The ever-increasing salaries of Langley Township's mayor and council will be reconsidered by a local task force.
On Monday, the council voted to create the new task force in the wake of the significant pay hikes caused by the Township's existing policy on salaries for its politicians.
Councillor Bob Long said the task force is expected to report back by the end of the year, and will likely be composed of about five people, recruited for their economic expertise.
The recent raises, which took effect after last November's elections, drew more than a few comments and angry letters to the editor from the public.
Township councillors got raises to $42,936, up from $36,043.
Newly elected Mayor Jack Froese found himself receiving $105,456 a year, up from the $93,724 the position paid for the past three years.
Long said he heard from people, and he feels the raise was inappropriate right now.
"It didn't take into account where the economy's at," Long said.
The mayor and council's pay formula was created by a similar task force in 2000, with the idea that it would de-politicize the process and avoid having council set its own salary.
However, the formula created a ratchet effect, in which pay goes up every three years but never comes back down ["Rich raises poorly understood," Langley Advance, Dec. 20, 2011].
Every three years, in an election year, the Township surveys a basket of six other nearby municipalities. The highest and lowest (usually Coquitlam at the high end and Chilliwack at the low) are used in a formula to set the Township's salaries.
However, Chilliwack also uses a formula that bases its pay in part on a basket of 10 municipalities - including Langley Township. Every time the Township gets a raise, Chilliwack councillors will get one soon after when their formula kicks in, and then the Township's salaries will go up in response.
Coquitlam's mayoral and council salaries are based on the pay of their unionized employees. They got a hefty raise several years ago as a result of the generous settlements given to public sector workers before the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Those factors led to the Township council's high salary increases.