In the wake of a staff wage freeze, Sidney town councillors are striking a committee to review their own pay.
The committee will consist of three citizens and Town staff members and is being tasked with reviewing council remuneration. While they will compare Sidney councillors’ wages with those of similarly-sized communities and regional averages, Mayor Larry Cross is aware the move comes at a time of economic stress in the municipality.
When asked if it’s good timing to do a remuneration review right now, Cross said yes, but added it needs to be done externally.
In September, council voted to freeze the wages of Town management staff for a period of two years.
“We must also appreciate the realities and financial pressures that currently face many of our citizens and businesses,” Cross stated in a media release on Sept. 27. “There is a realization amongst Council that the economy is still very much in recovery mode and, consequently, it is incumbent upon us to provide a level of responsibility and leadership in this tenuous economic climate.”
The idea to review council pay arose when Director of Corporate Services Andrew Hicik suggested changing the three-year review period to the second full year of each council term. He stated the last remuneration review was done in 2008 and any increases have been based on Victoria inflation figures.
“I’m not in favour of increasing council wages,” said Coun. Mervyn Lougher-Goodey.
Cross said any change will be up to the external committee. He indicated that the job of a local councillor is a public service and no one gets into the work to make money.