Some Vancouver city Councillors are playing defense over council quietly voting itself a pay raise.
Raymond Louie was asked why there was no press release or any attempt to communicate the raise with the taxpaying public.
“It was publicly put on the agenda. It was available publicly as normal after the council agendas, and it was a fair process.”
Reporter: “But there was no press release, or any attempt to communicate that to the public?
Louie: “It was on the agenda, and it was publicly put out – it was on – there’s often not press releases for many items that are on the agenda.”
Reporter: “Sure, but there’s also communications on stuff that’s in the public’s interest.”
Louie: “I think all of the agenda items we deal with at council are all in the public interest.”
Louie says the raise came as a response to an independent task force, and was a multi-party decision made after a lengthy discussion.
LISTEN: Shane Woodford asks Councillor Raymond Louie about the unpublicized raises
Late night meeting
Vancouver City Councillors quietly gave themselves and those on the Vancouver Park Board pay raises almost three weeks ago at a late night meeting.
Green City Councillor Adrienne Carr’s motion was carried at a standing committee of the whole on February 24th, 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.”
In addition, councillors will recieve 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.”
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.
Listen: CKNW’s Shelby Thom breaks down municipal raises on Drex Live
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.”
Affleck also says 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.