Long Days Ahead

Does seven and-a-half hours constitute a long workday?
It’s a question the MRC council of mayors debated at their last council meeting on Nov. 22.
One of the top priorities of the council – as many of them noted in their campaigns – is to drive economic development in the Pontiac.
One of the ways this council wants to do that is to spend more time in their own municipalities dealing with pressing local matters; while also cutting down on commutes to the MRC offices in Campbell’s Bay.
Each mayor is reimbursed for their travel costs associated with commuting to and from the MRC offices, which is one way to cut down on expenses.
The only hang-up: this would mean mayors would have to spend more time at the MRC offices on the days they are there.
The MRC council has traditionally met on the third Tuesday of each month at 9 a.m. One of the proposals at the most recent council meeting was to move the public meeting to 6:30 in order to allow more citizens to attend.
This would mean that mayors who sit on one of the MRC committees would have to meet on the same day as council meetings if they want to cut down on travel costs.
The committee meetings would start at 1:30 p.m. Then the plenary meeting would start at 3:00 p.m. and end at 5:30. The mayors would then get an hour-long dinner, followed by the council meeting which would run from 6:30 until 9 p.m.
When the schedule was broken down for those at the table, Shawville Mayor Sandra Murray said that would make the day too long.
If mayors start at 1:30 p.m. and go until 9 p.m., that amounts to a total of 7.5 hours – with an hour-long dinner.
That’s a standard working day for most people – especially for those in the Pontiac who have long commutes to and from the city.
At a time when many people in the Pontiac have to commute to the city for jobs – eight hour days with an hour commute each way – it seems tone deaf to suggest that a seven and-a-half-hour day is too long.
Since the work still needs to get done, the only way the mayors can cut back on their commutes to the MRC offices is if they put in longer hours. Either that, or the work doesn’t get done.
With a newly-elected council of mayors representing the fourth poorest MRC in Quebec, people in the region have high expectations for their elected representatives.
Those elected representatives need to keep that in mind.

Chris Lowrey

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