North Grenville council is considering a possible pay increase for the mayor and councillors in the municipality.
According to a report prepared by Gallagher Benefit Services Group Inc., council’s current remuneration is below the target pay policy adopted for staff positions and is at the 60th percentile of the same comparator group. This is compounded by the fact that as of January 1, 2019, council members were no longer exempt from paying tax on 1/3 of their income, as they were previously. “Other councils around made adjustments when the 1/3 tax exemption was cancelled to make sure they were bringing in the same amount,” said Deputy Mayor Jim McManaman, “This council did not do that.”
According to the Gallagher’s report, they suggest raising the base pay for mayor from $32,598 to $41,200, deputy mayor from $19,558 to $23,234 and councillor from $19,558 to $20,426. Deputy Mayor Mcmanaman pointed out that even with the suggested adjustments, the pay rates for council members do not equal a living wage, especially for a young person with a family and mortgage. “I think we need to work towards that one day,” he said.
Councillor Kristin Strackerjan pointed out that North Grenville has very few council members for the municipality’s size and growth projections. As the Gallagher report pointed out, this means that each member of council is responsible for a larger portion of the population than comparable municipalities. “I would like to know whether there was due consideration taken to whether what we needed was another member of council rather than more money,” she said.
Director of Finance, Marcus Hewitt, who presented the findings of the Gallagher report to council, says that the need for more council members was not part of the revision of council remuneration. “Sitting around the county council table, it is obvious that we are quite lean for such a high growth municipality,” Mayor Nancy Peckford commented. “It is a related but somewhat different proposition in terms of our considerations.”
Councillor Doreen O’Sullivan said that she believes this council has taken on more than previous councils. “I am happy to be doing what I am doing, but fair compensation is important,” she said. “The fact that I am making less than the previous council just isn’t right.”
Council agreed that they did not feel comfortable making the decision to raise their remuneration without public consultation. Therefore, they have directed staff to assemble a citizen committee to make a recommendation for a possible pay adjustment. They have directed Marcus to leave council remuneration as status quo in the 2020 budget until the citizen committee can present its findings. “There is lots for a citizenled committee to contemplate,” Mayor Peckford said