Meaford votes against allowing spouses to eat free 0
There won't be any free meals for spouses who go with Meaford councillors to out-of-town conferences.
While some at Monday's meeting appeared to find the request bizarre, it took a close 4-3 council vote to ditch Deputy-mayor Harley Greenfield's pitch.
Greenfield said his wife functions as "my personal secretary" and spends as much as 90 minutes a week fielding phone calls and taking messages. So two or three meals a year, for a likely total of maybe $300 for all council spouses, shouldn't be too much to ask, Greenfield said.
"All of our spouses play a role in the governance of the municipality," he told council. "The people I associate with at home all contribute to the municipal effort."
The notion their meals should be covered at conventions popped up as council reviewed a routine update to the council conference policy during Monday's committee of the whole meeting.
"I think for the service delivery we're getting from our spouses, I think that's a reasonable request. I think they deser ve that much," Greenfield said.
Coun. Mike Poetker, who did not comment on Greenfield's request, and Coun. Deb Young voted with Greenfield in favour.
Young said it was "a really good idea" following an old tradition that spouses be rewarded with trips to the annual conventions. "It's something that could be used judiciously."
Councillors James McIntosh, Barb Clumpus, Lynda Stephens and Mayor Francis Richardson voted the motion down.
Clumpus and Stephens both agreed with Greenfield about spouses' contributions, but said councillors are obliged to keep expenses down during conferences.
Stephens doesn't attend banquets if there is an additional cost and has not claimed mileage on occasion, she told council.
"I try very hard to save money as much as possible while I'm away."
Clumpus also disagreed with the motion.
"It has always been my philosophy as a volunteer to pay my own way wherever I go. I would expect to do the same for my partner," Clumpus said.
Richardson did a double-check before the vote.
"Do you see this as an actual motion?" he asked the deputy-mayor. "Do you want a vote on this?"
"We may as well get it over with," Greenfield said.
The updated conference policy will be back before council for a final a vote in two weeks. It restricts councillors to two conventions or conferences and sets an overall spending limit.