Thursday, December 30, 2010

Council getting pay hike in 2011

Good gravy!
Toronto city councillors and Mayor Rob Ford will ring in the New Year with a pay hike whether they want it or not.
City staff confirmed Wednesday councillors will get a cost of living increase in January.
The exact amount, based on the average of the monthly cost of living index from 2010, won’t be calculated until the new year but will be retroactive to Jan. 1.
This year councillors got a 0.47% bump, pushing their pay to $99,619.52.
Councillors always have the option of donating the hike back to the city, said Winnie Li, director of council and support services for the city clerk’s office.
Earlier this month, Ford turned down a consultant’s report suggesting the mayor get a healthy $15,000 raise.
The mayor would not be taking a cost of living increase and would either donate the money back to the city or to charity, said his spokesman, Adrienne Batra.
Batra said Ford "won't dictate to councillors" what to do about their pay increase.
Back in 2008, Ford — then a city councillor — argued council pay hikes shouldn’t even be on the table with union contracts coming due.
“It’s an insult to taxpayers when we turn around and cry poor,” he said at the time.
Deputy mayor Doug Holyday — who has donated his raise back to the city for the last two years — said he wouldn’t be surprised if a member of council came forward with a motion to freeze councillors’ pay.
“I think if it is put forward it will probably be passed,” Holyday said.
But the Etobicoke councillor said he won’t likely be the one to bring forward the motion.
“I’ll leave it to the initiative of council,” he said.
With contract negotiations coming up with the TTC this year, Holyday said it might be important for council to send a message with a pay freeze.
The push for a 0% property tax increase in the 2011 budget may also make freezing councillors’ pay an important move.
“A freeze is a freeze in all areas,” Holyday said.

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