Larger Victoria communities inconsistent in reviewing salaries of elected officers – Goldstream Information Gazette

Comparing the salaries of mayors in the capital region can be a puzzling task for the taxpayer.

The mayors of the two largest jurisdictions by population topped the payroll, based on the latest available figures, with Saanich’s Fred Haynes at $ 123,632 (2020 figure) and Victoria’s Lisa Helps with a total of $ 133,794 (2019).

Third place goes to Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins ($ 61,589 in 2019), whose community is the fifth largest and is within 1,500 residents of Oak Bay, Colwood and Central Saanich. These mayors make an average of $ 25,000 less a year.

Even Stew Young, mayor of the area’s third largest and fastest growing parish, Langford, made about $ 16,500 less at $ 45,035 in 2019, though his salary will rise to $ 75,863 by 2024.

RELATED STORY: Esquimalt Votes For Raise For New Council

All of the mayors except Young also sit on the capital’s regional council board. Get $ 20,338 per year plus $ 110 per meeting, with between $ 3,000 and $ 6,000 for chairing other boards or committees. The CRD Chairman of the Board, currently Saanich Coun. Colin Plant receives an additional $ 50,248 per year plus attendance fees.

Most municipalities use a version of the 2019 Union of BC Municipalities Guide to Council and Board Compensation, which provides advice on external reviews, their frequency, comparisons with similarly sized jurisdictions, and how to effectively communicate salary changes to the public after the councils are aware of them have voted.

But not all local communities have mayor and city council salary reviews anchored in their policies, as is the case with Esquimalt. Since at least 2008, when she was first elected mayor, Desjardins said the parish had conducted independent reviews for the last year of a council term, with all increases starting from the next term in office.

“Consistency is required, and that’s the challenge if you don’t do this regularly,” she said, pointing out that employee positions are subject to regular salary reviews.

“The challenge of falling behind and then doing this type of work will show that you are out of whack. Then you have to justify a significant increase in salary, if you are already trying to make people understand how to estimate an appropriate remuneration. “

Given that the roles of councilors have become more complicated – COVID-19 and homelessness, for example, local governments have done more social services – Stan Bartlett, former chairman of Grumpy Taxpayer $ of Greater Victoria, said the allowance should be removed from the Council hands.

Not having a standardized method of determining the salaries of mayors and councilors in BC doesn’t help with public understanding, he added.

RELATED STORY: Employees Recommend a substantial increase in Langford Council payment

“The province should take over and set up a grid system,” Bartlett said, suggesting that a more even playing field would eliminate a “keep-up” mentality.

“Keep the consumer price index going up every year, and that’s it, none of these debates distracts from the bigger issues.”

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