City councillor pay increases outpace provincial average

Tyler
Tyler Clarke
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Prince Albert city council wages increased at a greater rate than the provincial average between 2011 and 2013.

The city’s latest batch of elected officials have been allowing themselves greater pay increases than the provincial average since they were elected to office in 2012.

 

The average city council remuneration increased by about 18 per cent between 2011 and 2013, during which time the mayor’s remuneration increased by about 10 per cent (see the breakout box at the bottom of this page for a rundown).

During this same timeframe, the average weekly wage in Saskatchewan, including overtime, increased by 7.94 per cent, according to the Statistics Canada data that the provincial government references.

City council pay increases are linked to cabinet minister pay, city finance director Joe Day explained.

“It basically removes any of the conflict of interest from the process as far as councillors setting their own salary, so the fact that if the cabinet minister’s getting an increase, our mayor’s getting an increase and our councillors get an increase,” he said after Tuesday’s executive committee meeting.

“As long as you stay linked to the formula, there isn’t any kind of a suspicion that councillors are trying to increase their remuneration just to benefit themselves.”

The mayor’s remuneration is a percentage of a cabinet minister’s salary and city councillors’ remuneration is set at a smaller percentage.

This formula will continue to determine the remuneration of mayor and council until they decide to amend their pay’s accompanying bylaw.

Last year, the city’s elected officials received an average remuneration of about $33,500, of which about $2,160 was made up of travel expenses.

The mayor received a remuneration of about $84,470 and a travel expense of $1,559.

It’s common for city councillors to maintain employment outside of city council duties. Mayor Greg Dionne only recently fully retired from non-mayoral employment, after nine years on council and more than a year as mayor.

The years 2011 and 2013 serve as the best benchmarks for the current city council’s remuneration increases, since 2011 was the last full year for the city’s last batch of elected officials and 2013 was the first full year for the current group of eight councillors and one mayor.

City council’s 2013 remuneration totals were included in the City of Prince Albert’s 2013 Municipal Public Accounts -- an annual document that lists not only city council earnings, but also a list of all city wages of $50,000 and greater.

The document was released for Tuesday’s executive committee meeting.

Civic employee wages are determined under five separate categories, Day explained.

There are four unions that determine employee wages under multi-year contracts. These unions include a police union, fire union and two CUPE unions -- one for mainly indoor employees and one for mainly outdoor employees.

As long as you stay linked to the formula, there isn’t any kind of a suspicion that councillors are trying to increase their remuneration just to benefit themselves. Joe Day

“Both sides always take into account what other centres are getting paid and what their increases are,” Day explained. “This is just a principle of the union negotiations.”

The city also has out-of-scope management staff whose wages are set by city council. These wages are based on things such as what increases unionized staff receives and what comparable positions outside of the city are being paid.

In 2011, there were 55 employees at the City of Prince Albert whose wages surpassed $100,000. In 2013, that number reached 78.

The top-paid position in 2013 was that of former city manager Robert Cotterill, who made $192,425 in 2013. Prince Albert Police Chief Troy Cooper was in second place, at $149,351.96.

The city’s total payroll in 2011 was $33.9 million. By 2013 it had grown to $37.1 million -- a 9.33 per cent increase over 2011.

 

City council 2011/2013 remuneration breakdown:

 

2011:

City councillor average remuneration -- $26,585.63

City councillor average travel expense -- $1,649.29

Total city councillor average pay -- $28,234.92

Mayor remuneration -- $76,779.08

Mayor travel expense -- $1,297.24

Total mayor pay -- $78,076.32

 

2013:

City councillor average remuneration -- $31,337.51

City councillor average travel expense -- $2,161.89

Total city councillor average pay -- $33,499.40

Mayor remuneration -- $84,470.23

Mayor travel expense -- $1,556.66

Total mayor pay -- $86,026.89

 

Difference:

Average city councillor remuneration difference -- 17.87 per cent

Average city councillor travel expense difference -- 31.08 per cent

Average total city councillor pay difference -- 18.65 per cent

Mayor remuneration difference -- 10.02 per cent

Mayor travel expense difference -- 20 per cent

Total mayor pay difference – 10.18 per cent

Organizations: Statistics Canada, Prince Albert

Geographic location: Saskatchewan, Prince Albert

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  • Greg Lanick
    August 06, 2014 - 03:25

    Sick. Just sick.