Posted by Tim Stobbs on October 1, 2009
Last week I was thinking about this post and I realized I really shouldn’t wait until I retire to get involved in politics. I’m not sure if I was going to like it, but I figure I should look into it. Since the civic election nomination period was on, I decided to give my local public school board representative a call and find out how much work was involved in doing the job. He happened to mention that he wasn’t running again so I started to give the matter some serious thought. That was last Thursday.
Last night I had it confirmed: I won by acclamation. If you had told me getting this job involved this little effort I would have laughed at you last week, but that’s the way it happened. So now I have a new title: politician.
Strangely enough getting the job is fairly straight forward. I had to just do the following:
- Pay a $100 deposit, which you get back if you win or get at least 10% of the vote.
- Get 10 signatures from those that live in the area in which you are running (they don’t even have to vote for you). This was much easier than I would have guessed. Just asking around at work got me a few and a couple of chance meetings got me the rest in just two days .
- Submit a candidate profile (150 words) and head shot picture for the election website.
- Do one interview with the local paper (15 minutes by phone). That was published on Tuesday.
- Worry and wonder how hard running a campaign was going to be.
To be honest I’ve done more work to get my day job (other than the worrying). Then the nomination period closed last night. By the time I had left work I had suspected I might have won, but I was waiting for official confirmation from the elections staff. I had that confirmed by about 7pm, which make this now the second time I got a position by acclamation. The first time was Chair of my local Engineering Association branch when I was living in BC.
On the entire affair I’m a bit torn. On one hand I’m thrilled I won in under a week from the minute I started thinking about it. On the other I’m a bit disturbed that no one else in my entire subdivision cared enough about our schools to run against me. People like to complain about taxes (often very loudly), but when it comes to being able to influence how they are used they run and hide. It’s a bit strange really, but I suppose not everyone is prepared to live in the public domain (ironically posting my net worth on this blog for the last three years has helped me prepare for that).
Now my Tuesday nights during the school year is mainly spoken for the next three years of my term which starts in November, but on the other hand I do get paid. I’m not sure exactly how much but I seem to recall finding a document that maximum a member of council can earn is around $23,000/year. But when you consider a Member of Parliament pulls down $157,731 (from MoneySense Oct 2009 edition), I’m a bloody bargain regardless of what they pay me.