Task force to reassess council pay hikes

Langley Township Councillor Kim Richter. - submitted photo
Langley Township Councillor Kim Richter.
— image credit: submitted photo

Langley Township council is reaching out to the community to evaluate how municipal politicians receive pay hikes.

Council voted Monday in favour of establishing a five-person task force — preferably composed of Township residents — to look at how other comparable municipalities in B.C. and the rest of the country distribute salary raises to elected officials.

The move comes after automatic pay bumps were given to the mayor and councillors in December 2011.

Wages for councillors went up 19 per cent last year, increasing by nearly $7,000 from $36,043 to $42,936. Mayor Jack Froese saw his annual salary go from $93,724 to $105,456 — a 12.6 per cent jump.

The original recommendation called for the task force to look at remuneration practices at comparable B.C. municipalities.

But Councillor Bob Long and Councillor Kim Richter both said they favoured broadening the scope to look at the rest of Canada.

“I think part of the reason we’ve gotten into the difficulties that we’ve gotten into recently is because we’ve been looking just at B.C.,” Richter told council. “The B.C. system seems to be self-perpetuating.”

The Township of Langley bases council’s pay increases on the 60th percentile of direct pay rates for mayors and councillors in Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Coquitlam, Delta, Maple Ridge and Port Coquitlam.

Automatic pay rates are distributed every three years at the start of each term.

The task force is expected to be assembled later this spring, when council will appoint its members.

Preference will be given to qualified individuals with experience in either business, human resources, financial or post-secondary fields.

The task force will spend an estimated three to six months researching other Canadian municipalities’ pay increase practices. Its recommendation is expected by Dec. 31, however, Froese said it’s possible the deadline will be extended if more time is needed.

Council plans to initiate a new system for automatic pay increases by January, 2014,  before the next municipal elections come in the fall of that year.

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