Salary increases for the City’s mayor and council should be determined by the consumer price index and not by what the leaders of other Metro municipalities earn.
That’s the contention of Langley City Councillor Dave Hall, who made a motion on Monday, Feb. 2 that council change the method by which it calculates raises in its own pay, ahead of first and second reading of the City’s 2015 financial plan.
By using the CPI instead of tying their remuneration to the mean of Metro communities, Hall said, the City could show restraint that is not currently being exercised.
“If those guys at the mean we’re tied to, jump 13 per cent, ours jumps, too,” said Hall.
“There’s no debate; It’s just a rubber stamped. They’re automatic and non-discretionary.”
Councillor Gayle Martin disagreed, noting that by using the Metro median, City council’s salary will rise by .8 per cent this year. Using the CPI, that raise would be .9 per cent.
Hall said he is taking a longer-term view, noting there have been “extravagant increases in the past” for municipal councils tying mayor’s salary increases to the Metro mean.
“The bottom line is whatever we do this year won’t have the greatest impact,” Hall told The Times.
“It’s what other councils (in Metro Vancouver) do that will drive next year’s salary increases. We have no control over that. We have control over this.”
The mayor of the City makes a base salary of more than $80,000, noted Hall.
Ted Schaffer also has an expense account and, like other members of council, earns additional pay for sitting on various committees.
“He’s pulling in close to $100,000 for a town of 27,000,” said Hall.
“(Council is) not hard done by. It’s a small city.”
Schaffer told The Times, that he won’t, in fact, earn anywhere close to $100,000 in 2015.
“For myself, I didn’t want to be on any Metro committees,” he said. Instead, he appointed Councillor Rudy Storteboom to represent the City. Martin serves as Storteboom’s alternate.
At the request of Metro chair Greg Moore, Schaffer will sit on the zero waste committee, which he expects will meet about eight times this year. He will earn $350 per meeting.
Comparing the City to the larger Township, Schaffer said the workloads are comparable, noting he puts in between 50 and 60 hours per week, including numerous evening commitments.
“It’s up to the public to judge whether 50 or 60 hours warrants a salary of $80,000,” he said.
Hall’s motion failed in a 6-1 vote.
“I appreciate the intention,” Storteboom told Hall before the vote.
“Every year you bring it up, that we have to show restraint — agreed. At $2,500 a month per councillor, I believe the City gets good value from council,” he said.
If the City’s financial plan passes as presented on March 2, Mayor Ted Schaffer will earn $80,943 in 2015. With the .8 per cent increase, that’s up $629 from $80,314 last year.
Each council member earns 40 per cent of the mayor’s salary. In 2015, that will be $32,377. It is up $252 from $ 32,125 in 2014.