Whitehorse Daily Star

Major pay increases for next mayor, councillors approved

The city’s next mayor will make more than $100,000 a year.

By Stephanie Waddell on February 28, 2018

The city’s next mayor will make more than $100,000 a year.

Meanwhile, the next six city councillors will receive just over $36,000 a year.

It’s a major raise from the current salary of $87,942 for the mayor and annual honouraria of $20,496 for councillors.

The change was approved in a 4-3 vote by the current council Monday for third reading of the remuneration bylaw for the next council.

Councillors Jocelyn Curteanu, Samson Hartland and Dan Boyd voted against the increase.

Council typically approves the pay for the next council in the year leading up to an election.

City staff brought forward the proposed increases for this year.

They presented figures for both the full-time role as mayor and part-time roles of councillors that took into account impending changes to the federal tax regime.

Under those changes, a portion of remuneration currently exempt from income tax will be taxed beginning in 2019.

That essentially was to ensure the take home pay would remain the same for the roles.

That set the mayor’s salary at $101,100, and would have set the honouraria for councillors at $24,315.

The hike to $36,036 came out of another report showing many other cities of similar size in western Canada pay their part-time councillors an average of 36 per cent of the mayor’s full-time salary.

“For incoming councillors, comparative data from cities with roughly similar populations in Western Canada indicates that a rationale exists to set councillors’ salaries at 36 per cent of the mayor’s salary,” it was highlighted in a report to council.

“This calculation would set the ratio of councillors’ salaries to the mayor’s at both the average and median of that ratio in comparable communities.”

Before the vote Monday, Hartland reiterated his previous arguments that now is not the right time for such huge increases, given the property tax and fee increases the city has imposed (see story, p. 2) and the expenses the city is facing.

During previous votes on the raise, Hartland suggested the current pay has not prevented anyone from seeking a seat on council.

He pointed out that the 2015 election – where three candidates ran for mayor and 22 vied for the six councillor seats – drew a “crop of council candidates from all walks of life.

“I don’t believe remuneration is a barrier to run,” he said.

Curteanu stressed she continues to feel there should be a more detailed assessment on the amount councillors make elsewhere.

It would take into account factors like the responsibilities of each municipality such as policing and so on.

Boyd had been in favour of a pay boost to $24,315 for councillors.

However, he has been vocal in his opposition to the hike to $36,036. He reminded his colleagues of the tax increases property owners are facing and the city’s stated desire to keep costs down.

Coun. Rob Fendrick, meanwhile, noted Monday that the increase is “catch-up” that would have to be done at some point anyway. It should have been done years ago, Fendrick said.

Municipal elections throughout the territory are scheduled for Oct. 18.

Comments (9)

Up 3 Down 0

Lost In the Yukon on Mar 2, 2018 at 6:10 pm

I'll vote for ANYONE other than Dan Curtis next election. If you want to get elected this is your platform ... no tax increases, review of major capital projects, repeal legislation/bylaw

Up 9 Down 0

Willard on Mar 2, 2018 at 6:14 am

This is a total outrage! Along with a rollback for the unearned wage increases especially for those with egregious attendance records (why did they take the job) we have to demand recall legislation for our protection from self aggrandizing zealots.

Up 9 Down 0

Reality check on Mar 1, 2018 at 5:48 am

@ Hugh Mungus: SInce in this small town the people know each other I bet you know some CoW workers and then you should know that they are on the edge of a strike to get at least a tiny bit - compared to mayor and council!

I personally follow this news from a distance now (literally) and since it gets more and more ridiculous and way too expensive up there I'm happy that I made my move out of there.

Hopefully, others will follow - complaining doesn't help and they always do it their way! Public hearings, surveys, town hall meetings - you name it! All these things are decided long in advance and the citizens have nothing to say at the end...

Up 7 Down 0

Josey Wales on Feb 28, 2018 at 9:36 pm

Gee....imagine my absolute shock!
As if there were any outcome but the standard CoW predetermined one?
The charade of a civil service gets old, the nobles clearly feel we are here to serve them whilst they lord over us.
Yes they got theirs again, will do so again as we now act as subjects.
I personally will make them work for our money, and fully intend to NEVER stop taking arrogant outta touch political blowholes outta their engineered safe spaces.
King Dan redefines epic fail of leadership, but up here...ya get rewarded for incompetence.
If King Dan gets an opportunity to feed from our trough again, we continue to accept arrogant city managers and their disdain for our citizens?
This community is finished.

Up 4 Down 3

Bob Ablanalp on Feb 28, 2018 at 9:27 pm

"just as long as I get mine"

Up 8 Down 0

jc on Feb 28, 2018 at 8:42 pm

Hope they got a plan B.

Up 8 Down 0

Hugh Mungus on Feb 28, 2018 at 3:40 pm

COW senior management had their increase capped 1%. Unionized workers in COW are on the eve of negotiating a new contract. Any bets on if they get a 50% increase like the councilors gave themselves or the 1% senior managers got.

Up 2 Down 4

Dave on Feb 28, 2018 at 3:16 pm

Recycled news. Tedious in the extreme.

Up 9 Down 0

ProScience Greenie on Feb 28, 2018 at 3:11 pm

Are mayor and council going to fight tooth and nail to ensure that every employer gives their employees working in CoW city limits a similar 'catch-up' pay increase?

I dislike the overuse of the term 'elites' but this is exactly what mayor, council and their ilk are acting like. Even worse, they have no concept that their job is to represent their citizens, not rule over them. Epic fail. Expect more tax increases CoW citizens.

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