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Council approves pay freeze for another year

Last Updated Nov 3, 2020 at 7:50 am MDT

Calgary City Council (CREDIT: Calgary City Council)

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – City council has approved a pay freeze for another year, accepting a recommendation from a committee that sets its pay.

The committee that reviews councillor compensation delivered its report on Monday and made suggestions. Several were approved by council members, including capping the taxpayer-funded transition allowance council members receive when they leave office.

The base pay for councillors is just over $100,000, while the mayor makes around $200,000.

Councillors’ pay has been frozen since 2016.

RELATED: City to end retirement bonus for employees in 2021

The transitional payout, which some call the “golden handshake,” has been changed. Council members who don’t run for re-election or resign will be offered two weeks of pay per year of service, up to 26 weeks.

If a councillor is defeated in an election, it’s the same system but they can get paid for up to 52 weeks.

The committee chair explained the transition allowance gives councillors some money to go back to normal life, or retire, explaining council members aren’t eligible for employment insurance, so this acts as a substitute.

Last December, city council voted to end the retirement bonus paid out to city employees by Dec. 2021. However, council acknowledged this would cost the City of Calgary around $4 million.

The “golden handshake” has been criticized by some councillors and the Canadian Taxpayers Federation who want the program scrapped completely.