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Raises recommended for council

The Council Remuneration Task Force - consisting of Dean Hergott, Sid Helmkay and Phil Griffeth - presented their report to Humboldt City Council during a regular council meeting on November 14.

The Council Remuneration Task Force - consisting of Dean Hergott, Sid Helmkay and Phil Griffeth - presented their report to Humboldt City Council during a regular council meeting on November 14.
The Task Force was in charge of reviewing current council remuneration and making recommendations to council on any changes they felt should be made.
Before making the report, the committee members interviewed council and administration, to get a better feel of how much time and energy is put into the positions.
In their report, they separated the mayor's salary from the councillors' salaries. For both, they estimated the average amount of time spent doing council work and calculated the average rate per hour.
Currently, the councillors' salaries are at $7,668 and they work an average of 289 hours per year, which works out to be $26.53 an hour, explained Griffeth. The mayor's salary is $16,600 and he works an average of 1,043 hours per year, which works out to $15.91 an hour.
"Right off the bat, we thought that was not right," said Griffeth. "The Task Force has the opinion that the remuneration rates are not to be set so high as to be the main motivator for a citizen to seek the position or that the individual has lost interest but remains in the position due to the compensation," he explained. "On the other hand, we didn't want the rate set so low that it is viewed as not being worth the effort of time spent."
After looking at a table which showed the mayor's salary in other cities close to the same size as Humboldt, the Task Force noticed the mayor's salary was quite low and a full-time mayor had an average rate of pay of $26 to $32 per hour.
"We felt the rate for a part-time mayor should be a higher hourly rate based on missing income from other employment and the inconvenience factor, as opposed to a full-time mayor with full-time income," said Griffeth.
The committee decided a reasonable hourly compensation to be about $30-$40 an hour.
The recommendations the task force made were for 2012, and suggested taking inflation into account for the future.
"For 2013, a three per cent inflation should be used and a follow-up review done for 2014," said Griffeth.
They also suggested, to make it easier to budget, that "administration look to set councillors and the mayor as other employees of the City and pay on regular payroll pay periods."
While conducting interviews, it was suggested Humboldt should look into having a full-time mayor.
"While this task force was not asked to determine if Humboldt needed a full-time mayor, the idea was brought up during most interviews," said Griffeth. "The summary recommended salary range indicated this should likely be considered, possibly by another task force."
Some other suggestions were to have a fund for tickets for events the mayor is invited to of $1,200, per diem should be set at $120 for four hours and $240 for a full day and the mayor should be compensated for use of his personal vehicle.
In the end, the task force recommended a large increase in the council's salaries.
"Based on the data presented and the considerations found in the report, the Task Force recommends a salary of $9,000 to $11,000 for a councillor, $32,000 to $36,000 for the mayor and that the per diem for both parties be $120 for a half day and $240 for a full day," said Griffeth.
Council members were interested to hear what the task force presented to them and were grateful for all the hard work they put into making the report.
"We will take your recommendations and give them serious considerations and make a decision to go forward," said Mayor Malcolm Eaton.
A decision on the remuneration was tabled by council for a future meeting, so they can think about if they want to follow the recommendations or make changes and receive additional information from administration on how best to implement changes and budget concerns.