Thursday, November 27, 2014

Bid to increase Salaries of Mayor and Council stalls in final session

As Prince Rupert's Council sat in final session before the newly elected members take their seats in early December, one bit of final business didn't make it much past the suggestion stage on Monday evening.

Highlighting her soon to be status as a departing member of Council, Councillor Gina Garon introduced a motion to have City Staff provide a report to amend the current bylaw, regarding pay for Councillors and the Mayor.

The report for the incoming Council would provide background and offer up for review, the possibility of increasing the salaries for Prince Rupert's Mayor and City Councillors.

As part of her proposal Councillor Garon outlined her proposal that would have seen the stipend for Councillors increase by 8,000 dollars a year, while the Mayor's position salary would be increased by 15,000 dollars per annum.

Currently City Council Salaries are listed at 13,180 dollars per year,  While the Mayor's salary is listed at 42,274 per year.

Council Members can also claim a number of expenses as part of their duties.

The most recent review of Civic Compensation was provided in June, as part of the Spring financial reviews (see item here)

Further to her motion, Councillor Garon outlined some background on her impressions of the job that Councillors have. With a focus on interactions with the public beyond the Council chambers, wrapping up her presentation with some observations as to the amount of time that Council members sacrifice for the community.

Each councillor in attendance spoke to the topic, some such as outgoing Councillor Ashley inclined to allow for the report, though suggesting that the compensation level might be a little high, while others such as Councillors Cunningham, Carlick-Pearson and Thorkelson spoke to the timing of the suggestion as being a concern.

Key to those observations, Councillor Cunningham highlighted  the fact that the City has recently reduced a number of grants and struggled to adjust budget requirements in the last year.

While Councillor Thorkelson suggested that if the new council wanted to address the issue they could, but that with the City currently involved in contract negotiations with CUPE members, the prospect of any salary proposals wasn't something to consider at this time.

Most of those that spoke to the issue seemed in agreement that the Mayor's position should offer a higher compensation package, pointing to the work load and amount of time that must be dedicated to the Mayor's position.

In the end, the motion went down to defeat, meaning that if the subject is to come up again in 2015, it will be up to those members of the incoming council to make the case and hold discussions related to an increased salary plans.

You can review the full discussion from the City's Video Archive it takes up about ten minutes starting from the 2 hour five minute mark.

For more items related to City Council Discussion see our archive page here.

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