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Councillor Andrew Veale, right, with Councillor Kathleen Seymour-Fagan, left.

So you want to be a municipal councillor?

in Community/Local News by

An interview with Ward 4 Councillor Andrew Veale.

Morris: Andrew, you’re councillor for Ward 4. That’s Woodville, right?

Veale: Well, includes Woodville, but also Little Britain, Argyle, Valentia, Oakwood, and parts of Seagrave. Ward 4 stretches from Lake Scugog north to past Palestine Road and from Simcoe Street to OpMar Road and several others on the east boundary. There are roughly 8,500 residents.

Morris: And this is your second term as a councillor?

Veale: Yes.

Morris: Cushy job, eh?  I mean, you show up for  a couple of council meetings a month then cash your cheques?

Veale: More than a couple. In January, for example, we have four council meetings scheduled. The typical meeting is four or five hours, but the budget meetings can go all day. And we do have to prepare. Agenda packages can run to hundreds of pages — I’ve seen one that was almost 1,600 pages. We also need to be familiar with various documents, municipal bylaws and provincial legislation.

Morris: More work than I thought, but that’s it, right? The council meetings and some reading, and then you cash your cheques?  

Veale: No, all councillors are also assigned to committees and boards. I’ll be on seven and all of them meet at least once a month and need to be prepared for.

Things come up, too, task forces for example. Just this morning the mayor phoned and asked me to join the Rural Zoning Bylaw Consolidation Steering Committee.

Morris: That sounds . . . kinda boring.

Veale: No, I’m looking forward to it. Right now there are 15 or 16 sets of bylaws — relics from pre-amalgamation days. If we can harmonize those it’ll make life simpler for the Planning Department and for anyone, say, building a house, addition or garage, putting up a fence, etc.

Morris: I can see you have lots of committee work. Good thing you have your evenings and weekends free!

Veale: Well, again, no. Groups want me to come to meetings to talk about issues, offer advice or fill them in on stuff happening in the city and I get calls from constituents who have problems, questions, or complaints about potholes or roads. If they don’t know who to call — maybe about renting a facility or they want to sever a property and aren’t sure of the process — they’ll phone me.

And, it’s not a job requirement but I think it’s important to promote and attend events in my ward.  I’ve been to a few Santa Claus parades over the past couple of weeks.

Morris: Any idea how many hours you might put in on any given week?

Veale: No idea. I’ve never tracked it, but it varies. Some times are busier than others.

Morris: But you do have a day-job, right?  

Veale: Yes, I’m general sales manager at Lindsay Kia and Lindsay Buick GMC.

Morris: How does that work?

Veale: Fortunately there’s flexibility in my work at the dealership. It’s important to be able to keep track of everything though and keep both separate.

Morris: Let’s say that in four years, when councillor positions open up, I want to apply.  What’s the process?

Veale: I can tell you what was involved this year. Nominations closed at the end of July. There were four candidates in my ward. Signs were going up in early August and in early September I started knocking on doors in Oakwood, Little Britain, Valentia, Seagrave, Sonya, Manilla and Woodville. I also participated in all-candidates sessions.

Morris: And the campaign costs? Tax-deductible? Maybe you were reimbursed afterwards?

Veale: The candidate pays out of his or her pocket for anything not covered by campaign contributions he or she can raise.

Morris: My interest in the job is rapidly waning. Maybe I’ll look at a different line of work. Do you have a number for Jamie Schmale?

[Laughter]

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Jamie is a retired teacher and Chair of the Kawartha Lakes Library Board. For The Lindsay Advocate he is reviving the 'Friends & Neighbours' column he wrote for the Lindsay Post, as well as writing a column on the library’s contributions to the community.

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