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Council pay dropped from review

Council has reversed course on a plan to review mayor and councillor salaries that was originally part of a wider review of staff compensation. Council salaries were dropped from the scope of the review Monday. Coun.

Council has reversed course on a plan to review mayor and councillor salaries that was originally part of a wider review of staff compensation.

Council salaries were dropped from the scope of the review Monday. Coun. Roger Lemieux said he wasn’t aware council compensation was even part of the terms of reference that he and the rest of council unanimously approved on June 21. Lemieux, Mayor Nolan Crouse and a yet-unnamed community member will now oversee the review of union and non-union staff salaries only.

“I don’t recall [council salaries] being there,” Lemieux later explained. “All I know is that I don’t want to do my own review.”

The review was initiated in the spring following results of the most recent staff salary survey that led to an average 3.9 per cent raise for non-union workers. The biennial survey, conducted by the city’s human resources department, compared salaries with counterparts from other Alberta municipalities and employers, ensuring St. Albert is at the 60th percentile of that group.

Council salaries are also reviewed every two years, again using the 60th percentile standard for mid-sized municipalities.

Mayor Nolan Crouse agreed with dropping council remuneration from the upcoming review. He said he started to reconsider the issue after residents made comments regarding a potential conflict of interest.

Lemieux said he was not comfortable with the idea of reviewing his compensation, but said he didn’t need public pressure to force the issue.

“It’s not done in business,” he said. “It was only a personal thing … why would a person expose themselves to criticism for only a few bucks?”

Chief financial officer Dean Screpnek said the current bidding process for a consultant for the pay review would be amended to ensure applicants know council salaries are no longer part of the project.