Open letter to District of Mission Council
Dear Ken Bjorgaard, Chief Administration Officer
In anticipation of a Public Hearing or similar venture to permit public expression of perspectives and known facts to Council, I am taking the liberty to make a few salient remarks, as applicable.
My Senior Executive Committee Management experience spans thirty plus years, functioning as a senior executive in capacity of Director/Vice President of several major (chains), notably in-charge of a department and staff performing largely Human Resource, Industrial Relations, Labour Relations. Recruitment of President down to Staff, Management Training and a notable aspect Wage Administration from Executive level to Staff. This latter position involved conducting regular annual wage surveys across BC and Alberta, of union & non-union positions, from President down to Stock Person.
Scope and Objective
This included personal and written documents, to ascertain from a broad section of similar companies and position responsibilities. Thus, the objective at Mission must be to ascertain which Municipalities to include, likely population numbers will suffice, as most elected positions do the same duties per se, subject to possibly development in progress and some other salient functions of note. The crucial aspects are keep assessments accurate, objective and meaningful, understood to all.
Stop the silliness and subjectivity
The wage surveys are to determine the compensation of the incoming to be elected Mayor & Council, not incumbents. Thus the inertia perpetuated by Councillor L. Nundal is unproductive and retrograde, at best, simply making a lot of incessant blabber of no purpose per se. The apparent fear to (spend taxpayer money) while perceived a commendable trait when exercised in good judgment accompanying some progress, it has merit but not under most instances we have witnessed to date. Patronizing the Mayor, as a “hard working and deserving of more money is redundant and unproductive”, as well, as other than engracing oneself as an ally or friend, it does nothing to substantiate establishment of a compensation package for Mayor. Grandstanding and attempts at self-aggrandizement are unwelcome from a Public perspective, as may or may not be warranted and seeking self-praise for your job well done is repugnant, at best. Indeed, the position merits the assessment and assigned compensation, not the incumbent. If the Public feel you are doing a good job, albeit a shallow reasoning sadly, given merit and accomplishment are not major factors in being elected or re-elected but for this purpose, let’s say, if doing a good job chances of re-election are more likely. Further, a competitive compensation plan is fine to attract and retain competent people. However, competence, skills, leadership and other management traits will either emerge, if not known, as all it takes is numbers of votes to be elected or reelected, often along some party lines. Even the most useless do get reelected because they “got their votes out’. Sadly, we pay very exorbitant salaries and gold-plated retirement schemes for MP and not so bad for MLA but the competence of most, sadly a fact today, is dramatically lacking. Occasionally the Public get aroused and replaces a complete Government, not unlike last election replaced all on Mission Council except one. In Maple Ridge the former Mayor got significant increases approved to (attract high caliber Candidates) but in fact, lost the election and lo and behold an incumbent Councillor got elected Mayor, so much for paying more, for essentially the same level. Indeed, people normally do not run for Municipal election, at any salary level, for the money. The other salient point, at this juncture, Councillor Nundal and I believe one or two others, said they may vote against the suggested compensation, which is redundant, at best. Simply, stop the personalizing and recognize the objective is to establish a competitive value remuneration for the positions, not you. Voting against a new compensation scheme only exacerbates an already possibly non-competitive position and at some point, a Council must decide to either “catch-up” or implement a competitive scheme. Simply, Council need to keep a competitive scheme in place, establish an annual or term compensation review but act wisely and progressive to ensure Mission retain a competitive position.
- NOTE: – It may be quite acceptable for an elected person who objects to the compensation, to refrain from collecting all or part of the established compensation. They may decide to have a portion of compensation donated to their favourite charity, for example. Remember, when deciding upon a competitive compensation scheme, you are not deciding your compensation but rather the incoming Council. So, it would be wise to abandon the dramatic political antics and shallow claims of not voting for a competitive scheme because you do not feel Council should receive more, that is silliness and posturing that serves not practical purpose.
We have witness “Staff” compiling statists and making recommendation which is flawed, in part, if persons are not skilled at conducting surveys, of merit. We witnessed a Public Compensation Committee that did a reasonable job, except introduced an atrocious scheme to pay the Mayor outgoing, some $ 10,000.00. As well, instilling car allowances. I seem to recall last time, “Staff” used some unacceptable Municipal comparisons, that would have the effect of weighting increases higher than competitively necessary. The crucial aspect is to have sufficient participation in the wage survey to grant a good competitive value of similarly sized Communities to Province numbers of recruitment candidates that may become involved in the election process. I understand the Mayor severance allowance has been rescinded, car allowances rescinded and now wage is under consideration.
At first blush I find no real concern with the statistic wage comparisons used although I may have preferred at least ten Municipalities to be used. The compensation set by Municipalities is currently irregular and inconsistent, so difficult to ascertain a factual base or scheme, as any Municipality may suddenly increase their compensation, after the election and we could witness some form of leap-froging, which must be avoided. If UBCM could establish a set date to review and criteria to use, then all Municipalities may be at ground zero together. So, as it stands, it is important competent people conduct surveys and a meaningful proposal arise from data collected that is within a Municipalities ability to pay. As well, to keep assessments objective and stop personalizing. I had a cursory review of statistical date provided and it does not seem unreasonable
- A recommended annual salary to the Mayor amounting to $70,000.00 and Councillors $28,000.00 (40.0% of Mayor salary) is not unreasonable.
- It is deemed the Mayor position is to be full-time, so some perqs, like life insurance, dental, ADD are reasonable, possibly comparable to that offered senior Bureaucrats, like Chief Administration Officer.
- It is best to abandon such schemes as severance, car allowance
Please accept my observations in the spirit and intent offered and I hope you may agree with improving compensation and as important, the exercise of determining competitive market value compensation for Mayor & Council, excluding all the personal bafflegab we have come to associate emanating from some on Councils to date, keep it objective.
George F. Evens