Councillor Séguin asking for Citizen involvement

In her Coordinator’s report at Monday’s Council meeting, Suzanne Séguin said that work on getting the Cultural Master Plan created is getting under way. This plan is expected to shape the future of culture in Cobourg and is long awaited. It will require a steering committee of citizens who have an arts/cultural involvement/expertise and Suzanne asked that anyone interested should contact her at [email protected]

Councillor Suzanne Seguin
Councillor Suzanne Séguin

In a letter to Council, residents Simon and Emily Chorley said that the remuneration Ad Hoc committee should have at least one female member but has none. In response, John Henderson said that the members were appointed by several advisory committees and any females nominated had declined. However, there is room for a seventh member so Suzanne Séguin moved that Council open nominations to the public for this additional member. She wanted the selection to be based on merit so declined to specify that the extra member be female.  The motion passed.

The six members of the committee selected so far are:

  1. George Kamphorst – Cobourg Heritage Advisory Committee
  2. Terry Stopps – Planning and Sustainability Advisory Committee
  3. Stanley Frost – Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee
  4. Bruce Bellaire – Environmental / Active Transportation Advisory Committee
  5. Richard Riley – Cobourg Economic Development Advisory Committee
  6. Eugene Maynard – Cobourg Accessibility Advisory Committee

A notice will be placed in Northumberland News in the next week or so and interested applicants should apply then. The Town’s web site has directions on how to apply for committee vacancies here

John Henderson said he hopes that the committee’s work will be completed before election nominations close so that potential councillors know what the compensation will be.

Update – February 26, 2018

At tonight’s Council meeting, Dylis Robertson was named as the additional member of the remuneration Ad Hoc committee.  Only one application was received.


Motion to review Council pay – January 14, 2018


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6 years ago

You better start finding people that Care instead of those with nothing better to do than join a cause
Like Save Sidbrook and alike . In fact most seniors like easy living , modern amenities ,
clean services at our finger tips or on demand . We have come to enjoy the benefits of decluttering
now that most of Cobourg has become Empty Nesters .
Most of the seniors & retirees in my neighbourhood do not Buy on King st Yes they Shop but not Buy

In fact the number of UPS , Purolator and Postal delivery Trucks around here has gone through the roof
and I live in a down town neighbourhood of mostly old families that talk the talk and join the socially correct cause , but sure don’t put their money where their mouths are They don’t Buy Local.
Everyone has discovered the Benefits of On Line Shopping especially the senior population.
The same thing goes for tire old causes the young generation has a different set of needs , wants and values
Culture in a Multi Cultural , and Native Canadian Aboriginal Country is questionable .
Heck we are tearing down History , Statues , and renaming sports teams , and eliminating the National Anthem
and Christmas from all aspects of Canadian Public Life and we let it happen in the name of Politically correct .

6 years ago

Posting this again because the post I put up at 8am this morning did not appear, or disappeared.

Meritocracy and representative input are two different kinds of cat. You want the best healthcare people then obviously whatever age and gender those deliverers are doesn’t matter, same as for the people who fix your car.

But, in this case where advise and opinion are being sought for representatives of our community meritocracy is a misguided principle. You cannot rely on the same echo chamber provided by six older males (owm). When deciding how much Council should be paid cannot be left to any single demographic no matter how qualified they may be, in whatever subject is the best, to decide on Council pay levels. Of course the present bunch of Pols are no different from the rest of the Pols elected in the past twenty years – all afraid to tell the truth about the workload and corresponding pay levels and want to lay off the responsibility of this job to others. That is why it is important to have a representative committee.

If we want informed opinion from all segments of the community you need to listen to all groups and all groups should be represented on this committee. As Walter says the opinion of a volunteer senior is going to be different from an interested twenty-something who, at the moment cannot donate volunteer part time labour to Council – should that disqualify her – of course not. Why are we ignoring the placement of the majority of the population – a woman. Obviously it is because a couple of people on this Council “want the best”!!!

Well how about this, the best person to speak for a millennial is a millennial, the best person for a senior is a senior, and let me put this forward amid the anticipated slings and arrows the best person to represent a female is a female the best person to speak for access is a person that needs access, the best person to speak for transit is a person who needs transit.

In this day and age of “Because it is 2015!” it is unacceptable for the female perspective not to be represented by a female. And believe it or not females have opinions about politicians pay – all the owms should talk to their partners and find out what they really think.

Walter Luedtke
6 years ago

Love the ageist sneer in ‘old boys club”.
Fact is the old folks, retirees, “old boys and girls” are the mainstay of the municipal world – its boards. committees. volunteer groups, arts and sports organizations and Town Council itself.
Why is that?
Because Seniors are cheap. They do the work for nothing or next to nothing.
Rather than worry about the male/female ratio, worry about the age distribution.
And start by paying Councillors a decent honorarium so that folks who still need to earn a living can afford to run for office.

Greg H
Reply to  Walter Luedtke
6 years ago

“Old Boys Club” is not a sneer, nor is about ageism.

The Oxford dictionary explains: old boys’ network, mutual assistance , esp. preferment in employment , shown among old boys or others with a shared social background .

Therefore “old boys club” refers to exclusivity.

Perhaps if women, especially former councillors, were appointed to the compensation committee they could explain the frustration of working long hours for very little pay, and recommend higher pay for councillors. Or would this be too upsetting for the status quo?

Miriam Mutton
6 years ago

John D. clarification if you can. I heard that the respective advisory committee chairs were asked to join the ad hoc committee on council remuneration first, then, alternatively, that the chairs seek nominations from their respective committees to appoint a member.

And, I think one question the committee should ask as part of its research, what barriers to participation exist?You write above ‘any females nominated had declined’ – big red warning flag, that is.

Any advisory committee to Council should reflect community diversity. And, how to define ‘merit’, what are the defining job descriptors for a person chosen to review Council remuneration? Were these attributes posted?

Glad to see that a young couple, both working parents, devoted time in their busy lives to address the issue of representation on council’s advisory committee, that it needed to better reflect diversity of the community. Their letter is a reminder and I expect will make the Ad Hoc Committee’s and Council’s work on the matter even better for future councils.

Reply to  Miriam Mutton
6 years ago

Hey Miriam – honestly I don’t know what I’m missing here. Both you and Greg below appear to be suggesting ‘imposing’ some form of affirmative action. I’m not blind to the inequalities (of all sorts) that exist. However, when the Chairs/Deputy Mayor says that females nominated “had declined” what red warning do you see here? Their declining could be for personal, professional reasons. If they had accepted and then somehow felt they could not serve that would be a different matter, would involve a discussion of the barriers to participation you imply above. Are you suggesting the Chairs/Deputy Mayor are misrepresenting the fact(s)?

Miriam Mutton
Reply to  gerinator
6 years ago

Barriers to participation can be recognized in advance, especially if a person has related experiences, so on that point I, in general, differ from your view.

The selection process for committee members would have been better opened to the public in addition to inviting members of existing advisory committees, if Council felt there was value in the perspective of existing committee members. Council’s rational for limiting committee membership to existing members of select Council advisory committees is unclear.

Accommodation to enable participation is also a requirement. If a nominated person (usually a person gives their consent to be nominated) declines, then a barrier has been raised (to your point). If it is fact that ‘any females nominated had declined’ … that certainly should raise concern which needs to be addressed. Hope this helps clarify my first post.

Reply to  Miriam Mutton
6 years ago

Thanks for the clarification. Not sure I’m totally on side. In my mind existing Committee members are a known quantity; potentially more aware of what is going on; potentially more familiar with the players involved. However, I do see your point re if nominated (agreed to represent) and then declined seems strange. I wonder if there was any pre-agreement reached prior to their nominations, then caught by surprise, they declined. Anyway no quarrel with the notion that diversity will bring about a better result.

Reply to  gerinator
6 years ago

The question here is “Why only should the members of this committee come from Advisory Committees?”

Greg H
6 years ago

It is not acceptable in 2018 for any Town Committee to be 100% male.
The response that “members were appointed by several advisory committees and any females nominated had declined “ is reminiscent of associations that defended a lack of women or people of colour because “they have never applied”.
It is indeed unfortunate that nomination by advisory committees has failed in this, so perhaps the method of selection should be changed. 100% male committees do not live up to Cobourg’s claim to be “the feel good town”, but classify Cobourg as “still run by the old boys club”.

I suggest that the town should have a rule that any set of committees, or employees, should be at least 30% male and at least 30% female. I am sure that this could be accomplished while adhering to the policy that only qualified people are chosen.

Reply to  Greg H
6 years ago

I just had minor day surgery yesterday at our hospital and the whole team and support staff were female. In fact, the only male I saw from the time I walked in the front door to the nice lady who wheeled me out, was another patient. I couldn’t have cared less if they were all male, female, robots, “of colour” or any mix of the above. I was glad that they were a very competent, thorough team and I’m sure the best that NHH could put together. I have the exact same feelings about any of our town committees. Don’t care who/what they are as long as they are the best we can get.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Frenchy
6 years ago

I noticed the same thing in health services, not just at NHH, but two other hospitals (Oshawa, Bomanville) as well. I was well-served by competent human beings, er uh, peoplekind. Meritocracy first and foremost.