CORNWALL, Ontario – At their meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 12, Cornwall City Council approved a two per cent increase to the Mayor’s salary.
Mayor Bernadette Clement stepped down from her chair for this part of the meeting, which was instead chaired by Acting Mayor Councillor Eric Bergeron.
In August, Council approved a modest raise for itself, but at the time, the Mayor’s salary was not addressed.
A report from Administration recommended that the Mayor’s salary be increased by two per cent, roughly the rate of inflation, from $53,941 to $55,020.
Council typically votes on their own salary at the end of their term, but the past two councils chose to vote against increases.
“The raise, I have no problem with, but I just don’t think we should be giving it to ourselves. So I’m being consistent here,” explained Councillor Todd Bennett who argued in August, and again on Tuesday that the increase be made for the next council in three years.
Councillor Dean Hollingsworth however pointed out that waiting to the end of the term made an already hot button issue even more contentious.
“If we talk about it right before an election, it is never going to happen,” he said. “I don’t think it is wrong to get a raise from time to time on an annual basis and rate of inflation makes sense.”
When compared to similar sized cities, Cornwall’s mayor’s salary is slightly higher than the province-wide average. For cities between 25,000 and 49,999 in population, an average mayor’s salary is $52,592, as stated above, the Cornwall Mayor’s current salary is $53,941.
Mayor Clement voted in favour of the increase and before the vote, she explained to her council colleagues as to why.
“This is really about a cost of living increase, and I will be transparent and support that as you did when it came to your compensation because the law requires us to do this awkward process when it comes to our salaries,” she said.
Several members of council including Councillor Claude McIntosh, Syd Gardiner and Justin Towndale commended the Mayor in their discussions, saying she has done a good job thus far.
All Councillors voted in favour of giving the Mayor an increase, except for Todd Bennett who voted against and Justin Towndale who abstained, and Councillor Maurice Dupelle who was absent.