MAYOR Dave Pernarowski may not be running for re-election in local government elections this fall, but he hasn’t abandoned his view that the mayor’s salary be increased to reflect the time needed to do the job.
A notice of motion put forth by Pernarowski to open council debate on the topic was on the agenda for the May 12 council meeting but was put off until the next meeting on May 26 because councillor Bruce Bidgood, who has said he will be running for the top job, was absent.
Council must settle the issue in advance of a task force it has formed to review mayor and council salaries.
The task force is expected to report back the third week of June, but the report could be delayed until early July depending upon council’s decision regarding the mayor’s position.
“The changes that are happening in our community right now are rather dramatic. There will be challenges around infrastructure, health care, social programming, RCMP policing,” said Pernarowski in stating his case to increase the mayor’s salary in light of increased demands being placed on the position.
“I think the role of mayor needs to be seriously looked at in terms of whether or not this city is ready to put a full-time or fully compensated mayor position in place so we can have someone who can dedicate all of their time and all of their attention and their passion to the job.”
Pernarowski said there are aspects to the job he would have been able to give better attention to if the pay was such that he could afford to do the position full-time.
“Some of these files, like a second overpass in Terrace, those kinds of files, require someone at a political level to be consistently advocating to be working through the system of different levels of government where you are providing them with info they need to fund major structures like that.”
“My motion isn’t about making a decision right away, but that the task force that was formed to look at council remuneration to also look at the mayor as a full-time fully compensated position – what does that look like, to bring research back to council, so what other communities are doing that or have a full-time mayor in place like Prince George for example,” said Pernarowski.
The council salary review task force consists of a representative from the Terrace and District Chamber of Commerce, one from the Kitimat-Terrace and District Labour Council, one from the Terrace and District Community Services Society, former city councillor Brad Pollard and retired public sector administrator Andre Carrel who will represent the general public.
The mayor’s job now pays $34,002 and each member of council receives $12,121 this year. One-third of the remuneration is tax-free.