Not everyone in Oliver’s council agrees that it’s high time to look at their reward.
“It’s a gigantic waste of time… An absolute waste of time,” water board member Rick Machial said during a January 10 discussion.
Both Machial and Count. Dave Mattes voted against a motion to form an independent task force (five local citizens) to review the council’s remuneration package.
“I think we get paid well for what we do,” Machial said.
Mattes said the remuneration of Oliver councilors is in line with what councilors do in other, similar municipalities.
“To bind staff time to set up a committee and come back and say, ‘we are in good shape’… I would rather see staff working on other projects.”
In 1996, the mayoral function paid $ 20,585 a year. That jumped to $ 29,600 in 2021 (an increase of $ 9,000).
In 1996, councilors were paid nearly $ 11,000. That increased to $ 15,786 last year.
Water board members were paid $ 4,100 in 1996, but saw a salary increase to $ 5,900 in 2021.
In 2019, federal legislation eliminated the one-third tax exemption for local government officials. But Oliver’s council chose not to amend its compensation law to comply with the exemption.
Compared to the mayor’s salary, Osoyoos Mayor Sue McKortoff makes $ 31,271 annually (including expenses), while the Grand Forks mayor makes $ 24,700 a year. The Mayor of Summerland makes $ 37,123 a year, while the Mayor of Peachland brings home $ 40,000 annually.
Councilors in Osoyoos make $ 19,000 a year, the highest of 12 municipalities compared.
Oliver Kinne. Aimee Grice said it’s time for another review after 25 years, especially with a new round of councilors coming in.
“I like the idea of a community panel responsible for the review; it creates more trust instead of doing it internally.
Fellow Count. Larry Schartzenberger agrees, saying the time is right.
“It’s a good time for the upcoming elections.”
Alderman Petra Veintimilla reflected those remarks.
“It would be interesting to see what kind of changes there are.”
Mayor Martin Johansen asks how the task force will be set up, in particular how the members will be elected. He asked them about their expertise and how much they would know about municipal politics and what it entails.
Corporate Officer Diane Vaykovich said there would be a term of reference for the commission, which would look at qualifications. She also noted that Oliver’s finance officer would lead the panel in his review.