September 24, 2014 - 7:28 PM
VERNON - The next people who sit on Vernon city council will have the option of getting paid to attend meetings, on top of the salary they already receive.
Mayor and council decided to keep the stipend at the current $137 for half or full day meetings, but not before throwing out a proposal to increase the rate significantly. That motion called for a stipend of $160 for meetings lasting four hours or less, and $320 for full day meetings.
Attending meetings for commitments like the finance and affordable housing committees qualifies for the pay, but councillors have to apply in order to receive it.
Coun. Bob Spiers tried to lead a motion to reduce the stipend dramatically—to zero—insisting 'meeting pay' should be eliminated.
“You’ve got eight volunteers that have spent their own money and gas to get to those meetings and the only one getting paid is the councillor. I don’t think it’s correct,” Spiers said, adding he’s never applied for the stipend and never will.
He said the new council remuneration policy which for the first time entitles council to health and dental benefits is already a ‘heck of a deal.’
Coun. Juliette Cunningham felt it was important to attract younger people to council, and said committee pay could help with that.
Mayor Rob Sawatzky voted against setting the rate, stating the decision should be left with those who will be affected by it: the new council.
“I think that’s just good housekeeping rather than us imposing it on them,” Sawatzky said.
However, Coun. Catherine Lord reminded her colleagues the new council will have the ability to change the rate anyways.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014