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Task force begins mayor's pay probe
FINAL MEMBERS of a task force charged with examining the mayor's pay are being named this week.
They're expected to provide a progress report for council's next meeting which is Sept. 12.
A first planned task force made up of a former mayor or councillor, the Terrace Economic Development Authority chair and the president of the Terrace and District Chamber of Commerce was augmented by a person from a social services agency and a member of the Kitimat-Terrace and District Labour Council after discussion at the Aug. 22 council meeting.
Councillors agreed that while the task force needed business representation, it also needed representation from other sectors of the community.
The task force grew out of a call by the chamber of commerce to convert the mayor's position into a full-time job with a full-time salary.
Chamber representatives told council that a full-time mayor paid a full-time wage would be better able to chase business opportunities that would benefit the city and area.
Although the chamber of commerce has been pushing to convert the mayor's position into a full-time job in time for this November's municipal elections so that potential candidates could consider the ramifications, councillors said there may not be time to fully debate the issue of defining the job responsibilities of the mayor.
In the end they decided to have the task force look solely at the mayor's wage and not at the job description.
“There's no point in rushing this. Let's make a good decision on this,” said councillor Carol Leclerc at the Aug. 22 meeting.
Mayor Dave Pernarowski will earn $27,670 this year compared to, for example, Prince Rupert mayor Jack Mussallem who earns $38,775 when looking at a list of cities of a similar size.
Dawson Creek has a full-time mayor at a salary of $55,482 as does Fort St. John which pays $59,743 and Quesnel which pays $40,728
Lake Country, just north of Kelowna, pays $36,435 to its part-time mayor while in Parksville, the part-time mayor earns $33,300.
Council last had its pay examined in 2006 after finding out that both the monies paid mayor and council were the lowest in the province among similar-size municipalities.
Double digit rate rate increases were put in that year and there are now annual increases tied to the consumer price index but compensation remains behind other municipalities.