SCUGOG: Council approved a recommendation to set up a Citizen’s Committee to further review Councillor remuneration at their meeting on Monday, May 2.
At the meeting, Councillors were shown a staff report that compared the salaries of Scugog’s Mayor, Regional Councillor and Ward Councillors with those in other Durham municipalities such as Brock, Uxbridge, Ajax, Pickering, and Oshawa, as well as other GTA municipalities such as Whitchurch-Stouffville, Georgina, King Township, Halton Hills and East Gwillimbury.
The report also compared other items, such as the benefits, travel reimbursement, and severance packages that the Councillors receive. The Citizen Committee’s role would be to further analyze the data, and to make a recommendation to Council on an appropriate salary as well as on any other of the items reviewed in the report.
Ward 2 Councillor Janna Guido questioned what the composition of the committee would look like.
“You would put in a posting of a job advertisement, and ask for Scugog residents with a certain background and get people to apply to the position and they would look at everything (that is in the report),” Human Resources Advisor Andrea Short responded.
Ward 3 Councillor Don Kett questioned the results in the report, asking if all municipalities report their salaries the same way.
“I would imagine that it would come from (Council’s) T4 statements, because that is what we do,” Treasurer Trena DeBruijn said. “I personally have not spoken to every municipality on this list, but we take it from T4 statements.”
Councillor Kett also stressed that for the process to be successful, the Township has to compare “apples to apples”, meaning that all the information in the review from each municipality should come from the same type of source.
Ward 5 Councillor Jennifer Back agreed with Councillor Kett’s statement.
“If you are going to be comparing, especially Durham Region Councillors, and what they make, it has to be all accurate. You can’t have some that are gross, some that are net, some that are including committee pay and some that don’t,” she said.
Interim CAO Don Gordon said that the committee will have the ability to research how every municipality handles remuneration and it will be council’s responsibility to make sure that the Township is comparing “apples to apples.”
Mr. Gordon also added that he is not “convinced that the data is necessarily inaccurate” and that staff will make sure that the committee is working with “comparable numbers.”
Committee members, as well as terms of reference for the committee will be brought before council for approval at a meeting on Monday, June 20 and the committee will have to report back to Council with a recommendation on the best Councillor salaries and benefits for the Township no later than Monday, Sept. 19.