Kirkland Council approves 20% salary increase
By Rhonda Massad
At its Feb. 3 council meeting, Kirkland announced that at its next gathering in March, it plans to vote on increasing the salaries of the city’s mayor and councilors by 20 per cent.
The mayor’s salary will increase to $46,617, and each councilor will receive $16,398. The province of Quebec also requires the city to give the mayor and council an expense allowance that will also increase, based on a set formula.
Kirkland resident Neil Semunchuk, a former city employee for 37 years who ran unsuccessfully in last year’s municipal election, told The Suburban following the city council meeting that the increase ought to have been phased in gradually.
“I challenge anyone to find me one municipal employee who has had a salary increase of 20 per cent at any one time,” he said. He stressed that two council members had been elected less than three months ago.
“They got a raise without proving themselves,” he complained. “That’s a hell of a job.”
In an interview following the council meeting Kirkland Mayor Michel Gibson countered that the salary of a city employee and that of a councilor are not comparable.
He said that council salaries have been outpaced by inflation and are long overdue for correction.
“This will bring brings Kirkland back in line with neighbouring cities of similar population” he told The Suburban.
Gibson noted that that a councilors must sit on municipal committees, attend many meetings . He said that they also meet new residents each month and make sure that all complaints are addressed.
“It is a time consuming job and this increase reflects that,” he said.