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Centre Wellington council agrees to give portion of pay or time to community groups

The motion encourages councillors and public sector employees to donate time and/or money into the community
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Centre Wellington's municipal building at 1 MacDonald Square in Elora. Keegan Kozolanka/GuelphToday file photo

CENTRE WELLINGTON – Centre Wellington council has decided to formally give back to the community and are encouraging other public sector employees to do the same. 

Councillor Steven VanLeeuwen presented a motion to donate a portion of his publicly funded council wages and encouraged the mayor, councillors and public sector employees to donate a portion of their salary or time to a local charity or non-profit. 

VanLeeuwen explained to council the pandemic is top of mind with this action. 

“We have a community that is hurting, a community that is also struggling in their jobs,” he said. “In many ways we want to help and as public servants we also have stability in what we’re doing especially in regards to financially.”

The motion, which passed unanimously, sees the donation as a way to offset increased demands for assistance from local charitable organizations. 

Council was on board but some questioned if a motion was truly necessary as many already do this anyway. 

“I feel like I’m doing what Steven is requesting already and have been for as long as I can remember,” said councillor Kirk McElwain. “Having it as a motion doesn’t really show me a lot of anything new but I certainly appreciate and support the concept.”

Councillor Neil Dunsmore supported the motion and noted he liked how it would be forwarded to other area governments and to the province to encourage others to support local organizations. 

Mayor Kelly Linton said he was unsure it required a motion but said it ultimately couldn’t hurt. 

“If it is going to help encourage more individuals, councillors and staff to donate then I see it as a positive thing,” Linton said. 

VanLeeuwen clarified by email the purpose was more to encourage others and start a conversation about giving back.

"It is my intent that other government leaders and even public sector employees will join in with the effort to assist their local communities with the issues that have arisen from the effects of Covid-19 and the restrictions," VanLeeuwen said. 

"Although many of us do this already privately, I do believe that leadership needs to be in the open and not hidden in order to lead and inspire and thus I hope that this can be a rallying cry for those who have had stable income through the pandemic to recognize their obligation to help those suffering."

He also noted this is why he didn’t specify a dollar amount as everyone has different funds or methods of giving back.

The motion unanimously passed and will be forwarded to the province and area municipalities to further encourage joining in the effort to invest in their communities.