Delta mayor Lois Jackson at the council table. (Grace Kennedy photo)

Delta council members to receive ‘service benefit’ for first time

The ‘Council Service Benefit’ will see outgoing council members receive a payment after the election

For the first time, Delta council members will be leaving office not only with a hearty pat on the back, but also some extra money in their pocket.

In January 2017, council voted to give themselves and future councils a “Council Service Benefit,” sometimes called a “golden handshake,” which acts as the equivalent of a pension. Upon leaving office, elected members will receive an amount equal to what the city’s contribution to the municipal pension plan would be if they were treated as employees.

“After all these years I’ve been on council, people say ‘Oh now you can have your pension,’” Mayor Lois Jackson said over the phone. “And I said, ‘No, we don’t get any of that.’”

In Delta, the mayor and council members are not eligible to join the city’s pension plan. The service benefit comes instead of that. It is only applicable for up to 12 years of continuous service, and is given out when a member leaves council.

“It always is a bit of a sticky wicket because no one really likes to be setting their own salaries, if you would,” Jackson said.

RELATED: Metro Vancouver board backtracks on pay raise, retirement hike

This year, Mayor Lois Jackson, Counc. Heather King and Counc. Ian Paton will be recieving the benefit for sure. All other councillors are either running for mayor or re-election, and would only get the benefit if they did not make it back into council.

Jackson is eligible to recieve $124,153. King is eligible for $19,820. Paton, if he served out the 2018 term, which he will not do, would have been eligible for $39,511.

The remaining councillors, if they do not return to council, will be eligible for the following: $33,958 for Sylvia Bishop, $54,991 for Robert Campbell, $34,199 for Jeannie Kanakos and $48,978 for Bruce McDonald.

The benefit, voted in without discussion in January 2017, was first put forward in December of 2016 by staff.

Staff looked at 17 different municipalities and found that seven offer some kind of end of service benefit. Many of these mimic municipal staff pensions.

“We’re the same as all other cities,” Jackson said. “Many of them have different methods of giving a retiring allowance.”

However, the lack of discussion at the council meeting has been a problem for some.

“I think maybe a bit more information about the decision-making process would have helped,” current councillor Jeannie Kanakos said. Kanakos is running for council in the upcoming election with the Independents Working for You slate.

“It’s a good point that there wasn’t discussion at the main table, and I think we should have done more in expressing our views.”

Those views largely centre on the need to attract quality candidates to a position that is no longer a volunteer job.

“Delta is a city in transition. We’re a city now,” Kanakos said. “There was a day when folks kept a full-time job and then served on council kind of on the side, out of interest to kind of volunteer and give back.

“However, when you’re required and responsible for the needs of 102,000 residents, it’s a big job. And you need to put the time in to do it right.”

Jackson echoed Kanakos’ comments.

“We are one of the most diverse municipalities in Metro Vancouver,” Jackson said. “We have to govern everything from the largest container terminal to … the two major crossings.”

“So you can see how busy we are,” she continued. “It takes a lot of commitment. It takes a lot of work.”

Delta’s three communities also play a role in increasing the workload for mayor and council, Jackson said.

“If we have one Santa Claus breakfast, I have three,” she explained.

By adding an end of service benefit, Kanakos and Jackson said they hoped to make the position more attractive to future candidates.

“We want young people … to be able to come and run and work,” Kanakos said. “Anytime someone’s job hunting, you always kind of go, ‘Will I be able to make ends meet on this?’”

Jackson agreed.

“Many of us, myself [included], left a job as manager to take on the office of mayor,” Jackson said. “I never thought I would be here that long … but all those years would have been certainly a lot more lucrative in terms of remuneration than what I got at the council table.”

Currently, Delta’s mayor is paid $118,874 a year and Delta councillors are paid $50,470.



grace.kennedy@northdeltareporter.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Homicide team called in after man assaulted in Surrey dies in hospital

Police say they were called about assault early Sunday morning but both caller and victim took off

Man accused of murdering his wife in Surrey

Rizig Bona, 44, charged with second-degree murder in death of wife, Anida Magaya, 42, in Surrey

Rugby players raise $15K during ‘Ruck for the Cure’ in Surrey

Annual fundraiser held Saturday at Sullivan Heights Park

Battling Brewsters: In Surrey, married pair enjoy the thrill of playing foes in ‘Arsenic and Old Lace’

Michael and Jacqueline Charrois hit the stage together in Royal Canadian’s dark comedy

Shootout winner gives Surrey Eagles win in Victoria

BCHL squad wins one of three games on Vancouver Island road trip

Canada Post strikes leaves small shops in the lurch as holidays approach: CFIB

Rotating strikes began in Victoria, Edmonton, Halifax and Windsor

Three men charged in Alberta man’s murder will go straight to trial

The three men are charged with first degree murder in the death a 20-year-old from Alberta.

Vancouver cops, four-legged pals pose for police dog calendar

Proceeds go to fighting cancer and helping sick kids

Liberals write off $6.3 billion in loans as part of money never to be collected

That includes student loans and a $2.6 billion write off that came through Export Development Canada

Category 5 Hurricane Willa threatens Mexico’s Pacific coast

Hurricane-force winds extended 30 miles (45 kilometres) from the storm’s centre

Trudeau, McKenna to announce compensation for federal carbon plan

Provinces that don’t have a carbon price of at least $20 per tonne of emissions will have Ottawa’s plan forced on them

UPDATE: American rapper killed in skydiving accident

Man, 34, dies in skydiving accident Saturday near Westwold, between Vernon and Kelowna

Man who died at BC Ferries terminal shot himself as police fired: watchdog

Officers didn’t commit any offence, says police watchdog office

Voter turnout at 36% in B.C.’s municipal election

Vancouver saw 39% turnout, Surrey saw 33%

Most Read