How much should a Saskatoon City Councilor get paid?

Councilor Pat Lorje feels councilors are not getting what they're worth.  She says serving the citizens of Saskatoon is turning into a full-time job, but the wage doesn't reflect that. She thinks her $52,000 salary should go up to reflect the work being done.

“I work a minimum of 40 hours.” Lorje says she works harder as a councilor than she did as an MLA, and they make $40,000 more a year.  She wants an independent body to review councilor’s salaries, health benefits, and expenses.

“If we want to continue having people work on a full time or almost full time basis than we should be compensating them more adequately."

But other councilors, like Darren Hill, feel the wage is fine. “We actually are at the top of the pay scale for like size cities across Canada."

Hill says a Regina city councilor makes about $20,000 less, but each has a communications budget that Saskatoon does not. He'd like to see more money for support services to help councilors respond to the public.

"Those are the kinds of things I’d like to see reviewed, not our salary level."

Councilors sit on committees, boards and attend council meetings. The majority are during the day, making it tough for those with other jobs.

Newly-elected Troy Davies works for MD Ambulance. He says the wage isn't an issue because he's able to continue working full time. “If I wouldn't have had an employer willing to work with me in regards to city council and working my job, I probably wouldn't have run."

Lorje says for some, a city councilor’s wage alone would not be enough to make ends meet.

"People should not have to live in poverty because they choose to be an elected representative."

If Lorje's inquiry were to be approved by council she'd like it to take effect immediately. That could become the next issue, because Darren Hill says any compensation changes should be part of the next city council term, not this one.