September 03, 2014

New pay system for next Town Council

As published in The Erin Advocate

A new salary-based pay policy has been established for Town Councillors, to take effect after next month’s municipal election.

The system replaces the traditional method of salary plus additional payments for each meeting attended, but provides approximately the same income that councillors now earn.

It also includes a pre-set raise of 2% for the years 2016, 2017 and 2018. Councillor Barb Tocher was not comfortable with this provision, since there may be years in which council provides a raise of less than 2% to Town staff.

A majority of councillors felt it was acceptable, however. The intention is to avoid having future councillors deciding on their own pay increases, though they will be free to cancel or reduce their increases at any time.

The new plan would see the mayor earn $26,000 in 2015, rising to $27,500 by 2018. Councillors would earn $15,600, rising to $16,500. Members will continue to have one third of their salary tax-free, as a way to compensate for expenses related to their duties.

Expenses for two conferences per year will be covered, but not expenses for a spouse or companion. Councillors can claim event meal expenses up to $100 per day, and other eligible expenses, including mileage for municipal business outside the municipality. Up to $50 per month can be paid towards the cost of high-speed internet, needed for council agendas.

In exceptional cases, council can authorize in advance a Per Diem payment to a member of $150 for a full day, or $75 for a half day, for an event that is not covered by the policy.

Councillors made only minor amendments to the plan, which was presented by CAO Kathryn Ironmonger after consultation with three members of the public – Pauline Follett, Roy Val and Wayne Lewis.