Santa delivers Vancouver councillors a jolly pay raise

Post by Daniel Fontaine in


Merry Christmas – Vancouver's CFO advises civic politicians they're entitled to a 2.77% pay raise on January 1st

With Vancouver City Hall slowly emptying out and people heading home for the holidays, a nice little gift was delivered to the elected officials by Patrice Impey, the Chief Financial Officer. The gift came in the form of a memo whereby she advised the Mayor and councillors they are entitled to a raise in pay.

You'd think after all the recent tough talk of budget cutbacks, layoffs and the closure of the Bloedel Conservatory, a few civic politicians would be thinking twice about taking a pay hike during these recessionary times. It doesn't appear so.

On January 1st all the CUPE workers will get a 4% pay hike while the city's managers will get 2% followed by another 2% increase in July 2010. As we previously reported, City Manager Penny Ballem is the only employee who decided to forego a pay increase in 2010 (this according to the Mayor's office spinmeisters – we've never had it confirmed publicly by Ballem herself). We naively thought she might have set the tone for local politicians who are about to receive a 2.77% pay increase in the new year.

According to Impey's memo:

The annual adjustment to Councillors’ salaries is the based on the increase in average weekly wage rate for BC for the 12 months ended November. The increase was 2.77% for the 12 months ended November 2009 and is applied to calculate the 2010 salaries as follows:

                      2009                   2010
Councillor     $60,014.30         $61,674.56
Mayor          $136,232.46       $140,001.26

The Mayor's and councillor's expense accounts (which are tied to their overall salary) are also on their way up. Impey states:

The 2010 annual expense allowance for the Mayor is $14,000.13. In addition the Mayor may either receive a monthly transportation allowance of $600.00 or be provided with vehicle. The 2010 annual expense allowance for Councillors is $6,167.46.

We're unsure if COPE councillors Cadman or Woodsworth will take a page out of BC NDP leader Carole James' playbook and refuse to accept the pay increase. Should the politicians choose to do so, it wouldn't be much out of their pocket. However, it would send a very powerful message that they are prepared to lead by example. Over in Oak Bay, civic politicians have already decided to turn back their pay increment as a way of saving money and demonstrating they recognize the poor economic conditions facing the municipality.

Unlike James, we're told Anton has already ruled out turning back her pay raise. We suspect COPE and the ruling Vision Vancouver will also keep the cash. According to Impey, the pay raise will be a small blip on the overall operating budget:

The above adjustments in base salaries and expense allowance for the Mayor and Councillors, effective January 1, 2010, represent an incremental increase in the 2010 Operating Budget of approximately $23,300.

New: Check out our poll on this subject and let us know what you think the Mayor's pay raise should be.

- Post by Daniel


This is a joke...right?
If it is the truth...shame on them. They have not earned last years salary yet.

With all of the new backyard chicken coops, city-wide communal vegetable gardens, and bike lanes to boot, Mayor Moonbeam has certainly earned his salary increase IMHO.

we get what we pay for and by all indications... that isn't very much.

Where was the news release about the pay raise on the city website? Funny that nobody at the city wanted to alert the public to this. Thanks for bringing this to our attention. Merry Christmas to all of you at citycaucus towers. Keep up the good investigaitive reporting.

@ Julia.

I beg to differ. I think in this instance, we are paying a lot and getting not very much back.

Isn't being a councillor a part time gig? Not bad pay if you ask me. How do I apply?

I think the term part time gig may be true in theory but everything I see would suggest it is more like full time. How many full time union staff at the hall make more than 60K? How many smart, competent folks out there would give up their jobs to run the city of Vancouver for 60K?

tough to know which is which - the not worth the money we already pay, or can't attract good people because the pay is the pits.

I dont know how tough times are?? Each day is a different report of coming out of recession, or the recession wasnt as bad as 1st thought; to other articles (when talking about politicians wages) that we are in very dire straights and tough times!! Like other debates on global climate issues who should we believe - there are such contradictory points of view.. I know that the meetings are not every day at city hall - but to suggest this is P/T job is ridiculous - not to mention the time these folks take away from there families - missing sporting events of their kids to attend community meetings etc...all for a measley 60k..
Quite Frankly - they do deserve a raise - and this isnt even a big raise (unlike the Liberals recent huge increases...54% for Gordo) This is small dollars when you consider the size of the City (and no the ciy is nowhere near broke - AAA ratings and everything else considered) Give them their raise and quite seems like it is even "responsible" (the increase) if it was 15 or 20% then I may have an issue....but lets be realistic...and to all the negative &*^%$ers on this site - if you are so good - run for councillor next time around....Merry Christmas and thanks for doing your job during these supposed tough times....I think we have spent more $$than ever in the past 5yrs....

Uh, they didn't actually get a raise, this is just a recommendation from the Chief Financial Officer.
Now what is the process for determining this raise, and when was this process set out I wonder?

I would have had no problem with the pay raise had Council done the right thing and raised taxes enough to cover the increased costs of running the municipality. But they didn't. They stubbornly stuck to the 2% target (ignoring the will of the electorate) and have adopted a budget that will damage this city for years to come.

Jeremy (yet another tedious Vision apologist) calls councillors' salaries "...a measley 60K". In fact only 10% of the Canadian population make $60K or more per year. The average income is about $32K, and that's for jobs which actually create things as opposed to councillors who just talk about things. He asks "who should we believe?". There are two possible answers : can believe Jim Sinclair; or 2. you can think for yourself after collecting as many facts as possible.

Merry Christmas - I quickly checked in to see if anyone would respond to my comments ...Thought I would respond -quickly as I am basting a Turkey!!
No disrespect but in this "free society" we are all at our own potential to earn any annual figure we desire - It often directly correlates to our own energy output....Based on your figures above I would suggest that 90% of Canadians need to be more creative and not rely so heavily on someone else to support them....we can be very productive and earn a large potential income..but are so "laid back" because we have it so good - Are you suggesting that those of us who step it up and work crazy hours and volunteer our time (like a councillor) should not be fairly compensated cause 90% of Cdns are taken it easy?!
for example I work extradorinary hours and years ago started a company that now grosses just over 400k... not a lot in perspective as I am always aware that no matter the glory story there is always someone bigger and better...You cannot compare a councillor salary to average Cdn - as that figure itself is scewed...Part time jobs, Casual workers, (Wal-Mart employees) bring the figure down...and is this a net pay or a gross pay the business man who has lots of write offs will have a much lower salary - it does not mean though he or she cannot survive as they have many items that are in the company name or have been written off, (like your rental homes) my salary when looked at this way is around 45k...I am NOT a Vision apologist - I call a spade a spade - and they have pissed off alot of their employees and ppl - probably more than they have impressed in the past months...but these are the realities all governments are facing - and we have to contend with the whole Olympic angle / village inaddition...I will apologize to you for stating what I believe and these councillors have done nothing to make me believe they do not deserve this very minor increase....(If you are a landlord as the name suggests - I can also understand why you are so against them....possible tenants with backyard chickens now!! - Hopefully you are good to your tenants as you seem to be aware they are earning a very low wage

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