By TREENA MIELKE
Recommendations from a remuneration committee formed late last year received high marks from council, but will be reviewed by a policy and bylaw committee before becoming policy.
Council reviewed the committee’s recommendations at its Jan. 26 council meeting.
Mayor Sheldon Ibbotson was pleased with the hard work and effort the volunteer committee put into their recommendations.
“I think it’s really well thought out. They did an excellent job.”
He agrees with a recommendation that he be paid the same as councillors for meetings.
The report from the remuneration committee shows the mayor’s base salary as $1,553.55 per month. According to the report the mayor is paid $36.50 an hour for meetings compared to the councillors who are paid $1,035.70 per month and $30.45 an hour for meetings.
The recommendation from the remuneration committee is to leave the basic salary in place, but have it cover all in-town meetings, phone calls, public interactions and in-town committee work.
The committee recommended $30 per hour be paid for time spent on the job away from Rimbey.
This remuneration would include conventions, seminars, workshops, or other activities approved by town council.
The recommendation states that the hourly rate can be applied, but only through a special motion of council, for special time-consuming activities in town that go beyond what is normally expected of a council member.
Ibbotson said he is not in favour of a recommendation from the committee that he sign off on council expense sheets, but would like to see expenses included as an agenda item once a month and available to the public.
The remuneration committee stated in its report that the issue of paying for political contributions, expenses for golf tournaments, as well as other political functions and non-political fundraisers were raised in the last election. Their report stated that these were often claimed under the category of other expenses and didn’t seem to have any limits in terms of what was included or how high the expenses could go.
In their recommendations, the committee stated council should say no to paying contributions to political parties. The committee confirmed that transferring funds from municipal government to political parties through expense claims is illegal.
For events such as golf tournaments councillors feel they need to attend to promote the town, expenses such as mileage and entry fees can be claimed, the committee recommendations state.
For non-political fundraisers, political functions, regular and impromptu meetings with minsters and or deputy ministers, the same rules applies.
Extra remuneration can be paid for these events through a special council motion.
Coun. Gayle Rondeel said she is happy with recommendations, overall, but believe they still need some fine tuning.
Coun. Paul Payson believes them to be “good common sense recommendations.”
Chairman of the remuneration committee, Ralph Blyth, said the remuneration received by Rimbey mayor and council is comparable to municipalities of similar size, although they are at the higher end of the pay scale.
“We did the legwork and looked at several other municipalities. We weren’t trying to impose undue hardship on council or the mayor. And these are just recommendations.”