Colwood council has repealed legislation which would have seen their pay nearly double as of Jan. 1, 2023 and was a point of significant debate over the summer for the previous council.
The repeal was passed unanimously during a regular council meeting on Monday (Nov. 28), along with a direction to staff to hire a compensation consultant to re-examine the issue of council remuneration increases, and to bring a recommendation back to council on remuneration levels for 2023 and beyond.
Mayor Doug Kobayashi introduced the motion, making good on his campaign promise to re-evaluate the pay increase, which resulted from an independent citizen committee recommendation and was passed by the previous council 5-2 on Aug. 29, with Kobayashi, then a councillor, and re-elected Coun. Cynthia Day opposed.
Under the previous plan, effective Jan. 1 the mayor would receive $61,054.42 per year, up from $32,992.14, and tied to a pay rate of $3.22 per resident. A councillor’s salary would increase to $30,527.21, up from $16,496.07.
Kobayashi reiterated his reason for opposing the pay increase on Monday, saying such a large increase in such a short amount of time did not seem reasonable to him, especially as the job is meant to be seen as a form of community service rather than a full-time-job, as the economy is on a downturn, and that the process used to come up with the recommendation was flawed.
Day also reiterated her concerns, which focused mainly on the fact the previous plan would see council remuneration reviewed annually and adjusted for changes in Colwood’s population, which she said would bias council to being pro-development as it would in effect increase their pay.
Coun. Dean Jantzen, also a returning councillor and one who supported the previous pay increase, initially planned to add an amendment to Monday’s motion which would attempt to commit council to accept and adopt the pay changes recommended by the consultant as he felt it was important the people of Colwood get closure on this issue rather than have it debated repeatedly, but after hearing feedback on that amendment during discussion, he ultimately decided to retract it over concerns it could hinder the process.
As part of the repeal of the previously approved increase, council approved the adoption of a council remuneration bylaw which returns compensation levels to what they were previous to the bylaw approved in August.
During discussion on Monday, city staff said they were unable to provide a cost or time estimate for the consultant review until they have formally started the search for one, but their hope is to hire someone who has already studied other municipalities in order to cut down on the time and therefore cost required for the review, with the estimate it will take around 90 days for a report to be presented to council.