FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Mayor of Fort St. John and Council members could be in line for a pay increase.
A Council Remuneration Community Advisory Committee was tasked on reviewing a report from another firm and providing recommendations.
Back in 2015, Mayor and Council asked city staff to use the services of Dugal Smith & Associates to conduct a review of Council remuneration and submit a report to Council to consider and review.
The report was submitted to the City in May of 2016. Mr. Smith’s report was based upon ‘market survey results, internal and external research followed by his analysis and recommendations’
In the end, Council did not adopt the report. Instead, Council passed a resolution to have members of the community, through a Community Advisory Committee, review the report and provide recommendations to Council on the level of remuneration Council should receive based on local knowledge and relevant expertise.
The Council Remuneration Community Advisory Committee conducted interviews with the Director of Human Resources as well as Fort St. John City Councillors. The committee also reviewed numerous pieces of documentation including Policies & Bylaws, Council Remuneration Reports and Decisions and other documents.
The committee consists of the following six members:
- Brad Lussier – General Manager of Fort St. John Co-op and oversees Human Resources function
- Bob Trobak – Semi-retired, Chartered Professional Accountant
- Paul McAfee – Chief Member Officer at North Peace Savings and Credit Union
- Kathy Handley – Campus Administrator for Northern Lights College
- Mike Chambers – SD60 District Business Administrator 1968-1975
- Connie Chilcott – Director of Finance with Surerus Pipeline Inc., a Chartered Professional Accountant, responsible for all finance functions, including payroll, for the company
The Committee advisory found that there are nine levels in which City Councillors work at. They are:
- Attending Council and Committee of the Whole meetings bi-weekly
- Attending regular external board, committee, regional district and agency meetings as assigned by Council
- Attending City events, parades, socials, celebrations, contests and fundraisers including weekends and evenings to represent the City
- Working on regional initiatives to strengthen the local and area economy
- Attending and participating in conferences, municipal association meetings and professional development sessions
- Building and maintaining relations with federal, provincial and industry officials for City and regional benefits
- Meeting as requested with residents and business owners/managers about their issues with the City
- Representing the City when talking with residents who approach them when they are doing personal business (e.g. grocery shopping, using recreation facilities)
- Supporting interest groups, service clubs, social support agencies and church groups on their own initiative
The report released by the committee found that Mayor Lori Ackerman’s work is more than the minimum, all categories considered.
“The Mayor works a minimum of 2,000 hours (i.e. 40 hours a week for 50 weeks at levels 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 noted above). Her actual normal work time is above this level when all categories are considered.
Council members work 15 to 20 hours a week continuously for 1,000 hours per year at levels 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 as described above (i.e. 20 hours for 50 weeks or 1,000 hours per year).”
The report also found that work for the Mayor and Council has increased majorly over the past six years because of the following initiatives:
- Site C BC Hydro negotiations and civic impact mitigation
- Renegotiating Fair Share funding from the Province
- Working to advance local LNG and large development projects
- Building a strong municipal, economic development and lobbying group for communities in the northeast region of BC
- High levels of housing and City infrastructure development
- Negotiation of City boundary extensions
With the pace continuing to climb, the report says that they expect the work load for Councillors to grow even larger in the next five to ten years.
“Based on our interviews with Council members, Council’s work is expected to continue at the same level or even increase in its intensity over the next 5 to 10 years as a direct result of the planned industry and infrastructure development in the area.”
According to documents provided by the City of Fort St. John, Mayor Lori Ackerman received $63,832.94 in remuneration 2016. The Council Remuneration Community Advisory Committee is recommending that remuneration for the Mayor rise to $81,000.00.
“If the Mayor’s activity level is less than 1,800 hours a year, the full time range should be scaled back using a denominator of 2,000 hours. For example, if a Mayor’s activity level is 1,500 hours a year, the Mayor would be paid 1,500 ÷ 2,000 x 100 or 75% of the full time rate. The Mayor’s remuneration will not fall below 75% of the rate established as per recommendation #1.”
Fort St. John City Councillors currently receive between $24,000.00 and $26,000.00 in remuneration yearly. The Council Remuneration Community Advisory Committee’s report recommends that they receive $30,3075.00. Councillor remuneration would not affected by the Mayor’s activity level.
“Consensus was reached by the committee that the amount of $81,000 was an appropriate level of compensation for the Mayor’s remuneration. It is recognized that the expectation is for the Mayor position to be equivalent to full time, the remuneration should be reflective of this. Dugal Smith & Associates report provided that the amount of $81,000 would place the Mayor’s remuneration at the 60th percentile of the market survey of Council’s remuneration.”
The motion is being presented at the City Council meeting on June 26 where Mayor and Council will decide whether or not to approve the new pay increases which would be implemented as of December 1, 2017.
The next external review for remuneration is recommended to take place in 2026.
To view the full report, visit: https://fortstjohn.civicweb.net/FileStorage/3918771DCE544B18B686EF61AEBD7B31-AB.pdf.