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May14FriFor Frank Campion, mayor of Welland, Ont., that meant donating his pay raise to The Salvation Army. May 14, 2021 by Melissa Yue Wallace
When the mayor of Welland, Ont., discovered the majority of his council approved a pay raise last year, he wanted no part of it.
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“There are a lot of people who are out of work right now and having a tough time financially during the COVID-19 pandemic, so I didn’t think it was appropriate,” says Mayor Frank Campion. “I also don’t think council should be giving themselves a raise. I have no problem reviewing the pay scale for the position, but they should be approving the raise for the incoming council, so whomever has that position in the next election would get it.”
Despite his protest, the council voted to increase councillor pay last fall from $18,981 to $27,884—a 47 percent pay hike—and the mayor’s from $72,995 to $76,208. For Mayor Campion, the decision on how to spend his new and unwanted pay increase earnings was easy.
“As a child growing up in the City of Welland all my life, I’ve always associated The Salvation Army with Christmas, and I know they collect money and gifts to help out families that are in need,” he says. “I recognized over time how much work they do. I wanted the money to go to the right people.
“And it seemed like the right thing to do.”
In December, he organized a photo-op with Carrie McComb, The Salvation Army’s community and family services director for St. Catharines and Welland, Ont., where he handed over the first of two cheques as a means of being transparent with constituents, showing he was donating his raise to a local organization.
“The needs of this community are high, especially at such an uncertain time,” says Carrie, who has served with the Army for 16 years in various positions. “Though our service delivery looks a little different due to precautions we have in place to keep everyone safe, we are still on the front line, serving those who need it the most.”
The Salvation Army in Welland offers a food bank, life-skills training and has plans for street ministry outreach in 2021. The mayor’s gift, says Carrie, is appreciated as it will help stock the shelves of the food bank and fill in the gaps for many who are struggling to make ends meet in Welland.
“I hope things will get better for them, that their lives improve and that whatever difficulties they have will be resolved,” says Mayor Campion. “I also hope that people who have been helped will be able to help others—that they get themselves in order, recognize the help that got them there and do the same for someone else.”
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