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Councillors pull no punches during discussion about their salaries and workload


Councillors offered an unvarnished glimpse into what it’s like to represent their constituents at city hall during a meeting of the Governance Working Group (GWG).

The deputy mayor said rather than part-time or full-time his job is “all the time.”

“There is no off switch in this job,” Shawn Lewis said while describing being approached by constituents at the grocery store.

On Monday, council members on the working group considered whether to launch a Council Compensation Review Task Force (CCRTF) to once again investigate if their salaries are fair.

Coun. Skylar Franke expressed her frustration that councillors earn the exact same salary regardless of how many external boards and commissions they choose to sit on.

“It is somewhat irritating, to some of us at least, that some people are compensated the same who are maybe working double the amount that other councillors are,” Franke said.

There are 27 agencies, boards and commissions that include seats for London’s city councillors.

Some boards have much higher workloads than others, including the London Police Services Board, Middlesex-London Board of Health, and the London Transit Commission.

City councillors do not receive a stipend payment for any of their external board seats.

Also resurfacing during the discussion, a longstanding debate about whether to consider council a full-time or part-time job.

Some admitted quitting their jobs to dedicate full time hours to being a councillor.

Others maintain other employment or run their own businesses.

Coun. Corrine Rahman, who works at Fanshawe College, said defining the role of a city councillor should include expectations — but not limitations.

“I don’t think that I should have to choose whether or not I have another job,” Rahman told colleagues. “Many people that live in this city work more than one job.”

Coun. Anna Hopkins reminded colleagues why she ran for office, “I wanted to give back to the community, and I haven’t heard the words ‘public service’ [during] this conversation here.”

The mayor’s salary is $157,662 in 2024.

The deputy mayor and budget chair positions recently received a 12.5 per cent raise that boosted their earnings to $73,279.

The remaining councillors earn the median full time employment income in London which is currently $65,137.

Additional benefits for municipal politicians include free parking at city hall, a car allowance, travel expenses, life insurance and healthcare benefits.

Coun. Hadleigh McAlister acknowledged that comments levelled at politicians take a toll, emphasizing the importance of mental health benefits.

“My mental health has taken a bit of a beating in this job. I go to therapy. I find it very useful for this job. I think politicians take a lot of abuse,” McAlister said.

Recommendations from the most recent CCRTF were approved by council in March of 2022.

It maintained that councillors earn the median employment income in London, but added that annual increases be automatic based on updates provided by census data.

At the next meeting of the working group, former CCRTF member and Western University Professor Martin Horak will be asked to speak as a delegation.

London resident Bill Brock, who attended meetings of the previous two task forces, has also asked to appear as a delegation.

In the meantime, a sub-committee led by Rahman will develop a draft job description for a city councillor.

Lewis, who chaired the GWG meeting, believes defining the role is an important first step towards determining the correct level of compensation.

“What other job in the City of London has a performance review that spends six months talking to your bosses going door-to-door and convincing them that you should keep the job you have?” he asked.

The next meeting of GWG is scheduled for June 24. Top Stories

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