Mayor Peter Kelly sent back his raise yesterday, in a move that surprised his colleagues on council.
Kelly sent out a press release saying he is rejecting a 4.04 per cent raise to $144,962 that took effect on Nov. 1. Councillors also got a raise of 1.6 per cent to $72,357.
Kelly said he was listening to the voices of residents outraged over a raise above a cost-of-living increase being awarded during a year of budget constraints.
“It appears to be in excess of what the public expectation is and we have to be very mindful of that,” he said.
Coun. Debbie Hum said she was blindsided by Kelly’s announcement.
“I feel it’s most unfortunate because we wanted to do something collectively as a council,” she said. “It’s just one more demonstration that we are not collectively working as a group and … sometimes it’s for oneself instead of what’s best for the public.”
Kelly had previously defended the raises. He said yesterday that rejecting his raise was a personal decision.
Many councillors — and the mayor — agree the raise formula needs to be reviewed. Council will address the issue at next week’s council meeting. Councillors may also decide next week if they will reject or donate their raises.
There are a number of options on how to structure raises, including basing them on the consumer price index.
Coun. David Hendsbee said he thinks raises should be fixed for the term council is in office. “We should have been asked what we wanted to do. I’d rather donate my salary increase to charity,” he said.