Compensation adjusted for next councillors elected in 2021

1204 ct 01 council p.CT.jpeg jpeg, CT

Share Adjust Comment Print

The next set of Cochrane councillors to be elected in 2021 will likely see an increase in annual compensation for their part-time role, from the current $34,285 to $41,832 when the next council takes office. The increase, which constitutes a small fraction of one per cent of the town’s overall budget, brings compensation in line with other similarly-sized municipalities in the province.

A lengthy discussion regarding council earnings took place at the previous regular session on November 12, when they heard from a committee comprised of members of the public tasked with determining the appropriateness of council compensation.

The committee reported that while they feel the mayor’s position is earning an adequate and reasonable amount, the town should consider raising the salary for the part-time councillor positions as well as an increase to additional types of compensation like per diems.

“I believe a lot of research has gone into this,” said councillor Susan Flowers of the committee’s findings.

“We had a committee that has looked into it and realized that we’re way behind and have been for several years. We should be putting this forward for the next council and have it in place so that we attract people who are right for the job and that they are paid fairly for the work that they are doing.”

Some on council voiced concerns over timing and perceptions based on the current economic climate in the province.

“I don’t want to support the raise, I don’t want to support the per diems, but I do think the job is worth nearly forty-two thousand dollars,” said councillor Morgan Nagel of the proposed new councillor compensation.

“It has definitely increased in workload in the six years I have been here, and it’s also not just the time that we spend in meetings or sitting here: it’s also the mental space that it occupies. I don’t know about you guys, but when we’re making big decisions, it takes weeks of mental space for me […] but I think while the job is worth that, we live in an economic climate right now where there are lots of people who aren’t getting paid what they’re worth.”

An increase for the current council was never on the table, as the committee was tasked for determining the compensation for the next council when they’re selected in 2021.

“‘Council has recently voted themselves a raise’ is something I’ve heard over and over again recently, and I don’t know where that comes from because even with this consideration, at no point was this current council considered for a raise,” said councillor Patrick Wilson.

“This is for the next council.”

Mayor Jeff Genung reemphasized his sentiments from the previous November 12 meeting that he would like to see determinations on council pay made by town administration instead of council and a committee. Council ended up voting in favour of the move.

“I don’t want to under-value a public body, but my argument is that we spend hours talking about our own salaries every single term,” said Genung on November 25.

“We spend more time on point zero one per cent of our budget than we do on the other ninety-nine point nine, ish.”