Winnipeg council approves salary changes
Winnipeg city council has approved a new salary package, despite an attempt by Mayor Sam Katz — who opposed the pay changes — to delay the vote.
Council voted 11-3 on Wednesday in favour of the package, which marks the first significant change to council compensation in 20 years. The pay changes will take effect in January.
Currently, one-third of the salary paid to the mayor and councillors is tax-exempt.
But starting in January, their tax exemption will be rescinded and their salaries will be increased.
A consultant's report prepared for the city clerk's office recommended the salary increase so that councillors and the mayor would not actually lose money when they lose their tax-free salary benefit.
The report also said councillors who leave office should be entitled to severance pay of up to six months of their salaries — a first for Winnipeg city council — and more money should be put into their pension plans.
Katz, who has argued that the new compensation proposal would cost taxpayers more money, asked council on Wednesday to postpone their vote until December.
The mayor argued councillors needed more information on the financial impact of the proposed changes.
But Coun. Justin Swandel said the extra cost to the city is $1.50 a day, an amount that he argued is worth it.
"We want to encourage wise people that bring all kinds of knowledge to the table with them to be in politics, to take time out from their careers to help make our city a better place," Swandel told council.
It was clear the majority of councillors supported the changes, although many sat quietly during the debate, the CBC's Julie Bell reported from city hall.
Katz and councillors Scott Fielding and Paula Havixbeck voted against the new compensation package, while the other councillors voted for it.