Decision made on Council remuneration

As per policy, an ‘arm’s length’ Council Remuneration Citizen Committee was appointed to make recommendations on council remuneration

As per policy, an ‘arm’s length’ Council Remuneration Citizen Committee was appointed to make recommendations on council remuneration for the period after the next election. OnJune 13, 2016 the Committee presented their recommendations related to overall Council compensation.

A Council discussion and direction ensued requesting the opportunity for further discussion related to the overall compensation structure of Council, and in particular theMayor’s compensation which was considered inadequate. A specific item discussed was the definition of meetings/appearances that qualified for per diem compensation and administration was directed to review the current policy and determine recommendations to address the above issue.

Further to the Committee, their recommendations covered all of the items that are on their mandate as specifically mentioned in Policy L-001-004C. As stated in Policy L001-004C,Appendix B, Part B Responsibility:

“It is the authority and responsibility of Council to define and determine which meetings will be covered for per diems and honorariums”.

At the Council Committee of the Whole Meeting on July 6, Council reviewed the Remuneration Policy L-001-004C and discussed various options related to meetings that are covered for per diems and honorariums.

At the June 13 Council Meeting, the focus was that overall compensation for the Mayor’s position is not equitable for the amount of time invested in the position. The Mayor is requested to be at many functions/public appearances that do not currently qualify for per diem payments. The Mayor’s position is deemed to be high profile and has been referred to as “the face of the Town”. Given the volume of this work and the benefit to the Town, Council stated that more compensation is warranted.

During Monday night’s Council meeting a decision was made on the matter. Following the next municipal election, the Mayor of Sylvan Lake’s base rate will be $48,830.53 withCouncillors base rates being $23,188.90 annually. Council voted 5-1 in favour of the decision with Councillor Matt Prete voting against the decision and Councillor Jas Payne not present for the meeting.

Earlier in the evening Councillor Prete had made a motion to increase the salary of the mayor an additional $10,000, arguing that the base salary of the mayor which Council later passed that evening was not high enough.

“The mayor of Red Deer County makes a salary of $84,000 a year, now let’s talk about Sylvan Lake,” said Councillor Prete during the Council Meeting on Monday. “An operator who runs as now blower in the Town of Sylvan Lake makes $32 an hour plus 25% benefits so it’s costing us $40 an hour he is going to be making $83,200 for the year. So my recommendation to the mayor is that the next time a job comes open blowing snow, he should take it because he’s going to be making more money blowing snow than being the mayor of our town and honestly that’s embarrassing for me. I believe our mayor adds more value to the town.”

This motion to raise the mayor’s base salary to $58,830.53 was defeated 1-5.

Mayor Sean McIntyre followed Councillor Prete’s comments prior to the vote on the subsequent motion to raise the mayor’s salary an additional $10,000.

“Bearing in mind that we are talking about the next mayor or the mayor after the next municipal election, whoever that may be, and considering we are talking about $48,830.53 as the base salary and that per diems are above that and taking into consideration we are ensuring per diems are paid for the work that is done I myself am comfortable with what’s proposed,” said Mayor McIntyre. “Understanding though we are a rapidly growing community and when we compare our self to communities of similar population and tax base it doesn’t necessarily take into consideration the intricacies of the job.

“Certainly in the Town of Sylvan Lake we are not only fast growing but we are also fast moving as we modernize operations to reflect our population with services our residents expect from a municipality our size. So I think there are arguments to be had on both sides. I see this proposal here today as a vast improvement.”

Editor@sylvanlakenews.com