Remuneration rates for Saanich council could go up automatically in the future

Council Monday will consider a recommendation to bump up rates without a public vote

Saanich councillors may be departing from their previous practice of publicly voting for changes to their own remuneration.

A staff report before council Monday recommends several changes to the remuneration and expense policy of Saanich council, including an amendment that would no longer require councillors to vote on future changes to their rates as a separate line item. They would continue to vote on remuneration rates through the budget process.

“An amendment to the policy to include automatic inclusion of the increase into the budget and not require a [council] motion has been provided for [council]’s consideration,” said Valla Tinney, Saanich’s finance director in the report.

While technically not required, councillors had previously voted on increases, she said earlier in the report.

During 2019 budget discussions, council set the remuneration for the office of mayor at $116,492.22 and the office of councillor $46,047.95. These figures represent increases of 13.22 and 11.47 per cent respectively. These increases in turn responded to changes in federal legislation effective Jan. 1 that require members of council to declare their entire remuneration as taxable.

The federal government previously exempted one-third of their remuneration on the assumption that elected officials incur expenses throughout their working year, to the tune of one-third of their pay. By way of background, council approved the increase unanimously. The public also heard at the time that net pay for each member of council would vary from person to person, with some potentially earning less.

RELATED: Saanich council votes for salary increase

RELATED: Saanich council set to raise remuneration rates but impact on net pay unknown

RELATED: Saanich mayor and council will usher in new year with a pay cut

Saanich determines the remuneration of the mayor and councillors on an annual basis, based on the average of the remuneration of council members of municipalities of comparable size. This group consists out of Kelowna, Kamloops, Abbotsford, North Vancouver, Delta, Langley (Township), and more locally, Victoria and Nanaimo.

The recommendation to automatically add future increases to the municipal budget without a vote comes after councillors had discussed the issue during 2019 budget talks.

“What I think is the awkward situation is the fact that it comes to us each year to vote on,” said Coun. Colin Plant back in March. “I think if we believe in this [council remuneration] policy, that we actually just make it so. This is what the increase will be, and we de-politicize it. Otherwise, it will come up every year as an item we vote on.”

He added later that the Capital Regional District automatically adds increases to the budget.

Mayor Fred Haynes said at the time that such a change could save council time, adding that council could always revisit the policy.

Chief administrative officer Paul Thorkelsson said in March that council’s remuneration policy was silent on the issue. “This has been the practise in Saanich, I suspect, historically through the desire to be transparent. [But] there is nothing in the policy that says it has to happen.”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Tomato planting controversy inspires Victoria author’s book on transforming cities

Woman behind the Collinson street mural pens third book

Stem cell donor with rare genetic makeup needed to save Saanich man after cancer returns

Jeremy Chow is half Canton Chinese, half British and needs a donor with a similar ethnic background

Victoria Humane Society needs volunteers after flood of puppies and kittens

Pregnant cats, dogs and their litters are in need of foster care

Police identify man found dead in Saanich, seek his backpack and shoes

Investigators seek shoes, backpack that Andrew Michael Sidor was seen wearing

Disney Plus to launch in Canada in November

Analysts say latest streaming service may escalate cord cutting

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

Okanagan bus driver assaulted for asking patron not to smoke

59-year-old in hospital with non-life threatening injuries

B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

Larger operating areas seen as threat by cab companies

Two hiking families team up to extinguish fire in B.C. backcountry

Children and their parents worked for three hours to ensure safety of the popular hiking region

Police seek tips in 2015 death of Island teen Brown

Four years has passed since the body of Penelakut Island woman was discovered

Vancouver man arrested after pregnant woman’s SUV stolen, then crashed

Police are recommending charges against a 22-year-old Vancouver man

Elections Canada to assess ‘partisan’ climate change rhetoric case by case

People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier has said climate change is not an emergency nor caused by human

Most Read