Red Deer city council froze their own salaries and the city manager’s to show leadership in tough economic times.
A move to impose a six-month wage freeze on 150 non-union staff was defeated. Likewise, a resolution to freeze the corporate leadership team of eight senior managers failed to get enough votes.
The mayor makes $105,000 and councillors just under $58,000. City manager Craig Curtis makes about $264,000. The salary freezes will save about $13,000 in total.
Coun. Lawrence Lee proposed the resolution to freeze council’s salaries for 2017.
“The reason I propose this is to really do our part to keep the costs to our tax base to a minimum.”
Lee said he had a similar motive in mind for the city manager wage freeze.
Coun. Buck Buchanan said the moves send the message “we are all doing our level best to tighten our belts.”
Coun. Paul Harris was among councillors who opposed the wage freezes. He said all city staff should be treated equally.
Rather than cut salaries, Harris said efficiencies could be found to save money.
“It’s easy to cut staff wages, but it’s not always the best thing,” he said.
Freezing the corporate leadership team’s salaries for six months was supported by several councillors, including Tanya Handley.
“We just can’t keep doing business as usual,” she said. “The economic times we are living in are absolutely extraordinary.”
Harris later proposed a motion to maintain a hiring freeze at 2017 levels. As well, the city manager is to review all vacancies to determine if they need to be filled.
“From a business perspective, this is where efficiencies in an organization are found,” he said.
Mayor Tara Veer said she supported the move, but was confident the city was already looking closely at filling vacancies.