Compensation hike possible for mayor

Vernon’s next mayor could pocket more pay as council considers new recommendation

Vernon’s next mayor could pocket more pay.

Council will consider a recommendation Monday to increase pay for the mayor after the Nov. 19 election.

“We view the mayor and council as the equivalent to the board of directors of a private sector corporation with an annual budget of $60 million,” states a report from s citizens’ committee appointed by council.

“Currently, the mayor and council remuneration package costs are equivalent to that of a payroll clerk.”

The committee recommends  the mayor’s salary climb from $63,466 to $66,266 in 2012 while there would be no increase in 2013. For 2014, it suggests a hike equivalent to the compound sum of the consumer price index over the previous four years (if CPI is two per cent each year, that would lead to an 8.2 per cent increase in salary).

For council, the committee doesn’t see a need for an increase in 2012 and 2013, but wants a hike equivalent to the compounded sum of CPI over four years in 2014. The current councillor salary is $20,473 a year.

Presently, there is $137 for attending committee meetings, and the recommendation is to increase that to $320 for full-day meetings and to $160 for meetings four hours or less in length.

“We reject the philosophy that the mayor and council positions should be considered as community service as the complexity and the commitment of the role of mayor and councillor has increased substantially over the last two decades,” states businesspeople Jack Borden and Joanne Weatherill, accountant Pat Lett and architect Bob McDonnell, members of the remuneration committee.

“The city needs to attract individuals who are prepared to make the necessary commitment and accept the required responsibilities. The level of remuneration should not be a barrier to those qualified individuals wishing to seek public office.”

Mayor Wayne Lippert believes the recommendations warrant consideration.

“It’s fair when you look at all of the time involved,” he said, adding that there is more to sitting on council than attending meetings. “A good councillor spends two to three hours and takes away time from their family and does homework (reading material).”

Lippert says he’s not aware of people seeking public office for the salary.

“They do it because they want to be involved and they do it for the community,” he said.