Monday night's city council meeting saw a discussion on a leave of absence policy for members of the council.

The policy is coming into effect to give councillors more freedom to take leaves of absence for parental reasons and medical illness.

Councillor Shelley Veroba said during the meeting that the policy lacked some information about unpaid leave.

"It also brought the question up because there was a portion of the policy that basically stated if a Council member was to take a leave for a variety of different reasons, they're going to actually let the mayor know what portion of their duties, if any, they still plan to attend."

"So I think at that time then it also has to be looked at as somebody still considering 50 per cent of their duties and available for 50 per cent, then that would be possibly only half time leave. I just don't think anywhere in this policy speaks about it."

Veroba stated that she'd like to see a policy around unpaid absences for the council, as she feels they have a duty to taxpayers.

"I personally would just like to see it be on a case-by-case basis for pay is determined by council today, because like I said earlier, if you're doing 50 per cent of your duties, then I think you're entitled to 50 per cent of your pay. If you're doing zero per cent of your duties, then I don't think that the pay should come."

When the policy went to be voted on by the council put forward by Councillor Kirsten Walliser, no member seconded the proposal, causing it to fail.

Veroba then put forward the option of sending the policy back to have an unpaid leave change added.

Councillor Rebecca Foord talked about how their job as council members can be difficult to define.

"I'm kind of on both sides of the fence here, which is tough, but it's really hard to describe what a councillor's duty is or how much effort you're putting in. Yes, attending meetings you might not be able to, say if you've just had a baby or something, but I can't imagine if one of us were going to leave if somebody called us from the community that we pick up the phone and I'd say, 'no, call councillor Sernik' It's hard to quantify how much work you're putting in."

Councillor Walliser brought up that the proposed policy may not work well with council decisions as it looks to give leave of absence without needing to go through council.

"In the goals of this policy, it states that the goal is to intend for leave of absence without authorization by resolution of Council. So I would hesitate to introduce many clauses instead of child clauses when the intention is that the policy can be accessed outside of authorization by resolution. So I will make a motion to table this so the administration and council can continue working on it."

Veroba agreed to send the policy back and the motion was passed by council.

The draw for the DiscoverEstevan 50/50 for a Cause In Support of Envision Counselling is getting closer and closer! 

A $10 ticket can change your life and help change others in the community. Last day to grab tickets is on Saturday, March 16th!