Red Deer city manager Allan Seabrooke is determining what are fair salaries for the mayor and council after the October 2021 election.
At a time when Edmonton city council has unanimously agreed to take salary freezes until 2023, Red Deer city council is finishing the second year of what will be an almost three-year local wage freeze.
Seabrooke said Mayor Tara Veer and eight city councillors have actually had their salaries frozen since January 2019. It was done in acknowledgment of the economic difficulties many central Albertans have been experiencing.
Red Deer’s mayor and council salaries will not be increased before the end of their current term next October, according to a predetermined city policy.
Veer will continue earning $125,574 annually, while councillors get 55 per cent of the mayor’s salary, each earning $66,360 a year.
Red Deer councillors decided a year ago to put the city manager in charge of determining, through a comprehensive salary review of other jurisdictions, what’s fair compensation for the mayor and council.
This was enacted to take the awkwardness out of council setting their own pay increases.
It was further determined that if Seabrooke found a five per cent difference between what Red Deer’s mayor earns and what other mayors earn in various municipalities, an adjustment will be made.
But if the mayor’s salary is found more than five per cent greater than comparison salaries, it will be frozen until analysis shows it’s within five per cent.
Seabrooke said he’s now doing a salary comparison to determine what would be equitable, as well as competitive compensation, for next term’s mayor and council.
He hopes to have these salary numbers available by January.
Seabrooke believes that’s when some incumbent councillors could start announcing whether they will run for re-election and when other citizens begin deciding whether to try for public office.
“I believe it’s only fair for anyone who’s considering running to know what their salary would be.”