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ASK THE PEOPLE: Talking remuneration with Corner Brook council


Councillors with the City of Corner Brook will vote Nov. 19 on whether or not to increase the remuneration they receive. Coun. Bernd Staeben presented a notice of motion to repeal the city’s existing council remuneration and reimbursement regulations and any related amendments effective Dec. 31, 2018 and to then approve a new set of regulations, with the increases, effective Jan.1, 2019.

The notice of motion read by Staeben said the regulations were enacted in 2003 and have had a number of amendments since then.

It also states that the federal government’s Bill C44 removed the ability for any municipality to pay up to one third of a councillor’s remuneration as a non-taxable expense allowance. The current version of the city’s remuneration regulation had included this condition, and has to be removed in order to comply with federal legislation.

As a result of this change, it’s being proposed to adjust the council remuneration effective January 2019 accordingly to reflect a neutral impact on a council’s net salary.

Question: How do you feel about remuneration and the possibility of seeing it change in this motion?

Mayor Jim Parsons

Of course, there will be debate on the issue, but I do believe that it’s only fair that councillors are allowed to have the same take-home pay, as they do currently, in the coming year.

Deputy Mayor Bill Griffin

First of all, I don’t see it as a raise. The issue here is the income tax process has changed. Basically, all this will do is put us back where we are now. We had a window there where, as municipal leaders, you get a tax break on a certain percentage, but that’s since been removed. So, the way I see it is that it’s putting me, personally, back to where I was, and I don’t see as an increase and I’m fine with it.

Coun. Linda Chaisson

On the 19th I will let you know how I’m going to vote. Once a notion of motion comes forward then it’s not discussed and in my mind I won’t be discussing it until the 19th.

Coun. Tony Buckle

We need remuneration to attract good people. Also, for changing that, I guess that’s going to be debated on Nov. 19 and I hope all councillors will keep an open mind. That’s why we look forward to having people from the news media to find out exactly how all the councillors feel about it so that’s how I feel about it. So, I’m waiting until we have an opportunity to get into debate it.

Coun. Josh Carey

Remuneration should be provided to any council in accordance with the level of activity and in accordance with the responsibilities attached to the position. In terms of increase in remuneration, I’m going to leave that question until we get into public council chamber.

Coun. Bernd Staeben

I see this as a readjustment of our reimbursement we get from the City of Corner Brook and I don’t see that as a raise. I think it’s a readjustment from the Canada Revenue Agency in changing taxation systems. 

Coun. Vaughn Granter

I’ve been giving it some serious thought over the past few days since the motion has been brought forward. I’m leaning one way to a vote. I basically got my mind made up, but I will give all of the councillors a chance on that particular evening to voice their opinions and listen to what everyone else says around the council table, and I will articulate, on that particular evening, my answer to the question and to how I will particularly vote on that particular evening and I will articulate to the people of Corner Brook the reasons why I will vote one way or another. So, I will say to the people of Corner Brook basically stay tuned for what I will have to say.

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