat Kolafa | © DrumhellerMail.com
Cattle seized from an area ranch have been returned to a property east of Drumheller.
inSide Drumheller broke the story in its January 17 edition that cattle were seized from a property known to be owned by the Graham family by the Alberta Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Spokesperson for the ASPCA Roland Lines said at the time of seizure they were taken because of welfare concerns.
The Mail has since learned that on Thursday, February 6 the animals had been returned.
“We negotiated terms for return of the cattle with the owners,” said Lines. “Amongst the terms, our officers looked at the property to be assured that liquid water was available. In addition, before we returned the cattle, we saw they had plowed an area and put out feed. Also, as part of the terms of the return, we will be looking for ongoing feed."
He said a veterinarian assessed the cattle before they were loaded, and also on the property when they were unloaded to assess the condition.
Lines said they seized 129 cattle from the property. Of that, 114 were returned, some cattle were sold, and two cattle perished during the ordeal.
In the process there was also a calf born.
John Barry Graham confirmed with The Mail the cattle were returned.
He said that while his name has been attached to this and other investigations, he does not own any of the cattle involved. In fact, they are owned by the estate of his late father and mother, which has not been settled. He says he does not personally own any livestock involved in these cases, and was not in charge of their care.
He said the cost of the seizure was in the area of $35,000 and the family has not been asked to pay. He also clarified that it was the family’s decision to sell a number of cattle while they were being held. These would have been older cows that were not pregnant.
He also disputes that the cattle were in poor shape.
“Why would they send them back free of charge?” asks Graham. “The fact of the matter is taxpayers of Alberta are once again left on the hook for the $35,000 seizure,” said Graham.
He explains they had their own veterinarian assess the cattle while they were being held. Using a standard scoring process to grade animal health, he said only two were scored at 2.5 out of five. The majority was scored 3.5 and more scored higher.
“There was no reason to move these animals,” said Graham.
Lines said at this point, there have been no charges laid.