Council gets a raise

By Jon Zacks

 

Fort St. John’s City Council is getting a pay raise.

After denying itself a hike in pay in 2009, City Council formed a Council Remuneration Committee to investigate compensation for mayors and councilors in other communities, and to make recommendations on a fair policy for elected officials in Fort St. John.

At Tuesday night’s regular meeting, the committee (comprised of Brian Gentles, Connie Surerus, and Brian Palmer) made several recommendations, based on the workload shouldered by council and the remuneration given to officials in other communities.

The committee recommended that the pay for the mayor remain the same, at $59,743. However, it proposed that the compensation for councilors be increased to 37.5% of the Mayor’s salary. Councilors would therefore be paid $22,404 per year (an increase of $1,576) effective June 6th, 2010.

The committee went on to recommend that the mayor and councilors in the next City Council (beginning in December 2011) receive a 3% raise on the taxable 2/3 of their pay, followed by another 3% raise in December, 2014.

Finally, the committee suggested that benefits for the mayor and councilors remain the same, and that another citizen review committee should be established in 2017, to revisit the issue.

After thanking the committee for its work, Mayor Bruce Lantz admitted he feels uncomfortable with council voting itself a pay raise. Lantz suggested that the issue should be taken out of the hands of all city councils. Rather, he says it should be provincially regulated, based on a City’s population or budget. Lantz also suggested that councilors who have served for longer should receive more compensation, because of the experience they bring.

However, Lantz disagreed with the committee’s proposal that the fee for acting mayors be hiked from $100 to $500 per month, starting with the next city council. Councilors Lori Ackerman and Don Irwin rejected that argument, with Irwin arguing firstly that being acting mayor can be a significant commitment, and also that the committee’s recommendations should be accepted ‘as they are.’

In the end, the recommendations were approved by council, with only Mayor Lantz and Councilor Trevor Bolin voting against.

Remuneration for Mayor:
Current: $59,743
December 2011 – November 2014: $60,926
December 2014 – November 2017: $62,132

Remuneration for Councilors:
Current: $20,828
Effective June 6, 2010: $22,404
December 2011 – November 2014: $22,848
December 2014 – November 2017: $23,300

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