THUNDER BAY — The city has released its annual salary and expenses disclosure for city councillors and members of the public appointed by council to sit on local boards and committees.
All told, councillors and citizen appointeees received just over $1 million in remuneration last year for their roles on council and outside boards, with those funds coming from both the city and outside organizations.
The city paid $635,963 in remuneration to council members, including fringe benefits. That was down slightly from 2021, with the difference largely explained by former mayor Bill Mauro’s early departure.
At $101,506, Mauro was paid the most of any council member last year, a lower-than-usual figure due to his early departure and turnover after the October election.
Newly elected councillors who began their terms in November received just $4,534 in 2022.
Councillors are paid a base salary of $31,552 a year, plus a $2,750 car allowance. The mayor receives around $130,000, including the car allowance.
Those figures increased after a vote last year by the previous term of council for a 2.35 per cent increase to their own pay, based on a policy that sets yearly increases at half the rate of inflation.
Council will vote later this year on whether to follow that policy again in 2023.
With honouraria from their seats on local boards, however, councillors take home more than that.
At $52,769, Coun. Mark Bentz had the highest total remuneration of any councillor. That’s largely thanks to his seat on the Synergy North board, for which he received $7,757.
Bentz sits on the board as a citizen member, not a council appointee.
Compensation for city appointees to local boards and committees varies wildly.
Some boards pay their members handsomely — around $30,000 a year for Tbaytel, and close to $20,000 for the local port authority and airport authority.
Others, like the Lakehead Region Conservation Authority, the Lakehead University board of governors, and the public health unit board, do not pay their members.
A number of other boards, like Synergy North (around $8,000), the District of Thunder Bay Social Services Adminsitration Board (around $3,000), and the police services board (around $3,000) fall somewhere in between.
Mayor Ken Boshcoff received just over $12,000 from the Thunder Bay International Airport Authority last year for his role as a board member. Boshcoff resigned from the board in October.
Total expenses accumulated by members of council last year amounted to $37,269, with about two-thirds of that related to their roles on outside boards and committees.
Mauro had the highest total expenses, at $8,948. Two others, Couns. Brian McKinnon and Mark Bentz, had expenses above $5,000.
Mauro and McKinnon’s expenses were racked up largely through their membership on the city’s intergovernmental affairs committee, which involves more regular travel. Bentz’s expenses related to per diems paid to Synergy North board members.
Fringe benefits for councillors include dental, vision, and extended health coverage and a pension plan contribution of around $3,000 for councillors and $9,000 for the mayor.
Ontario’s Municipal Act requires municipalities to report annually on remuneration and expenses paid to city councillors and members of the public appointed to serve on local boards and committees.
Administration announced it will expand that reporting to include more expenses beginning next year. While previous reports complied with the requirements under the Municipal Act, they did not include expenses related to items like telecommunications and office supplies.
“A brief review of reporting and standards from other municipalities demonstrates that this is a best practice that should be undertaken,” stated this year’s staff report on council pay and expenses.