Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Council to review salary increase for Mayor as part of Budget Process

Councillor Cunningham resurrected a theme first introduced at the final session of the outgoing City Council, suggesting that the time has come for Council to return the Mayor's position to that of full time status and with it increase the salary to a full time salary.

The proposal first came up in the final council session of the previous council, with then Councillor Gina Garon introduced a motion that would have seen Council salaries increase by 8,000 dollars per year,  while the Mayor's salary would be increased by 15,000 dollars per annum.

The current salary of the Mayor is listed at 42,274 dollars per year.

At the time of the November review, Council members after some discussion appeared to have had no desire to approach the issue further.  While  all at the time seems to accept that the Mayoralty position should be returned to a full time job and with it an increase to a full time salary, the motion of late November went down to defeat, leaving it to the new council to take up the torch if it so desired.

Councillor Cunningham did just that on Monday evening, bringing the issue back up for discussion suggesting that as he sees it, things have changed in just the last two months since the municipal election.

With Mayor Brain having excused himself from Council Chambers for the discussion, Council members explored the topic further.

Councillor Cunningham leading off the discussion by highlighting how things are coming at Council fairly fast these days and that the City needs to have the Mayor available more frequently through the week to address the issues that are coming up.

His thoughts  would seem to mark a bit of a different approach of sorts from the November session, when he spoke to the issue, outlining how he had not sought a seat on Council for money and instead had focused on how the City had made a number of hard decisions in the last year, reducing a number of grants in recent months and struggled to adjust is budget requirements. Seeming to suggest then, that the time wasn't right to be approaching issues of salaries.

Though it should be pointed, that in that November discussion he did agree that the Mayoralty position should be full time and should have a full time salary.

During Monday's discussion, Councillor Mirau expressed some concern over Council members setting their own salary levels and instead suggesting a Task Force or Citizens Committee to address such issues as salary increases and the like.

Councillor Joy Thorkelson offered up the advice that while she was of the same mind that the Mayoralty should be a full time position with a full time salary, the best option moving forward was to wait until the Budget Process was underway before addressing the situation.

She observed that in recent weeks Council has tended to stray from the process of budget making, by introducing issues of concern outside of that process, reminding Council members that all of these kinds of decisions could have an impact on the Budget process in the spring.

Councillor Randhawa agreed with the comments from Councillor Thorkelson, suggesting that the Budget Process was the best approach to addressing the issue.

From those contributions, Council then voted to amend Councillor Cunningham's motion,  making the subject of any further discussion related to the increase to the salary for the Mayor as that of further consideration during the Budget meeting process.

More on the discussion of Monday night can be found on the City Council Video Archive, starting at the minute mark.

For more items related to discussions at Prince Rupert City Council see our archive page here.

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