What’s with the huuuugge raise for the mayor?
Good question and happy you asked. But there is a story and I admit up-front that I supported and promoted the mayor’s salary adjustment.
One of the criteria or ways to measure a justifiable salary for the mayor is to see how your local salary compares to other mayors in the Region with somewhat the same responsibility and qualifications. By all measures the current W-S mayor was under paid.
As one measure we took a look at the salary of the full-time positions in the Region. They ranged from a high of 3.10 times that of a part-time Councillors salary to a low of 1.48 times. The average of the N 9 municipal mayors was 2.10 times. Yes our mayor was the 1.48 times. Councillors were convinced to move his salary up to 2.00 times, still slightly below the average.
In my opinion we now have a very competent, educated, experienced, intelligent team-playing person as our mayor. In order to continue to attract such a person we must in my opinion, reward them with proper compensation.
As much as I admire and appreciate all of his attributes the question to me was how were we, the tax-payers, going to pay for this required $21,000. increase. The second part of this explanation is quite simple. As you may be aware each Councillor is allowed to spend at their discretion, a certain amount on items such as advertising, entertainment, special occasion acknowledgments, websites etc. (Historically the formula for a Councillor was annually $5,000. plus $2.00 per household). I approached each Councillor and asked for a commitment to reduce their budgeted discretionary expenses by an amount to off-set any increase I thought we should be making to the mayors salary.
Bottom line is I, along with each Councillor, all agreed to do just that. The discrepancy budget per Councillor for 2019 was agreed upon and reduced to $2,500. plus $0.60 per household, per Ward. When the mayor heard of my plan he agreed to likewise, reduce his own budgeted expenses by 1/3. These two changes (the wage increase and the total expense reduction) did have in fact a positive effect on the 2019 budget. Moreover it will be difficult to ever have this reduced amount increased over time.
I appreciate this is a long answer to your short question but my explanation is something the media seem reluctant to speak/report. Negative press is a frustrating part of the job. This mayor brings a whole new perspective to the game and is now being compensated accordingly. I am proud of my fellow Councillors for taking the stance they did.
Councillor Ward 2