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Bepple: Busy councillors only getting minimum wage

Coun. Nancy Bepple wants to know if council compensation is enough for all the work expected of councillors.
April 30, 2013 - 4:16 PM

According to one councillor Kamloops city councillors put in so many hours they are barely paid above minimum wage, which is especially tough on those councillors who still hold jobs outside of council.

Coun. Nancy Bepple is asking her fellow councillors to support her in asking staff to assess whether the pay “is fair for what we have to do?”

She says commitments have gone from only a few hours per week to at least five times that amount for most councillors, especially with council committing to take part in more community engagement.

Bepple estimates 20 to 30 hours of her time per week is spent taking care of council obligations and expectations; she says she has at least one committee meeting per week, community events every other day and Tuesdays often start with meetings with staff and in camera meetings before the regular council meeting. At least once per month public hearings take place Tuesday evening as well.

Bepple has to take unpaid leaves from her day job at Thompson Rivers University when council commitments take place during the day and says about half her wages as councillor go back into buying lost benefits at her other job.

“A decision to run is a decision to not do something else,” she says, “and as a councillor, everyone takes on additional duties (and it takes) a reasonable amount of time to do a good job.”

Bepple is adamant she is not asking for a pay increase at this time – she is simply wanting staff to compare what Kamloops councillors are making compared to councillors in other jurisdictions. Any changes recommended and agreed upon would come for the next term.

The policy for council renumeration, travel expenses, insurance and communications allowances has not been reviewed since 2002. Councillors get regular cost of living adjustments with a current salary just over $25,000 in Kamloops.

To contact a reporter for this story, email or call (250) 819-3723.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
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