Thursday, January 27, 2011

Information on Transit Commission recruitment

I stopped in to City Hall on Tuesday for an information about the city's volunteer recruitment drive for advisory committees and boards, but personally I went to find out more information about the new Transit Commission.

Although a couple of the recruitment information sessions were sparsely attended, I overheard that there had already been around 40-50 applications submitted for the transit commission, with--at the time--still a week and a half before the deadline. The deadline for applications, by the way, is 4:30 pm on Friday, February 4, 2011, so get your applications together.

A couple of things I noticed while at the info session:

Public transit doesn't pay
Although there isn't any direct financial renumeration for taking part in the transit commission, members of committees will be reimbursed for transportation costs to and from meetings. Those who choose to take public transit, for instance, will be reimbursed for their fares in bus tickets. An odd contrast to that is the reimbursement commission members would receive if they choose to drive: $0.50 per kilometre, plus any parking costs. So paradoxically, it might make more sense for transit commission members to drive to meetings, rather than taking public transit.

City employees need not apply
For all committees, boards, and commissions, employees of the City of Ottawa are not eligible for community positions. The intent of this seems obvious, but it also disqualifies some community members who could very well be the most valuable commission members: OC Transpo operators. Few people in the city have a better knowledge of the system and how it works than operators, but city policies prevent them from serving on the commission.

No benefits allowed
This is a little bit of a silly point, but one thing I'd noticed in the city's guide of conduct for members of advisory committees is that they are not allowed to benefit directly or indirectly from the decisions they make. Makes sense if you're talking about members of the License and Property Standards Committee dealing with their own property, for instance, but any positive decision a member of the transit commission makes would invariably offer them some benefits (assuming they use public transit themselves). That's obviously not the intent of the stipulation, but it might be something worth looking into and re-wording.

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