Colwood council backs $20K pay raise for mayor, $8K for councillors following latest review

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Six months in, Colwood’s new-look council is in for a pay bump after rescinding a raise approved by the previous council — and not everyone is happy about it.

The city’s current council, which saw a shake-up in last fall’s civic election, has put forward a motion to increase the mayor’s salary by $20,350 and councillor pay by $8,183.

At recent meeting, a motion to have staff come back with a bylaw to increase the salaries, retroactive to Jan. 1., was unanimously approved by council.

Currently, the mayor earns $35,435.85, while councillors receive $17,717.79. The new motion will maintain the existing policy that councillor salaries are 50 per cent of the mayor’s.

Council hired HR consultant Jo MacDonald to undergo a remuneration review prior to putting forward the motion.

She reviewed the salaries of 20 local governments in B.C., and council directed her to suggest a salary that puts them in the 50th percentile of those municipalities.

This would raise the mayor’s salary to $55,785, slightly lower than the $61,054.42 salary recommended by the task force used by the previous council.

Additionally, Colwood council voted to make the pay increase annual, in line with the consumer price index for Greater Victoria.

Colwood Mayor Doug Kobayashi, who was one of two who voted against the previous salary increase, said he is grateful the pay increase was less than the previous report.

“Thank God we’re less than what was recommended before but it’s a difficult thing to go through,” he said in the April 11 meeting. “In future I think that we should always use a consultant to help us with this and to get through this.”

In an interview with CHEK,, News Kobayashi says he wasn’t opposed to a pay increase, but he didn’t like the process.

“Now it’s the incoming council that’s approving their own pay raises, which makes it difficult. I mean, I wish there was a better way of doing this,” he said. “So we brought in a consultant, a compensation consultant, who actually looked at the compensation.”

Kobayashi says one difference is the citizen’s committee the previous council set up looked at compensation per resident, while the consultant also looked at geographic size, the operating budget, annual expenses, and population growth.

Former Mayor Rob Martin says he is frustrated with this process and how partisan it became.

“My frustration was that the previous council in February of 2020, we struck a Citizens Committee to figure out what the renumeration should be. Mayor Kobayashi and Councillor [Cynthia] Day were part of that decision metric, and they decided on what the metrics were,” Martin told CHEK News.

“And so we sent that to a Citizens Committee that the committee came back and presented it. Unfortunately, at the same time, we were having an election, and so it got spun that I was giving myself a $30,000 raise, and the opposition, mostly the people who ended up winning, ran on that this isn’t the time to be giving council a raise.”

Martin says the pay raise is contrary to what some of the councillors said during the election period.

“I can’t reconcile that what was promised during the election is not what’s happening now,” Martin said. “And what they’re trying to spin is that they’re seeing ‘well, it was just that the metrics were different.’ Well, the metrics were decided by those people who sat on council previous, and they just used it as a as a tool to get the community upset.”

This may result in the tax increase being raised by about 0.45 per cent, according to city staff, on top of the 6.43 per cent property tax increase approved by council on March 13 or staff may find elsewhere to take this money from.

A previous version of this story said this change would result in a tax increase. That has not yet been determined and it has been updated accordingly.

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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