London city council approves 2.3% inflation-based wage bump for councillors

Some council members say the second wage increase in a matter of months looks poorly.
Some council members say the second wage increase in a matter of months looks poorly. Matthew Trevithick/980 CFPL File

The paycheques for London city councillors have gone up $1,177 per year, after council decided to give themselves a 2.3 per cent inflation-based increase.

The decision — which comes just months after councillor pay was lifted significantly to meet the median income for Londoners — overturns a recommendation from committee last week to forgo the increase due to poor optics.

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“It’s the issue of timing, and the proximity to the major increase councillors received,” said Mayor Ed Holder, who voted against a bump he previously described as a “double dip.”

But others said the policy, which has council looking at an inflation-based increase on an annual basis, originated from an independent task force for good reason.

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“[We] created a policy that makes sense, that’s based on some metrics,” said Ward 2 Coun. Shawn Lewis.

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The last council accepted the task force’s recommendation to link pay to local and national benchmarkers such as inflation and median income, in an effort to depoliticize the issue.

“If we don’t stick to that policy now, we’re just opening the door to have this discussion again next year, and the year after, and the year after… every council that I’ve paid attention to in the 20-plus years I’ve called London home, has happened year after year after year,” said Lewis.

At the start of the current term, councillors’ pay went from $36,000 to $51,000, while the mayor’s pay went up to $138,025.

The 2.3 per cent increase approved Tuesday night is retroactive to Jan. 1 and is much smaller, lifting councillor pay to $52,358 and lifting the mayor’s pay to $141,200.