Sylvan Lake mayor, council defer decision on pay hike

Sylvan Lake council wants more time to review a committee’s recommendations for major boosts to mayor and councillor pay cheques.

Sylvan Lake council wants more time to review a committee’s recommendations for major boosts to mayor and councillor pay cheques.

The independent committee in charge of reviewing council pay recommended the mayor’s total compensation, including per diems and benefits, be boosted by 20 per cent to $66,885 from $55,411. Councillors’ compensation would increase just under 15 per cent to $34,604 from $30,100.

Town communications officer Joanne Gaudet said after lengthy debate council asked staff on Monday to review its remuneration policy and report back at the July 11 meeting.

Much of the debate focused on the mayor’s position and whether compensation — even with the proposed pay hike — reflected the workload for what amounts to a full-time job although it still considered part-time work.

Gaudet said while there is support for a pay increase council still has questions about what it should be and how it should be determined.

The committee recommended the increases after comparing salary scales in 11 similar-sized communities. Mayor Sean McIntyre’s compensation is significantly below the market average and ninth of 11 communities. Only the mayors of Beaumont and Strathmore made less in total compensation with the average being $63,458.

In its analysis, the committee recommended the mayor’s base salary be increased 30 per cent to $48,830.

“Even though the increase to the mayor’s base salary may represent a high percentage to achieve the market average, it was noted the demands of the position are always increasing, as Sylvan Lake continues to grown and evolve at a rapid pace,” says the minutes of the remuneration committee’s meeting.

The committee said the increase was warranted but its members were “also aware of the difficult current economic climate.”

It is important that compensation reflect the position’s workload and responsibilities to continue to attract qualified applicants, the committee says.

A similar rationale was applied to proposed councillor compensation increases.

Councillors took home less than all but four communities; Beaumont, Lacombe, Camrose and Strathmore. Total councillor compensation of $30,100 was below the average of $33,295.

Sylvan Lake council’s compensation is reviewed in the year before an election by a group of citizens appointed from the community.

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