Maple Ridge council votes for raise

Coun. Mike Morden voted against the pay increase, used
Facebook to find out how the public felt

Maple Ridge council votes for raise

The base salaries for Maple Ridge’s municipal council will be going up after November’s civic election and continue to rise until 2013.

Mayor Ernie Daykin, Couns. Judy Dueck, Al Hogarth, Craig Speirs and Linda King supported the increase Tuesday, which will see base wages rise by nine per cent for the mayor and 13 per cent for councillors over three years.

Members also decided that the next council will review the district’s indemnity policy in 2012, with a committee of citizens.

“I think the present format works pretty well, but I’m on the inside, so it’s hard to tell,” said Speirs.

“I think we need the examination from a citizens’ committee. Just to make sure we are doing the right thing. It is tough having to vote on your own pay raise. Nobody wants to abuse the taxpayer, but we really need to attract quality candidates who can take time out of their work to do this.”

A staff report found Maple Ridge is lagging behind its defined market of 10 other municipalities when it came to base salary (a sum that doesn’t include other cash payments, such as car allowance or acting mayor’s pay).

The mayor’s current base salary, $92,300, is nine per cent behind the market.

Councillors, who pull in $37,300 a year, were making 13 per cent less.

Staff proposed the district catch up to the market over three years, by incrementally increasing the base salary for the mayor by two percent this year, another 2.65 per cent in 2012 and four per cent in 2013.

Councillors will get a three per cent increase this year, another four per cent in 2012 and a six per cent raise in 2013.

Last year, the consumer price index increased by 1.8 per cent.

If the CPI stays steady for the next three years, the mayor will collect a base salary of $106,000 by 2013, while councillors’ wages will would go up to $45,000.

A review in 2008 resulted in a raise of 53 percent for councillors, while the mayor’s salary jumped 28 per cent.

Council then decided to peg salaries at the 65 percentile range – meaning Maple Ridge would remain below 65 per cent of the other councils’ salaries, but above 35 per cent.

Coun. Michael Morden voted against the recommended the new increase after using his Facebook page to poll how the public felt.

Of the more than 30 comments elicited, a majority felt Maple Ridge councillors were making enough money.

“Cost of living index increases are okay, but that’s just me,” said Morden, who’d like to see the way the district currently reviews council salaries looked at again as the current method has Maple Ridge continually trying to keep pace with other municipalities.

“There has to be reasonable caps set in place all around, so this snowball-type effect doesn’t happen.”

Cheryl Ashlie was the other councillor who voted against the pay raise because she also feels fairly compensated.