How much should city council be paid?

External review of Penticton city council pay being recommended

Penticton city council is being asked to support an external review of how and how much councillors and the mayor should be paid.

The current pay levels were established 16 years ago, along with linking a yearly increase to council salaries linked to the Consumer Price Index. Meal and mileage per diems were also established in 2002 and have not been reviewed or adjusted.

Things have changed since then, including the federal government eliminating the 1/3 tax exemption enjoyed by elected officials, a move that takes effect next year.

In some communities, council pay has been adjusted to make up for the taxation change, others have done nothing, resulting in an effective pay cut.

Closer to home, the 2014 crop of Penticton city councillors voted, early in their mandate, to take advantage of a health care package through the Union of B.C. Municipalities, determining also that the city would pay for half the premiums.

That’s been a bone of contention for some members of the public ever since, with it occasionally being pointed to in letters to the editor as an example of poor council spending.

The External Compensation Advisory Task Force will be taking a look at both issues, as well as council’s overall salary and expenses package.

If council votes to go ahead with the new task force, it will be made up of four independent individuals who have experience in business leadership, remuneration development or other similar experience and skills.

Council will vote on the proposal at their Dec. 18 meeting, which starts at 1 p.m. in City Hall council chambers.

Steve Kidd
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
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