Whitehorse Daily Star

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Council opts to sacrifice raise

City council voted Tuesday night to forego a scheduled 2.6 per cent raise on Jan. 1.

By Chuck Tobin on October 14, 2020

City council voted Tuesday night to forego a scheduled 2.6 per cent raise on Jan. 1.

The vote was unanimous.

The motion to forego the raise was brought forward by Coun. Samson Hartland.

Hartland reiterated at last night’s meeting that council has an opportunity in these strained and uncertain economic times to lead by example and forego the pay increase.

Several members of council echoed Hartland’s comments.

Council did vote to approve the bylaw that establishes how much the next council will be paid. The bylaw also sets out the benefit package for members of council that includes extended health care, dental and such.

The bylaw sets the base rate members of council will receive when they take office after next October’s municipal election.

The base rate does include the 2.6 per cent increase council is foregoing, as the bylaw still requires annual increases which are tied to the average Consumer Price Index (CPI).

The mayor’s annual salary will start at $104,522, effective Nov. 1, 2021, to Oct. 31 2022.

The pay for councillors will start at $37,639 annually.

An amendment to the bylaw was put forward by Coun. Jan Stick and was approved by members of council.

The amendment calls for moving the date of the annual adjustment in pay based on the average CPI from Jan. 1 to Nov. 1.

Prior to the amendment, council would receive an increase on Jan. 1 based on the average CPI from two years previous, as the calculation from the year previous is not available until February.

The 2.6 per cent increase scheduled for Jan. 1, 2021, for instance, was based on the average CPI for Whitehorse in 2019, and not this year.

By moving the anniversary date to Nov. 1, the annual increase can be calculated on the CPI from the previous year because it will be available by Nov. 1.

The amendment states the base pay for the next council will be in effect from Nov. 1, 2021 to Oct. 31, 2022.

On Nov.1, 2022, the annual increase will then be based on the average CPI for 2021, the previous year, and not from two years previous.

If the average CPI is negative, then there would be no raise for members of council.

It has been common practice in the city for members of council to set the pay for the next council.

The practice avoids putting the next council members in the awkward position of debating their own rate of pay.

Comments (9)

Up 4 Down 0

Anie on Oct 19, 2020 at 11:08 am

Hur, I went to your link, but I don't see anything that council members get a pension.

Up 4 Down 1

Hur dur on Oct 17, 2020 at 7:06 am

Anie, a basic google search brought me to the city's own page with benefit information.
You are telling everyone that they don't get a retirement package, but the government website says they do.
Who to believe...
http s://www.whitehorse.ca/departments/human-resources/benefits-of-employment

Up 13 Down 1

Anie on Oct 15, 2020 at 12:45 pm

Hur, city counsellors don't have a retirement package.

Up 21 Down 2

For the better of the City on Oct 15, 2020 at 8:52 am

I thought City Council is meant to be there to let citizens be involved and make a difference in their community. The compensation is nice but it's not supposed to be about that.

Up 11 Down 6

Hur dur on Oct 15, 2020 at 7:37 am

What percentage of their salaries are tax exempt and what does the basic retirement package cost taxpayers?
A good example of fat cats rarely doing the right thing, can't complain about that. Everything else is fair game...

Up 13 Down 10

Ginger Johnson on Oct 14, 2020 at 7:21 pm

Does this cover the cost of obfuscating even MORE main street crosswalks ?

Up 12 Down 25

Nathan Living on Oct 14, 2020 at 6:38 pm

Council needs to earn their wages and I have no problem with their pay and they deserve the raise.
I do have an issue with the conduct of city employees specifically how they say and do outrageous things which are usually ignored.

Up 45 Down 3

Matthew on Oct 14, 2020 at 4:37 pm

SACRIFICE!? HA! I wonder if they read the comments on the star?
"The motion to forego the raise was brought forward by Coun. Samson Hartland"

Anyways, I do believe it was Hartland who was the ONLY one to reject the raise to begin with.
At least ONE person has the dignity and pride on city council to call them out. The rest are NOT civil servants but servants to the dollar...

Well done Samson!

Up 41 Down 4

JC on Oct 14, 2020 at 4:03 pm

2.6% raise? That's a little much, especially when tax payers have to pony up. Even senior citizens don't get half that. Let's get real.

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