City council in Whitehorse on June 17, 2019. Whitehorse city council approved salary increases for City of Whitehorse management after a third reading Sept. 28 of a bylaw governing management and confidential exclusion employee wages to 2022. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Raises approved for City of Whitehorse management

Deal will begin with 2.6 per cent increase retroactive to 2019

Larger paycheques will be coming to City of Whitehorse management after Whitehorse city council passed third reading Sept. 28 of a bylaw governing management and confidential exclusion employee wages to 2022.

The last bylaw governing management and exclusion employee salaries ended on Dec. 31, 2018.

There was no discussion among council ahead of the vote, but in an interview following the council meeting, Coun. Samson Hartland described the raises as “long overdue”, highlighting the one year and nine months management have been without a new bylaw.

He also pointed to the extensive process used to determine the amounts outlined in the bylaw.

As Lindsay Schneider, the city’s acting director of human resources, told council at an earlier meeting work on the new bylaw did not get underway until the beginning of 2019 after the previous bylaw elapsed because the city had been without a human resources manager through part of 2018.

Once a new manager was hired, work started with a consultant hired to talk with staff who fall under the bylaw and look at pay for comparable positions in other jurisdictions and at other major employers within the Yukon.

That work resulted in the proposed salary increases.

While much of the new bylaw was finished by the spring 2020, Schneider explained at that time priorities shifted to deal with the impact of the COVID-19 on the city.

Work by the consultant found “many of the positions were under-market in comparison to comparable local organizations or municipalities in B.C., Alberta and the Northwest Territories.

“The new bylaw proposes to create adjusted salary ranges for each position in the management group,” it was noted in an earlier administrative report to council.

Raises are outlined in each of the four years of the bylaw beginning at an increase of 2.6 per cent retroactive for 2019.

Under those terms, the highest-paid directors for corporate services; community and recreation services; development services; and infrastructure and operations will be paid between $133,291 and $164,062.

On the other end of the management pay scale is the manager of strategic communications whose salary will be between a minimum of $102,191 and $115,139 retroactive to 2019.

That will be followed by another increase of 2.6 per cent from Jan. 1 to Sept. 28, when the bylaw was passed, bringing up the salaries of the four highest-paid directors to between $136,761 and $168,335. At the other end of the scale, the manager of strategic communications will make between $104,858 and $118,134 for that period.

Another increase based on market adjustment plus the greater of 1.25 per cent or the Consumer Price Index for Whitehorse, will follow from the passing of the bylaw to the end of 2020.

For each 2021 and 2022, increases will be whichever is greater: 1.25 per cent or the CPI.

Though the precise amounts could change and new schedules will be published annually, based on a 1.25 per cent increase, the highest-paid directors will earn between $160,499 and $198,007 in 2021 and between $162,495 and $200,492 in the final year of the bylaw.

In the final year for the bylaw, it is the manager of legislative services listed as the position with the lowest management pay estimated between a minimum of $111,252 and $138,253 based on the 1.25 per cent increase (which could change if the CPI is higher).

Schneider explained this is due to the city’s move from the current system to a market-based system for pay, which factors in how similar positions are compensated in other areas and organizations. It will see pay scales for some positions changed.

With pay increasing, so too is the number of work hours set in a standard week. They are rising by 2.5 hours from 35 to 37.5, a move Schneider said “would better align with the hours that managers at Yukon government are currently working and better reflects what managers at the city report working on a regular basis.”

Under the bylaw, the health spending allowance also increases from the current rate of $500 per year to $1,500, an amount that “will better reflect the cost of the average Canadian family’s health-related expenditures,” it’s noted in a report to council.

There’s also an increase in the employer’s RRSP contribution of one per cent. Under the bylaw, the minimum contribution required is 14 per cent, with the city contributing nine per cent while the employee contributes five per cent.

The new bylaw aligns all management staff hired before and after 2016, as previously there was a division of benefits depending on when staff was hired.

Also detailed in the document are vacation time, various leaves, long-service bonuses, benefits and so on.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

Whitehorse city council

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