Vancouver City Councillors and Vancouver Park Board Commissioners quietly gave themselves pay raises during meetings held over the last few weeks.
Green City Councillor Adrienne Carr’s motion was carried at a standing committee of the whole on February 24 and was not announced in a media release.
It includes an $8,900 per year increase in pay for Councillors, bringing their salaries to $80,000 annually.
Carr says the increase is fair, when compared to other big cities.
“Councillors salaries now are going to be pegged to the median salary of cities across Canada that are about the same size and degree of complexity of Vancouver,” she said.
The move will peg Councillor’s salaries to inflation. In addition, councillors will receive an “annual supplement” of around $3,000 for the Mayor and all Councillors in lieu of extended health benefits.
“Until we actually manage to get a charter change that is a change to the Vancouver Charter to enable the city to do that, there is going to be a supplement given that basically covers the cost of councillors who are currently paying out for extended medical,” she continued.
Salaries for Park Board Commissioners and the Chair will also double, to $16,000 and $20,000 respectively.
The mayor’s salary wasn’t included in this motion, but Gregor Roberston will make more than $161,000 this year, up from $155,000 last year.
The motion also calls for remuneration paid to the Mayor and Councillors to be reviewed every four years with the next review occurring in 2019.
NPA city councillor George Affleck voted against the increase in compensation.
“In my mind, I knew what the pay was when I took the job and when people voted me in, and I accept that as my wage, and I am fine with it, and I was continuing to be fine with it,” he said.
Affleck also notes that he has problems with how transparent the decisions was.
“I’m not pleased by the process to be honest that we went through. I think that it was a bumpy one. It was sent back from the original report and then a motion was put on the floor late in the day, and I feel like we could have been more open about this process and this significant increase for the public.”
The pay change came on the recommendations of an independent committee struck by the city to review elected officials pay last year.