Local MPP Jim McDonell is pushing to rein in massive arbitration settlements for municipal employees.
He said Thursday Bill 121 from fellow Tory Jim Wilson will compel arbitrators to consider a municipality’s ability to pay for a demanded public pay raise before issuing a decision, and to detail their consideration of such factors in writing.
“As a former mayor, I understand the challenges local municipalities have to face when arbitrators do not take into consideration the municipal tax base and current budgeting challenges,” McDonell said. “Several municipalities across Ontario had to increase property taxes or reduce services to residents due to arbitration decisions that were not grounded in local economic realities.”
It’s all part of a massive Tory argument that Premier Dalton McGuinty’s Liberal is wrought with overspending practises.
In a news release provincial Progressive-Conservative leader Tim Hudak took aim at the government.
“The budget did not require arbitrators to factor in local economic conditions,” he said. “It only required written decisions from arbitrators describing their unaffordable awards upon request. Then, on the critical matter of the amount of time arbitrators take in handing down their decisions, which now takes so long that a local economy can change for the worse completely, the government lengthened the budget’s proposed timeline from twelve months – still too long – to sixteen months.”
Bill 121 comes to a vote in the Legislature on Oct. 4.
McDonell insists the government should take a stand for local taxpayers and vote with the Tories.
“In a difficult economic time all financial decisions, including arbitrated public-sector settlements, must reflect the economic reality of the community paying the bill,” he said. “This approach will benefit 13 million Ontarians collectively and all municipal taxpayers individually.”