Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Full time Mayor status, salary to be reviewed by next council, following October election

The topic of the Mayor's full time position and full time salary made
for a question from the public at Monday's Council Session

The theme of financial remuneration for the top elected official in Prince Rupert made for a short overview at Monday evening's city council session, that after Larry Golden, a resident of the city and frequent contributor to public commentary at City Council meetings raised the topic of the Mayor's salary as part of Monday's Committee of the Whole public comment opportunity.

Mr. Golden, outlined some concerns he has when it comes to whether the status of a full time Mayor may steer some would be candidates for the October election away from a run for office.

With the city resident asking Council if there were any plans to address the temporary status of a full time mayor and with it the full time salary that has been in place since the start of 2015.

The prospect of creating the position of a full time Mayor was first introduced by former Council member Gina Garon in November of 2014, Councillor Barry Cunningham returned to that theme in early January of 2015, noting how things related to economic development and social issues had been coming at Council hard and fast during that period of time.

City Council decided to put in place the status of a full time Mayor in May of 2015, making use of funding from Prince Rupert Legacy Inc.  thorough their planning for Major Projects to make the Mayor's position a full time one, with an additional salary top up to go with it.

The thinking at the time was one that with all the talk of hyper economic growth for the region, the city required that its Mayor be on hand on a full time basis in order to address the many concerns that might come from such economic development.

As the years have moved forward however, much of that proposed economic growth (the majority of it LNG driven) has since faded from view for the community, which might open the door for a discussion on whether the Mayor's position should be full time and at the increased level of pay.

A particularly important theme perhaps as City Council begins its current budget discussion and public consultation period.

For now however, Mayor Brain noted that the position will remain that of a full time one, with a sunset clause set to take effect in late December, after which the position would revert back to its former status, unless Council chooses to keep the full time designation.

In the Mayor's eyes however, that discussion is one for the next council to take on, with a municipal election set for October.

At Monday's session, Mayor Brain observed for Mr. Golden, that any decision related to the Mayor's position and salary would be addressed by those that the electors send to office later this year.

"I can easily answer your question, you are referring to wages, the Mayor's wage is not up to my discretion, it is a council discretion, the planning for Major projects budget was passed in 2015 it sunsets at the end of this year, December 31st 2018. At that time the full time wage also sunsets, so Council will have to use at their discretion on what they believe will be moving forward, most likely after the next election"

 "As I mentioned it sunsets at the end of December 2018 and that's where the discussion is at, so at the next election, the next council who moves forward if they decide to move it beyond that they will and that's their discretion, at the moment the expectation is that this wage will go back to its part time salary at December 31st 2018"

And while the mechanism of that decision may indeed fall to the next council, one imagines that the theme of whether the City should continue to have a full time Mayor at full time pay, might make for some kind of a discussion topic prior to the October election.

Residents of the city will want to know how this current council, including the current Mayor, may feel about the remuneration package that is in place, and whether they believe that in the current economic climate in the city, if the city can continue to pay the top official the same kind of compensation package that is found in communities that are much larger than Prince Rupert.

One imagines that sometime between now and the fall election campaign, the topic of financial compensation may make for a theme for discussion both for the incumbents and any potential candidates that may declare over the next few months.

To get a complete overview of the topic, the most recent compensation levels for Council and upper management of City Staff can be reviewed from the City's financial report of last June.

Mayor and Council Salaries
City of Prince Rupert salaries

You can review the question and response from Monday's Council session from the City's Video Archive, the public comment period begins at the very start of Monday's meeting.

For more notes related to Monday's City Council session, see our Council timeline feature here.

Our archive of items related to the Council session can be found here.

More notes related to City Council Discussion topics can be found our our Council Discussion archive page.

To return to the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

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