Raises pitched for incoming Maple Ridge council

A staff report found Maple Ridge is lagging behind its defined market of 10 other municipalities when it comes to base salary

Raises pitched for incoming Maple Ridge council

The base salaries for Maple Ridge’s municipal council could be going up after November’s civic election and continue to rise until 2013, if politicians support a proposed increase next week.

A staff report found Maple Ridge is lagging behind its defined market of 10 other municipalities when it comes 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 are proposing 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 would get a three per cent increase this year, another four per cent in 2012 and a six per cent raise in 2013.

“We think that’s reflecting our current capacity and the way we should do it,” said John Leeburn, the executive director to district’s chief administrative officer.

Besides the nine per cent increase for the mayor and 13 per cent increase for councillors over three years, salaries would also get an annual cost of living (Consumer Price Index) adjustment.

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

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

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

In 2008, council 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. Cheryl Ashlie wants the district to conduct a “real analysis” of the role of a civic politicians – one that’s difficult to attach a monetary value to. Her concern is, if council bases the increases on what other municipalities are doing, there will be no end to them.

“I feel every job has a cap where the salary or indemnity is at the appropriate level,” Ashlie added.

“Personally, right now, I do feel we are fairly compensated.”

Mayor Ernie Daykin wants to make sure Maple Ridge politicians are fairly compensated so the civic service doesn’t just attract retirees or those who are independently wealthy.

Daykin said it would be difficult to conduct the analysis that Ashlie suggested.

“Time away from your family, what’s that worth? Missed birthday parties?,” he asked, noting that his wedding anniversary and birthday often fall during the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities meeting.

“I enjoy my job and love my job, but it’s often 24/7.”

Council will discuss the proposed increases and staff report at a regular meeting on Tuesday, July 26.