A formula that saw Pitt Meadows council get a seven-per-cent pay raise last year will stay in place after council was unable to agree on a solution to fix it last week.
A council motion to establish an independent committee to investigate how to compensate elected officials was defeated at a meeting Tuesday in a three-three split vote.
Although, council initially supported a motion to adjust its remuneration based on the Consumer Price Index for Metro Vancouver for the preceding year, that fix also was defeated.
“We are back to the bylaw,” said Mayor Deb Walters, who believes the city is just postponing an inevitable and necessary review.
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.
From 2012 to 2013, salaries went up seven per cent, causing councillors to recommend the city review them or disregard the bylaw.
Walters and councillors Gwen O’Connell and Tracy Miyashita supported forming an independent committee to review the salaries.
“I think it’s time to take it away from council and let individuals look at it. We shouldn’t be making the decision on how much we make,” said O’Connell during Tuesday’s council meeting.
Their counterparts however believe councillors are fairly compensated.
“I think at the moment we are fine and adequately paid for what we do,” said Coun. Bruce Bell.
He believes the independent committee would be a waste of citizens’ time.
Coun. Janis Elkerton still wants the bylaw changed.
“It’s a flawed formula,” said Elkerton noting that civic council salaries keep rising across Metro Vancouver and municipalities use each other as examples to justify increases.
“The CPI would have kept it in line.”
Korean war veteran Warren Byrnell was disappointed council was unable to agree on a solution to keep salaries in check.
“It’s completely unacceptable and frustrating,” said Byrnell, who has previously chastised council for rising taxes and rising salaries.
Byrnell urged council to come up with a solution to prevent another exorbitant pay raise, noting that as a pensioner his cheque isn’t going up.