December 26, 2012

Councillor wants raise for staff reconsidered

As published in The Erin Advocate

Councillor Jose Wintersinger has given notice that she will ask council to reconsider the 3% raise recently approved for Town staff and councillors.

The issue will be discussed at the January 8 meeting, amid some confusion about the impact of the 2013 pay increase, which is being given in two stages.

After last Tuesday's council meeting, Wintersinger said that the total raise should be no more than the current annual increase in the Statistics Canada Consumer Price Index, which is about 1.2%.

She voted against the 3% raise when it was approved, without a recorded vote, at the December 4 council meeting. Council's procedure bylaw says that a motion of reconsideration cannot be introduced, unless it is moved and seconded by members who originally voted in favor of a motion.

The bylaw, however, does not restrict a member from giving notice of their intent to introduce a motion of reconsideration.

At last week's meeting, Mayor Lou Maieron said he did not fully understand the mathematics involved in the current raise plan, and had not been able to confidently answer taxpayers' questions about it.

As it stands, staff and council will get a 1.5% raise on January 1. They will get an additional 1.5% raise on July 1. Simply added together, that means employees would eventually receive 3% more pay. (If the second raise had been compounded with the first one, the total increase would be 3.02%.)

The original motion for a 3% raise was made by Councillor Barb Tocher, seconded by Councillor Deb Callaghan, and supported by Councillor John Brennan. Wintersinger and Maieron voted against it.

The raise was reported as having a 2.25% impact (totalling $66,460) on the 2013 budget. That is because the money for the second 1.5% raise would only be paid out during the second six months of the year, making it the equivalent of .75% for the whole year. So the first raise costing 1.5%, plus the second raise costing .75%, equals a cost for the full year of 2.25%.

So, while some money was saved by delaying part of the raise, employees will still be getting 3% more as of July 1.