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Council takes a pay cut

Policy eliminates debate on pay raises for elected officials

Oak Bay council voted itself a 0.3 per cent decrease in pay for next year.

The decrease is based on the adjusted year over year change in Victoria’s consumer price index ending in September.

In 2014, the mayor will be paid $28,108 and councillors will be paid $11,929. One-third of the total is paid as an allowance for expenses.

This is the second time that Oak Bay council’s pay has decreased.

“Three or four years back, there was a year when the consumer price index went down. Council had another debate on whether the salary should go down,” Mayor Nils Jensen said. “We decided to keep tying our salary to the consumer price index for Victoria.”

He said Oak Bay’s policy is better than most councils, which look at various reports, make comparisons with other communities and debate among council.

“It eliminates the conflict of council setting their own salary,” Jensen said.

Salaries for Oak Bay’s elected officials pale in comparison to those of its employees – especially among high ranking staff. In 2012 former Chief Administrative Officer Mark Brennan earned $164,793 and former fire chief Gerald Adam earned $117,603.

The News was told figures for 2013 wages will not be available until spring of 2014.

With a similar business and population base, the Town of Sidney also ties council salaries to Victoria’s CPI and has been since 2006. However, that council has never decreased council pay as it uses year over year figures, which end in January.

“People can choose to use different indexes,” said Andrew Hicik, Sidney’s director of corporate services. “My belief is the one we use is the most accurate.”

For 2013, Sidney Mayor Larry Cross was paid $33,150 and councillors earned $13,300. Oak Bay has been using Victoria’s CPI to set council’s remuneration since 1997.