Calgary's mayor to examine councillor pay and perks

Office budgets paid for dry-cleaning, theatre tickets and car washes
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 11/05/2010

Calgary's new mayor is going to take a closer look at city councillors' pay and benefits.

While there is a regular review of aldermen's compensation, the committee's mandate should be expanded, said Mayor Naheed Nenshi, who was elected on Oct. 18.

Currently the committee, which includes outside experts in law, labour and business, is formed every three years to examine pay, pension and benefits, but it doesn't look at office expense accounts.

Last year, a Calgary Herald investigation found aldermen expensed thousands of dollars for dry-cleaning and the mayor expensed his car washing and detailing. Aldermen also used their office budgets to buy tickets for public events, including theatre performances and speeches.

Calgary aldermen earn about $97,000 a year and the mayor earns about $190,000.

Nenshi promised to put city council's pay and perks under the microscope during his campaign. And no one's compensation will be off-limits, not even the mayor's or his staff, said Nenshi.

He wants a review to "examine, soup to nuts, how we think about the various compensation, the pay and perks, that all council members, including myself, receive," Nenshi told reporters after his first official meeting with city council.

He said they would "tweak" the compensation review committee's mandate "to make it a little bit broader, based on the kind of things we've been talking about."

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