By Cal Braid
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
At the Nov. 20 Vauxhall council meeting, councillors reviewed the Remuneration Policy for elected officials. The policy’s intent is to provide “a fair and equitable means of reimbursement to elected officials for attending and performing their duties (…).” Council agreed upon an increase in remuneration, and the updated policy will reflect the changes.
The Town’s assistant chief administrative officer and office manager, Mindy Dunphy, confirmed the following:
Moved by Coun. Deleeuw to accept the changes to the Council Remuneration Policy 027-2017 to reflect an increase in the monthly honorarium for the Mayor to $800, Deputy Mayor and Councillors to $450. To increase the regular council meetings and budget meetings to $100 per meeting and committee of council meetings to $35 per meeting with a maximum of $280 per day. A cost-of-living increase based on CPI will be reviewed at the organizational meeting each year.
In the previous iteration of the policy, the monthly honorarium for each elected official was outlined:
Mayor – $500. Established to recognize the additional duties and responsibilities of the chief elected official as set out in the Municipal Government Act. It accounts for additional time spent as mayor on Town business or in public relations. It compensates for time spent reviewing and discussing matters with the CAO, members of council, and members of the community outside of a formal meeting setting. It recognizes time spent in the office signing checks, letters, and documents. It covers for times when protocol dictates the mayor’s presence or public relations warrants the mayor’s attendance.
Deputy mayor – $300. In the absence of the mayor, the DM performs the duties that the mayor would normally assume.
Councillors – $300. For time spent reviewing and discussing matters with other council members and with community members outside of a formal meeting setting. It serves to recognize attendance at formal functions when the presence of a council member is requested or when protocol dictates it.
In addition to the monthly honorarium, meeting rates were outlined in the policy. Town council formerly received $90 per meeting for regular meetings, $90 for budget meetings, and were paid $30 per hour for a one-hour minimum up to a maximum of $200 per day for committee of council meetings.
Public hearings and community forums held by council and requiring mandatory attendance pay the same rate as committee meetings.
Attendance at board, committee, foundation, and society meetings or conferences, seminars, and training workshops that are held within town are paid at the same rate as committee of council meetings.
Attendance at those types of meetings held outside of town go for the same rate, except travel time is included. Attendance at informal public relations activities of over one hour (i.e. parades) are only eligible for mileage and meal reimbursement. All elected officials are expected to submit reports at the second council meeting of each month.
A $500 expense allowance was provided to elected officials to compensate for use of personal cellphones, internet, stationary, and other miscellaneous out of pocket expenses.
Traveling and subsistence expenses for official out of town duties are reimbursed at the rate prescribed annually by the Minister of Finance and deemed reasonable by the CRA. Travel expenses include reasonably priced meals with a 15 per cent tip, single-bed occupancy accommodations, incidentals, cab or transit fare and an advance of two-thirds of the estimated expense prior to travel.