Red Deer County News

Posted on: May 13, 2017

Changes Coming to Mayor and Council Compensation

Council Chambers.jpg

At the April 11 County Council meeting, a review of the Councillor Remuneration Policy was brought forward. This is a regular process that occurs prior to the October municipal election. The proposed amendments to the policy were adopted by Council and will come into effect following the October election.

Prior to the October 2010 election, Red Deer County adopted a new Councillor Remuneration Policy with the assistance of an independent committee of public members. This policy changed the method of payment to an annual stipend (monthly installments) that members of Council received as compensation for their time spent in conducting their responsibilities.

Previous to the adoption of this policy, a small monthly honorarium was paid to members of Council and each member then claimed a daily per diem for County related meetings and events that they participated in. To ensure transparency, with the new policy a process was set up whereby a reporting of all the members of Council’s claims, their meeting attendance and conference expenses are published on a quarterly basis in the County News as well as being posted on the County’s website.

A review of these reports since the adoption of the 2010 policy shows that members of Council are meeting the intent of the policy and are participating in their responsibilities (attendance at Council, MPC and Committee meetings).

During the 2010 initial review, committee members established the following fundamental principles that were considered during the review process: fairness, transparency, predictability and simplicity. The committee wanted to provide a method of remuneration that would be simple to budget and be based on the most current and appropriate levels of compensation.

Committee members also felt it important to set a remuneration that would reflect the nature of the responsibilities of Elected Officials, while ensuring that the policy reflected the separation between Elected Officials and County employees. Elected Officials are the governance body of the municipality and set the policy direction for the organization. County employees are the persons responsible for administering the policies and conducting the day-to-day work.

With the adoption of the 2013 policy, an annual increase of 1.5% was added to the Mayor’s and Councillors’ Base Pay. The proposed policy amendment recommended that, starting October 20, 2017, the Mayor’s Base Pay be set at $85,439.77 and Councillors’ Base Pay be set at $59,967.04. It was also proposed that an annual increase to the base pay be set at a rate equivalent to the Alberta Consumer Price Index as at July each year with the increase being effective as of November 1 of each year.

Normally, the Mayor is the elected official designated to attend ceremonial or public relation events on behalf of the County. In some of these instances, other members of Council may also choose to attend the event. As a result, clarity is provided in relation to mileage claims for attendance at these events. Essentially, only the Mayor or his designate (i.e. Deputy Mayor or Local Councillor) will be eligible to make this claim. The policy does include annual budgets for members of Council to attend conferences, seminars, workshops and training sessions. As a result, any costs associated with these events are included within that annual budget. There are other public relation type events that the Mayor is invited to that have costs associated with them. To allow the Mayor the discretion to determine if attendance at one of these events will be beneficial to the County, the policy was amended to include an annual Mayor’s Public Relations budget of $2,000. On a monthly basis, the Mayor will be required to provide a full reporting of events attended.

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