Present: Mayor Maja Tait Acting Mayor Jeff Bateman, and Councillors Al Beddows, Ebony Logins, Megan McMath, Brenda Parkinson and Tony St-Pierre.
At Monday’s regular council meeting, Sooke elected officials boldly took the bull by the horns and definitely voted themselves a substantial pay increase. This follows two previous attempts at tentatively dancing around the matter, stuck between a sea of options ranging from taking it to an arm’s length committee to slight increases to more substantive. Each time previously, efforts fizzled and the matter was deferred to the following meeting.
At the February 25 Regular Council Meeting, this all changed.
Following a preamble where Councillor Beddows followed the math proposed in a 2008 motion. Had it kept pace with the consumer index, according to Beddows, at today’s rate the remuneration for Councillors would equal $14,845. For over a decade, Councillor pay had flatlined at $10,000; had inflation been indexed, Beddows figured the number would near $15,000 in today’s dollars.
Staff confirmed that these numbers had also been crunched by the finance department, separately of Councillor Beddows’ proposal, and that their numbers were about the same.
Mayor Maja Tait noted this was a difficult issue for council to deal with, as only council can address remuneration, even when they are acting on the input of a committee. She noted that remuneration has not kept pace with costs of living, and added that a recent income tax modification means that the take-home pay is even less. Tait also noted that much of the work done by Council demands fulltime availability.
Counc. Beddows made the motion for an immediate pay increase to $12,500 per year, adding another $2,500 in 2020. The Mayor’s remuneration, which is currently about $20,000 was to increase to $25,000, with another $5,000 added in 2020. The motion was seconded by Counc. McMath.
Opposed to this pay increase was Councillor Brenda Parkinson. She noted that they were just about to go into budget deliberations, and she argued that it would be prudent to first see what kind of tax implication would have on Sooke’s taxpayers.
The motion carried, with all in favour except for Counc. Parkinson.
They agreed to address incremental pay increases that keep pace with inflation at a later date, thereby eliminating the requirement that another Council have to go through this rather awkward scenario of voting in their own pay increase.
- Council remuneration kicked down the timeline, again Jan 29, 2019
- Council waffles on addressing remuneration, frozen for more than a decade, Jan 22, 2019
- Opinion: After a 10 year pay freeze, an increase for municipal politicians is long overdue SPN, Jan 22, 2018
Also discussed at the February 25 meetings:
- Sooke gets ready to zone cannabis retail stores
- Sooke Council denies land removal from ALR
- Sooke RCMP statistics for January, 2019
- After a decade of flatlined remuneration, Sooke’s elected officials get substantial pay increase