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City council gets a pay hike after no one pitches salary freeze at meeting

Members of city council will receive a pay raise this year after no motion was brought forward Tuesday to support a pay freeze. 

Several members of council had indicated they supported a pay freeze, which would keep salaries at 2023 levels, as an act of good faith amid cost-of-living increases for Calgarians.

But at Tuesday’s city council meeting, no proposal to rollback wages was brought forward. 

“I don’t know why members of council didn’t bring anything forward,” said Mayor Jyoti Gondek. 

“Calgarians are absolutely welcome to connect with their members of council to ask them why they didn’t bring a motion forward. As I said, as the chair, it is not up to me to bring a motion forward.” 

As of Jan. 1, councillor’s pay cheques went up by approximately 2.41 per cent, in accordance with an increase in Albertans’ average weekly earnings (AWE) compiled by Statistics Canada. 

An independent commission set the formula in 2020 responsible for changes in council’s remuneration. 

Coun. Dan McLean said he would have voted in favour of a pay freeze if the motion had been brought forward, but that he didn’t know it was going to be on today’s agenda. 

“I didn’t bring up [the motion] because [I] knew it would fail,” said McLean. 

“I put a motion forth a couple of years ago. It was roundly rejected quite quickly, so I knew that wasn’t going to pass.”

Some members of council said that putting the motion on the agenda now was overdue.

“I feel that [it’s] a little late to have the conversation when we knew the council compensation committee was going to be looking at our wages prior to December 2023 and the tax time,” said Coun. Sonya Sharp. 

Both Sharp and McLean said they would donate their increased allotment to charity. 

According to the city, Gondek is now paid $213,737 a year, while the 14 councillors make $120,755 annually.

It’s the third consecutive year of pay increases for this council.

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