Posted May 28, 2014
Guelph council voted to raise the base pay of the mayor by 22 per cent, starting in 2015. The base pay rises from $95,500 to $116, 226. The increase will be phased in over three years.
But it doesn’t stop there. There are additional income sources for serving on various boards, including the Police Services Board and the Public Health Board. These and other honorariums can add up to another $20,000. The Mayor will also receive a $425 per month car allowance.
The council approved setting up an RRSP plan for the mayor. On top of the 22 per cent base pay increase, the incoming Guelph mayor will have his or her own retirement benefit. The question is why should the citizens pay for a retirement benefit for a position that is short-lived because of the nature of having to be re-elected to keep the job?
The mayor is a fulltime mayor responsible for overseeing a $400 million plus corporation.
The new mayor’s total remuneration package could be $142,000 within three years.
Members of council will see their annual base pay increase to $33,433. There are additional payments made for serving as committee chairs and outside boards.
The members of council are considered part-time workers, a misnomer if there ever was one. They have a very heavy workload handling the concerns of their ward citizens as well as mounds of paper work generated by city staff.
The pay increases decision came as the result of a citizen’s committee who compared the status of elected officials’ compensation with some 18 other municipalities.
It is not revealed which municipalities they reviewed but let’s look at those similar- sized municipalities closer to home:
The mayor of Kitchener’s base salary is $75,475.
The mayor of Cambridge earns $68,467 as base salary.
The mayor of Waterloo is paid $70,145 as base salary.
All receive additional income from serving on various boards and organizations. All are part of the Region of Waterloo and are compensated for serving on the Regional council.
It is estimated that the average additional compensation for these three mayors is $20,000.
So who was appointed to this citizen’s board that made these recommendations? Or did city staff recommend he members of the citizen’s committee? Only the chairman addressed the council.
It’s no wonder council approved and passed legislation authorizing these increases.
The bottom line is, any committee appointed to make council payment recommendations must be totally independent. That means such a committee has absolutely no connection with the municipality, including the compensation industry professionals.
It is always a ticklish matter to establish rates of pay for elected officials who must answer to the electors.
This is why Guelph needs to elect fulltime members of council and pay them for their service. This would mean a reduction in the size of council from 13 to nine with the mayor and two councillors being elected at large and one councillor representing each ward.
This time it was not the route council chose to follow.
Now we see the result.