BANFF – The salary and benefits of Banff’s elected officials for 2021 have been disclosed.
Salaries and benefits for municipal officials and the chief administrative officer, which must be disclosed under provincial legislation, were outlined in the Town of Banff’s audited 2021 consolidated financial statements approved by council on April 25.
Mayor Corrie DiManno earned $59,361, however she did not take over the mayoral position until August after Karen Sorensen vacated her seat as Banff’s longtime mayor when she was appointed to the Canadian Senate.
The base salary for the full-time mayoral position is currently $98,075, although the public committee that reviews council compensation has recommended an inflationary increase of 2.5 per cent each year from 2023-25.
Mayor DiManno said the public review committee – which has provided council remuneration recommendations during the last year of the term of each council since 2013 – has proven to be a good process to determine council compensation.
“We have this relatively new process in place where we involve a public committee to review council’s compensation and we’ve learned a lot through that process and we see where our council is paid compared to other communities,” she said.
“In 2021, council went with the recommendations of the committee and personally, I think, it’s important to make sure this is a public process and to make sure we respect the work of that committee and the recommendations that they put so much time, effort and research into forming.”
Based on the committee’s recommendations last year, the current base remuneration for a councillor is $32,692, which is calculated at one-third of that of the mayor’s annual salary and reflects the part-time nature of a councillor’s job.
Councillor Grant Canning was the highest paid councillor last year with a total of $38,470 in salary and benefits, followed by Coun. Chip Olver whose salary and benefits package was $37,630 and Coun. Ted Christensen with a total of $36,051.
Councillors Barb Pelham, Kaylee Ram and Hugh Pettigrew, who served on council for a portion of the year following the October municipal election, received $7,849, $7,954 and $7,114 respectively in salary and benefits.
When the compensation review committee considered remuneration for mayor and council last year, it found the mayor’s salary at the time was six per cent below comparable municipalities such as Canmore, Okotoks, Airdrie and Cochrane.
The committee also recommended increasing per diem rates for councillors, which had not been adjusted in four years and were considered at the low end of the scale compared to the other municipalities reviewed.
Per diem rates in 2022 are $105 for a half day of four hours or less and $210 for more than four hours. For 2023-25, the rates would be based on the previous year’s per diems plus the municipality’s cost of living adjustment.
As a full-time position in the Town of Banff, the mayor does not get per diems or additional compensation for chairing committees or representing the Town of Banff at an agency, board or committee meetings, for example.
Council’s remuneration policy attempts to strike a balance between the work that is required of a public official and the call to serve one’s community.
The committee’s rationale for the mayor’s salary was that the role continues to evolve and all the data supported continuation of a full-time position in Banff.
“The mayor has all the responsibilities of the other members of council as well as actively advocating for the Town of Banff at local, provincial, national and even international levels,” stated the committee in its report. “There is an expectation from the public that there is more importance placed on the role of the mayor, including visibility and public commitments.”
The work of the Banff mayor is a seven-day-a-week commitment.
“The high profile of our community and the need to continuously demonstrate strong, confident leadership, especially when navigating a global pandemic or other crisis, has further highlighted expectations of the role,” stated the committee.
“The remuneration of mayor should reflect the time commitment and degree of responsibility for this position.”
As for council pay, the committee determined the work of Banff councillors reflects a significant part-time commitment to fully perform their duties and obligations.
In the committee’s review, it was determined that councillors commit, on average, one-third of the time committed by the mayor to the job.
Councillors’ responsibilities require members to prepare for and attend meetings in addition to keeping informed on current issues while maintaining contact with residents.
“Councillors in a small community have a high public profile and they are often required to be engaged with constituents whether in person or through technology,” stated the committee in its report.
According to the approved audited consolidated financial statements, the Town Manager’s total compensation package in 2021 was $246,418, which includes a salary of $218,177 and benefits of $28,241.
The 2021 consolidated financial statements also include statements on the municipality’s financial position, operations and accumulated surplus, cash flows, change in net financial assets as well as notes and schedules to the financial statements.
A municipality’s audited financial statements must be submitted to Alberta Municipal Affairs by April 30 of each year.