Montreal

Chauffeur budget gets $200K bump under Denis Coderre

The chauffeur budget for the City of Montreal's mayor and executive committee is being bumped up by $200,000 due to Denis Coderre's busy schedule outside of city hall.

Montreal mayor has pushed driving service far beyond what was used by predecessors

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre's administration uses three drivers, not two as his predecessors did. (Peter McCabe/Canadian Press)

The chauffeur budget for the City of Montreal's mayor and executive committee is being bumped up by $200,000 to accommodate Denis Coderre's busy schedule outside of city hall.

Before the mayor took office in 2013, two drivers were sufficient to meet the needs of the mayor and members of his executive committee.

However, the mayor, who has become known for his numerous appearances at community events, has used the service of drivers far more than his predecessors.

The city is hiring an extra driver, at a cost of $68,400 with benefits. It is also budgeting for $131,000 in overtime costs for the mayor and executive committee's chauffeur pool in 2016.

The post is an important one because the mayor often conducts business en route to his next destination, said Jacques Ulysse, the city's deputy general manager.

"He needs to trust the person who will be his driver," Ulysse said.

'Power is going to his head,' says Projet Montréal

Montreal's blue collar union has been critical of the city's plan to add a third driver, however, since it won't be a union position.

"Blue collar workers have always been involved in the mayor's transportation," said Normand Bergeron, the head of the union.

"There's never been a problem in 20 years."

According to the city, a request was made to make the job a unionized position, but it was refused because of the demanding schedule.

Opposition Projet Montréal councillor Sylvain Ouellet said he finds the $200,000 increased budget for the chauffeur pool unreasonable, "after having hired someone at $1,800 a day" – a reference to Coderre's recent  appointment of former deputy immigration minister Michel Dorais to coordinate the integration of Syrian refugees in Montreal.

"Power is going to his head," said Ouellet.

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