October 20th, 2020

Council unanimously votes for wage freeze


By Kalinowski, Tim on December 12, 2019.

Councillor Belinda Crowson speaks to reporters after passing a motion to freeze wages in the new year during Mondays city council meeting. Herald photo by Ian Martens @IMartensHerald

Tim Kalinowski

Lethbridge Herald

tkalinowski@lethbridgeherald.com

City council voted unanimously to freeze wages for mayor and councillors and non-unionized employees for 2020.

“There are things we (on council) disagree about,” said Coun. Belinda Crowson, who sponsored the motion to bring in the wage freeze during Monday’s public meeting, “but finding efficiencies and making it better for all residents of Lethbridge is something I know we are all very keen on. I was not at all surprised everybody supported this.”

Besides council members, the wage freeze would apply to administrative staff and management-level employees at city hall. Prior to council’s decision on Monday, a two-per-cent wage increase was expected to take effect in 2020.

Crowson acknowledged freezing council’s wages would have a minimal impact on the City’s bottom line and the real savings would come from the wage freeze to employees, but said she and her fellow councillors felt it was important to lead by example in a new era of fiscal review and restraint.

“We cannot ask other people to take cuts and make changes as we are doing the operating reviews unless we are actually planning to lead as councillors,” she stated. “Our salary (on council) right now is about $60,000. You take that two-per-cent increase – it will not be a huge savings as a council. But it will be considerably more when you are looking at 235 administrative staff. It is a saving we will reuse as part of our priorities, but it is also sending a message to everyone else that council is serious about moving ahead with finding efficiencies.”

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