Update – Perth council debates remuneration changes before end of term
As the current council’s term draws to a close, members were presented with a staff report that showed mayor and council remuneration as compared to area municipalities. The intent was for committee members to direct the striking committee to review current remuneration.
“I feel that I’m compensated adequately, but councilor positions are seriously underpaid – they’re third from the bottom I think,” said current Mayor John Fenik hedging a little on whether this council should be making decisions on future pay.
There were strong opinions expressed on both sides of the issue.
“I don’t think we as a council should be setting remuneration policy for the next council,” said Councillor Jim Boldt.
Councillor Jim Graff also expressed discomfort at making a decision immediately.
At the start of the discussion only half of the council members agreed that it was better for the outgoing council to make decisions affecting remuneration for the incoming council.
“I think it’s better if we do it now, because the next council will be inexperienced,” pointed out Councillor Judy Brown.
Meanwhile outgoing councilor Riq Turner suggested that an increase in remuneration could help attract more candidates to run for office.
“If the pay was a little better, we might have more candidates coming out and have a more diverse council, which is good for everybody,” said Turner.
While Councillor Ed McPherson pointed out that the question of compensation is not an election issue and should be the outgoing council’s decision.
“I’ve never been asked in the 24 years of being on council what we make and I don’t think it’s a big issue to most people. I think we’re here because we value the town and we want to give something back,” said McPherson.
Perth Councillors are paid $13,906 per year and can claim $3,500 in expenses. The average remuneration for Councillors in the county (including Smiths Falls) is $15,000.
At the end of the discussion Perth council members voted unanimously to have the striking committee review council remuneration and spending policy and return with recommendations.
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