Halifax councillors to debate their own salaries at Tuesday meeting

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A new report says Halifax councillors should be paid less than what they currently earn.The report was called for following a motion from Coun. Steve Craig in November 2014. The independent review included Auditor General Larry Munroe and four other committee members. Story continues below

The report calls for the salaries of council to be linked to the average salary of Halifax residents, plus a 25 per cent top-up based, in part, on the fact that councillors work longer hours than the average worker.READ MORE: Halifax Regional Council headlinesIf council approves the report, it will mark a complete departure from how salaries for the mayor, councillors and deputy mayor are calculated. Currently, it is based on a weighted average of seven other cities: Brampton, Ont., Winnipeg, Vancouver, London, Ont., Hamilton, Ont., Surrey, B.C., and Laval, Que.The report says while that method was relevant when the formula was created in 2004, it “may no longer be appropriate”, partly because Halifax’s population in 2004 was near the middle of the eight cities, whereas now it’s second from last. However, the report also says the formula shouldn’t be solely based on population.The new formula would put salaries well below current levels, so the report recommends freezing all salaries for regional council until the average salary of Haligonians catches up.In an interview, Craig questioned the pace of growth of council salaries since 2005. He said they have gone up by 59 per cent since then.“Is that sustainable? Is that reasonable?” he said.Councillors Waye Mason and Tim Outhit say they are in favour of changing the formula to calculate salaries. However, Coun. Matt Whitman took to Twitter to voice his opposition to the new salary proposal.@WayeMason @gosens The basis of report wasn't about a "freeze".Glad to have that convo though.Lots of places to save other than 17 salaries!— HRM DM Matt Whitman (@matlantivex) March 6, 2016@WayeMason @gosens … I like the current arms length neutral independent formula that I have NO control over… Sorry.. I'm not Overpaid…— HRM DM Matt Whitman (@matlantivex) March 6, 2016Councillors will vote on the report during Tuesday’s regional council meeting.

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