The following article appeared in the May 26 edition of the Guelph Mercury:
The city’s next mayor will see a significant boost in pay, while those around the council horseshoe will see meager increases.
City councillors Tuesday voted to increase the mayor’s salary by more than $10,600, while part-time councillors will see an annual increase of about $900.
The increases, which take effect next Jan. 1, will see the mayor’s salary increased to $88,983, while councillors will take home $29,706.
Mark Amorosi, the city’s director of human resources, said the city has a policy of doing market reviews of council remuneration every four years during the last year of council’s mandate.
Janet Roy, chair of the citizens’ review committee for council remuneration, told councillors her committee compared Guelph against nine other municipalities including Barrie, Kingston, Oakville and Kitchener. The committee recommended compensation for Guelph’s mayor and councillors be set at the 60th percentile of the comparator group.
Roy noted the current salary for Guelph’s mayor is $78,372, putting the head of the local council at the 38th percentile among comparable municipalities.
Councillors, at $28,796, are at the 58th percentile among the same group.
Coun. Mike Salisbury said he hoped the review would address whether city council positions should be full-time.
Amorosi said that was not within the committee’s mandate, but noted there is a population threshold at which councillors should officially become full-time “and Guelph is well below that threshold.”
Coun. Ian Findlay noted the city’s governance committee is to address, next term, the full-time issue as well as whether the current structure — with 12 councillors in six wards — should continue.
Coun. Maggie Laidlaw questioned why the remuneration review committee set the target at the 60th percentile, noting Guelph always sees races for council seats, so higher compensation is not required to attract candidates.
But Amorosi said that figure was chosen to be consistent with an earlier council direction setting the salary level of management employees at the 60th percentile among its comparator group.
City councillors will continue to be adjusted annually by the same percentage as management employees receive.