Kamloops city councillors are about to find out what they are worth.
They agreed Tuesday to find out what councillors in other cities are paid and compare. While they get a yearly cost of living increase, Kamloops hasn't made that kind of comparison in 12 years. Now five councillors agreed it's about time to have the 'uncomfortable discussion,' as they called it.
Councillors Marg Spina and Ken Christian said they don't need a comparison—they will vote against any increase.
“I'm one of the ones (who) said in my election platform I'm going to work to keep costs down, so I can't support this,” Spina said.
She conceded that at just under $25,000 per year, the job naturally excludes some potential candidates, but Spina and Christian were joined by Coun. Pat Wallace and Mayor Peter Milobar who saw no point in comparing.
“If you want a change, let's just put that on the table. If you want to discuss it, just discuss it. I have trouble asking staff for a report, I'd prefer to skip this step all together and let the chips fall where they may,” Milobar said. “I ran knowing full what I was getting in to and what I would be paid.”
He makes just under $75,000.
Coun. Nancy Bepple is most vocal of a pay review. She says this isn't fishing for a pay increase—she just wants to see the numbers.
"Then we can decide to make changes or table it—but we haven't even seen what the report says,” she said. “It's just good business practice all around."
She also wants to know what other councillors get for health benefits. Councillors are the only eight regular city employees without dental insurance.
Christian said a benefits package is “just a wage increase in sheep’s clothing," and could cost more than $6,000 each. “it's not about whether we deserve it, it's what city can afford it. We don't work for City of Kamloops, we serve the City of Kamloops.”
Councillors Bepple, Nelly Dever, Tina Lange, Arjun Singh and Donovan Cavers agreed to the review. Several said they were surprised by time required or the lack of benefits when they ran for council.
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