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Esquimalt council votes for salary boost in split decision

Esquimalt's next mayor will get a salary bump of 34 per cent after council voted 4 to 3 to increase remuneration for their public service roles.

Effective December 2014, the mayoral salary will increase from $34,667 to about $46,400, while councillor salaries will jump from about $14,600 to $18,600.

"We need to attract people to run for council and for mayor," said Coun. Dave Hodgins, who voted in favour of the increase. "We need youth, more diversity on council, people with experience. If they don't' believe they're compensated in an equitable way, I don't think they'll run."

The vote split council with Mayor Barb Desjardins, Meagan Brame and Lynda Hundleby opposed, and Hodgins, Robert McKie, Tim Morrison and David Schinbein in favour.

Brame said she would have been in favour of a more modest raise, and she questioned the logic of an additional $75 monthly for communications expenses.

"We all receive (one third of) our salary tax-free," she said. "That's meant to fund our communications costs."

Brame said she's not sure the increased amount will attract better candidates in the fall, but she said it's sure to attract detractors.

"People should do this job because they have a passion for it. You should have some compensation, it's not free. But that big a jump all at once is not reasonable," she said.

Mayor Barb Desjardins previously supported the salary increases at a committee of the whole meeting, but rejected the motion at council when it was packaged with an ongoing two per cent annual increase, as well as the $75 monthly stipend.

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