Should Kingston city councillors get a pay raise? Council meets Tuesday night and it’s expected they’ll appoint a citizens committee to review the current pay for the mayor and councillors to decide whether an increase is needed, but any pay hike won’t occur until after the next municipal election in 2022.
“I don’t think it’s right that council members should be deciding on their own pay,” Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson said. “I think it really is up to the community.
“In the recent past, whatever it is that citizen’s committee recommends, is almost always what council would adopt.”
Committee members are made up of citizens from a variety of public sectors, such as health care, labour, education and business.
“It’s to get a good cross-section of backgrounds and opinions on a committee that would review what a councillor does, and compare that with the remuneration in other municipalities that are comparable to Kingston,” deputy city clerk Janet Jaynes said.
The City of Kingston established citizen committees to review target payment back in 2008. Jim Neill has been a city councillor throughout the 1990s and says that prior to the establishment of a citizens committee, it was difficult for councillors to come up with payment figures.
“What happened over those years was that people were reluctant regardless of what similar sized cities were paying their councillors,” Neill said. “They were very, very reluctant to vote on a salary increase of their own.”
Neill says that citizen committees stepping in have helped councillors receive fair payment for the work they do, in comparison to the 90s.
“Today, city councillors get $40,000 a year, which, if you’re putting in the 30-40 hours you should be, that’s a reasonable salary, I believe,” Neill said.
The City of Kingston has several other citizens committees, but this particular one differs.
“The committee will serve its purpose and then it will be disbanded until we do this again before the next election,” Jaynes said. “So it’s not a continuing committee.”
The issue will be discussed when council meets virtually Tuesday evening.