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Massive pay hike for council

                                 - photo illustration
— image credit: photo illustration

The bank balances of Langley Township council members just got a lot fatter.

Mayor Jack Froese’s annual salary leaped by 12.6 per cent, while the stipends of councillors shot up by 19 percent.

On Dec. 1, days before they were formally sworn into office, the mayor and eight councillors received an automatic pay increase.

Mayor Jack Froese’s salary jumped by almost $1,000 per month, rising to $105,456 from $93,724.

The salaries of Councillors David Davis, Grant Ward, Kim Richter, Bob Long, Bev Dornan, Steve Ferguson, Charlie Fox and Michelle Sparrow rose by almost $7,000 a year to $42,936 from $36,043.

In the eight years since 2003, a councillor’s salary has more than doubled, and that for mayor has risen by almost 70 per cent.

During the same period, the B.C. minimum wage was frozen at $8 an hour. In May of this year it rose to $8.75. It was raised again to $9.50 an hour on Nov. 1, giving those at that rate an annual salary of under $20,000 a year, for a 40-hour work week.

All members of council either have other jobs or are collecting government pensions.

(Fox is a retired Langley School District principal; Froese and Ward are retired police officers).

Based on the remuneration process approved by council in 2006, a review was conducted at the beginning of this year, following a process that was started in 2000 when a Remuneration Task Force was established to review and report on council’s remuneration.

In August, 2000, council approved the recommendation of the task force that salaries be based on market surveys every three years to determine the 60th percentile of direct pay rates for the jobs of mayor and councillors.

The market surveys focus on the same six municipalities, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Coquitlam, Delta, Maple Ridge and Port Coquitlam.

In February, 2006, council approved the remuneration process, passing a motion ‘that council reaffirm the implementation of each three-year salary review will commence on the first day of the each subsequent term; and that review be conducted in the first quarter of each election year.’

In 2006, the mayor made $64,562 and the councillors earned $23,196. For the term that began in December, 2002,  the mayor collected $62,153 a year and the councillors $20,378.

One-third of the salaries are tax-free. The mayor and council typically work 11 months of the year, as council typically holds no meetings in August.

The mayor and council are also reimbursed for a variety of expenses they incur while on Township business, and also receive extra pay for attending Metro Vancouver meetings.

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