Fredericton councillors vote for pay raise

·2 min read
Councillors will see an increase of almost 35 per cent. (Daniel McHardie/CBC - image credit)
Councillors will see an increase of almost 35 per cent. (Daniel McHardie/CBC - image credit)

City councillors in Fredericton voted to themselves a pay boost of almost $10,000 at Monday night's meeting.

Councillors' earnings will go from $26,000 a year to $35,000, an increase of nearly 35 per cent.

The mayor's salary and allowances will jump from $71,000 a year to $87,000, a near 23 per cent rise.

Four councillors voted against the motion, including Steven Hicks, Margo Sheppard, Mark Peters and Bruce Grandy, who said he struggled with the issue.

"If I was going to vote myself a pay raise, I should have let my constituents know so they could decide whether they wanted to vote for me or not vote for me for these types of decisions," he said.

Coun. Hicks, who has served on council since 2008, said he didn't support the raise when it came up during the last council term and wouldn't support it now.

"[I'm] quite well aware of what the job expectations are and I knew what the compensation was going in," he said.

An independent review in 2019 recommended council get a pay rise that would see wages come in line with the median level of comparable municipalities in the region.

At the time, that meant an increase of 13.5 per cent in the mayor's salary and 29 per cent in the councillors' paycheques.

CBC News
CBC News

But council deferred voting on the issue until the next term.

Mayor Kate Rogers said the job of councillors has become more consuming over the years and that a wage increase is warranted.

"These are 24-7 jobs now," she said. "We're dealing with issues now that I didn't deal with when I first came on council in 2012. This is a very different looking job. So what this remuneration is is a reflection of the changing nature of this position and an acknowledgement of not only the time in, but the expertise required to address these issues."

The increase in remuneration will cost the city nearly $130,000 a year, but the mayor said the city is in a good place financially to afford it, despite being almost two years into the pandemic.

"Everyone on council is aware that people are struggling and no one, no one denies that, and that things are getting expensive and money's tight for many, many families. I wouldn't want anyone to think that we do this lightly ... But the city can afford it. The city's financially in very good condition. And I think the budget allowed for it."

Councillors acknowledged voting themselves a raise is an awkward process, Coun. Hicks called it flawed.

"I would hope there'd be a better process in the future, whether that's mandated through the province or how it's done but really this isn't the best way to go about things but it's the hand we're dealt."

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