A special council meeting held January 21st saw City Councillor Steve Cross hand in his resignation, which he read to his fellow councillors and mayor at the meeting.
The issue originated in November of 2019 when Council Cody Younker brought up a verbal report in meeting, recommending an increase of the councillors salary from $10,000 a year to $25,000 and the mayors salary from $45,000 to $70,000 a year over the next three years. No official schedule has been released to the public. The increase would mean an estimated .3% increase in taxes and starts in a year where the community is dealing with a $500,000 revenue hole to cover.
Cross has not voiced against a raise in general. His issue seems to fall in line with the timing and method of enacting the raise.
In previous meetings, motions and requests attempted to tackle the issue, including deferring the raise, having a lower raise, and having a third party review, were unsuccessful. Councillors who have been in support of these motions include councillors Steven Cross, Mike Brooks-Hill, and Jackie Rhind.
On January 21st special meeting, Cross motioned to remove the raises from the budget and divert funds into infrastructure projects. His motion was defeated. At that time, Cross announced his resignations. His letter is printed in full below.
Mayor and fellow Councillors, I am resigning from this Council effective February 7th, 2020.
I am making this choice for the following reasons:
1. Approving pay raises of 134% for Mayor and 67% for Councillors in a budget year where our town has a $500K revenue hole to deal with and our roads are a mess is a choice of self-interest over mission of service to our community.
2. Approving these large raises without any third-party research, vetting, or reporting as to need, norms, and recommendations is a choice to forgo transparency and to erode public trust in how we work and make decisions.
3. Approving these raises with a ratio of close to 3:1 in favor of the Mayor. Such a large pay gap is does not foster a positive sense of team and it is not the leadership model that is right for our community.
4. Approving these raises to phase in right away rather than making them effective only for the next elected Council. This is not the act of making stewardship a priority but rather the act of putting personal benefit first.
The choices made on these matters erodes the public’s faith and trust and I will not be a party to that practice. Nor can I continue to work with this group when self-interest is so clearly being chosen over the mission of service we were elected for.
You can view the video at:
The motion Cross tabled begins around 1:30 in the video.