The issue of council remuneration was reintroduced at the Monday, December 10 meeting of Coronation Town Council.
Reexamining the town’s remuneration policy was originally brought up at the Monday, November 12 meeting by Councillor Bonnie Danylyshen, who wished to examine council’s compensation rates prior to the upcoming budget discussions.
As compensation for their duties to the town, the mayor of Coronation receives $650 per month while the councillors each get $500. For out of town meetings, the mayor and councillors receive $75 meeting fee for a half-day, and $150 compensation for a full day as well as a variable per diem for lodging, travel time and meals.
The policy currently used by the Town of Olds was presented to council to examine. The Olds policy states that the Mayor be paid an all-inclusive honorarium of $2000 per month, while councillors receive $1000, plus billable expenses. This honorarium covers all meetings, events, public hearings and council business, including prep time. The policy also establishes a flat $200 per diem which covers travel expenses.
An item of particular interest to council is the requirement of councillors to submit a yearly ‘business plan’. This plan will map out the councillor’s activities and meeting attendance for the coming year that will warrant the per diem payout.
Mandatory governance training of all council members is also laid out in the policy. This training, which must take place within 30 days of a councillors election date, is mandatory before the councillor is permitted to be appointed to any board or committee.
Councillor Bonnie Danylyshen was particularly interested in this requirement and stated that any policy passed by council should seriously consider such a section.
The Olds policy also calls for the formation of an ad hoc citizens’ committee to review the remuneration policy and recommend changes on a yearly basis.
“This is a good policy,” said Danylyshen. “It’s a good template for us.”
While council, for the most part, was enthusiastic about the Olds proposal, Mayor Dawna Elliott was not so enthusiastic about the specific remuneration amounts. Elliott told council that she wasn’t comfortable with such a large disparity between the mayor’s and the councillor’s honorarium. CAO Sandra Kulyk stated that the content of the policy itself was more important than the actual numbers. According to the 2011 Census, Olds has a population of 8235, while Coronation’s population is 947.
Council voted unanimously to send the issue, along with a copy of the Olds policy, to the town’s governance committee for analysis.