West Kelowna  

West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater. (File Photo: Wayne Moore - Castanet)
West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater. (File Photo: Wayne Moore - Castanet)

Findlater mulling pay raise options

by - Story: 52480

Like it or not, West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater received a pay raise of 4.75%.

What Findlater ultimately does with the additional $2,762 is still up in the air. He did not take part in the debate surrounding the raise, saying he was embarrassed and felt there was a conflict of interest.

The same report which provided the mayor with a 4.75% increase also recommended a remuneration increase of .75% for each of the six councillors.

That amounts to an increase of $153 a year per councillor.

Contacted at his office Wednesday, Findlater says he is waiting for more information before deciding what to do.

"I am trying to get more information on how to do that without being penalized," says Findlater.

"If I did decline it, whether I can simply stay at the same level or do I have to receive it and pay it back and get taxed on the higher rate, which is not really acceptable to me, to pay higher income tax on it. I have asked about that."

What he won't do is accept the raise and donate the difference to charity.

"That doesn't do anything for the taxpayer of West Kelowna. If I were to do that, I'm sure I'd have every charity in the Central Okanagan coming to me."

Findlater also reiterated the raise is for the position, not the person.

"I have to make a very clear distinction. This is they mayor's salary as opposed to Doug Findlater's salary. I could have a heart attack and somebody else would be mayor, then that's their salary."

Secondary to the raise is just how the municipality goes about determining the salary for mayor and council.

It is policy that every year, staff research salaries from six predetermined communities in the province, three with larger populations (Langley, North Cowichan and Port Moody) and three with lower populations (Vernon, Penticton and Campbell River).

The City of Kelowna and Regional District of Central Okanagan appoint an independent citizens committee which looks at salaries and makes recommendations every three years.

Findlater says the policy needs to be revisited by council.

"I think council has to look at that again. Is this the correct way to do it? It is a totally anomalous result that is out of sync with the times we are in. I think we have to take a look at it."

Whether council has the appetite to do so is another matter.

"You were there and I wasn't (Monday's debate)and they reaffirmed the policy. It did seem odd to me and I think it should be looked at again."

As it stands now with the increase, the mayor will receive $60,853 a year while councillors are set to receive $20,654 each per year.

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