Vernon city councillor wants to cut committee pay for council

Committee pay questioned

A Vernon city councillor brought forward a notice of motion at Monday’s meeting to remove the option for elected officials to be paid to attend committee meetings.

The notice of motion was tabled by Councillor Kari Gares on behalf of Councillor Scott Anderson.

A news release issued on behalf of Anderson claims that for several years elected officials at the City of Vernon have had the option of drawing between $130 and $140 for each committee meeting he or she attends on behalf of the city.

Anderson claims the origin of the policy is unknown but anecdotal information appears to suggest it was implemented to help an elected official at the time survive on council pay alone.

He argues that citizen volunteers are not paid, so why should councillors on committees get financially compensated.

“Councillors are now paid ~ $34,000 per year and the mayor ~$94,000 plus several thousand more in regional compensation,” said Scott Anderson. “These are not princely sums, but they are well over the median income in BC for part-time and full-time jobs respectively. They are certainly adequate for the amount of work reasonably expected, despite the fact that some members of council may do much more or less, by their own choice.”

“Only recently, on August 15, 2022, are we on Council belatedly offering committee volunteers a token gift certificate for their help. The $250 gift certificate is slightly less than the amount a member of council is presently allowed to claim for attending two meetings,” adds Anderson.

He notes that the change would be unlikely to affect any current members of council because most don’t claim these expenses based on principle.

Anderson further argues that it’s unfair and unreasonable for council members to be paid twice for attending the duties of a part or full-time position they are already being compensated for when volunteers receive a mere token for the work.

The motion is expected to be voted on at the Vernon city council meeting on September 6.

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