By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland
The question of whether Cobourg’s Poet Laureate deserves an expense account was debated this week as part of a review of revised eligibility and appointment criteria.
The thrust has been to throw open the post to potential applicants for the position for an annual $500 as a show of the town’s appreciation. At Monday’s committee-of-the-whole meeting, Councillor Miriam Mutton expressed her opinion that the successful applicant also deserves reimbursement for approved expenses, and wondered if the Poet Laureate Nominating Ad Hoc Committee might provide guidance on how big an expense account that might entail.
The idea surprised Councillor Randy Barber, who is council’s representative on the committee. Barber reiterated that the responsibilities of the Poet Laureate are to provide original or other verse for a few civic occasions in the year in return for the nominal annual honourarium, but said he had no recollection of any discussions of additional expenses at all.
“I just think fundamentally this is unfair,” Mutton said.
“It’s not just retired people with a pension that should apply. That is where I am coming from.”
Mayor Lucas Cleveland pointed out that Barber had heard her concerns and was free to take them back to the committee. But it was clear Barber did not agree it was a major problem.
“The Poet Laureate is the Cobourg Poet Laureate,” he said.
“There is no travel and no accommodation that I am aware of, nor has there ever been, to my knowledge, hearing from the other members of this committee,” Barber declared.
“I am not sure what expenses are envisioned by Councillor Mutton, but I can tell you I don’t see where that would be coming forward for that particular individual.”
Mutton’s motion to pursue information that would help formulate plans for a Poet Laureate expense account was defeated