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Pitt Meadows council criticized again over pay increase

Pitt Meadows council got an earful during question period Tuesday from a resident concerned about wage increases.

Bill Wild asked council members what they were going to do to put a stop to the annual hikes as wages have gone up 50 per cent since 2008.

Wild was particularly concerned about a formula that saw council salaries increase by seven per cent last year.

Seven per cent is excessive from a citizen’s point of view, said Wild.

“I’m not to concerned with how much you make – I think it’s fair. It’s to do with the seven per cent. We have to do something so that next year we don’t end up with another seven per cent because Port Moody got 29 per cent.”

Council, however, is growing increasingly tired of fielding questions about salaries.

Council can chooses not to answer that question, said Mayor Deb Walters in response to Wild’s query.

“This is an older topic. We have discussed this in the past.”

Walters explained the wage increase was due to a bylaw created by an independent committee of citizens in 2008.

As per the Council Indemnity Bylaw, created by a committee of residents in 2008, council salaries are reviewed on Jan. 1 each year.

The mayor’s salary is then adjusted to 75 per cent of the published median salary of all Metro Vancouver mayors for the preceding year, while councillors make 37.5 per cent of the mayor’s salary.

Since the last review, however, Pitt Meadows council salaries have risen 50 per cent.

In 2013, the mayor earned $70,864, compared to $47,160 in 2008.

Councillors made $26,574, compared to $17,544 in 2008.

The seven per cent increase amounted to around $1,500 for councillors and $5,000 for the mayor.

Mayor Walters and councillors Bruce Bell, Dave Murray and Janis Elkerton have publicly indicated they were donating their increases to charities.

“As for this year’s increase, I can honestly say I have not taken a seven per cent increase. I have given that back to the city entirely,” Walters told Wild.

Council attempted to deal with the bylaw last month, but was unable to reach a compromise.

Walters and Couns. Tracy Miyashita and Gwen O’Connell want to establish an independent committee to investigate how to compensate elected officials.

Their counterparts, meanwhile, wanted to scrap the bylaw and tack increases to inflation or the Consumer Price Index for Metro Vancouver for the preceding year.

“As I have said before, I will not apologize for what I get paid,” O’Connell told Wild.

“Seven per cent does sound like a lot. Will it be seven per cent next year? I doubt it.”

O’Connell noted she has received few complaints from residents regarding salaries.

 

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