CORNER BROOK — The raises approved for City of Corner Brook’s unionized and non-unionized staff also means the next edition of city council will be getting raises come Jan 1.
At its public meeting Monday, city council approved the ratification of new collective agreements that had been negotiated with Locals 706 and 768 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, which represents the city’s unionized outside and inside workers.
Once that was done, council also approved raises and benefits for all non-union staff employed by the city. Those workers, including senior executive management, get the same wage increases as the inside workers’ union.
Both the inside and outside workers negotiated deals that will see them receive two per cent wage hikes every year for the life of the contract, which is effective from Jan. 1, 2013 to Dec. 31, 2016.
In accordance with the City of Corner Brook’s Council Remuneration and Reimbursement Regulation, council’s annual remuneration is adjusted annually on Jan. 1 of each year to match management salary adjustments.
The outgoing council created a lot of controversy for itself when it approved raises in remuneration levels just a few months into its term. The hikes approved at that time covered the period of 2010 to 2013.
With council already having had its remuneration bumped on Jan 1, 2013, the adjustments to remuneration to be made in accordance with the new labour agreements recently reached will not be retroactive. Council remuneration will next rise by two percent on Jan. 1, 2014 and again on the first day of 2015 and 2016, with the current labour contracts set to expire on the eve of 2017.
Mayor Neville Greeley said the only way council remuneration will not increase on those dates would be for the next elected council to change the Council Remuneration and Reimbursement Regulation currently on the books.
The mayor noted that when his administration approved remuneration increases, it decided not to implement the recommendation of a consultant hired to examine remuneration levels. The consultant suggested council should immediately put remuneration at the level to which council decided to gradually bring it to in 2013.
Greeley noted that MHAs are paid about $100,000 annually and MPs get about $150,000 per year, all before any money paid to them for serving on committees, but hardly anyone has voiced their displeasure about those expenses from the taxpayer’s purse.
“I’m not suggesting we should be bashing (MHAs and MPs),” said Greeley. “I’m suggesting we should understand these are positions that require a great deal of time and effort and dedication and people should be duly compensated.”
The mayor’s position currently receives annual remuneration of $34,500, while the deputy mayor receives $24,000 and councillors get $22,500.