All Politics is Local

Salary review begins with little public knowledge

With three meetings under their belt, the Salary Review Commission has essentially operated in the dark. The commission has an important job. It is responsible for setting the salaries for mayor, mayor pro tem and city council. Last go-round in 2016, their decisions resulted in public chaos and a do-over.

However, many in Vancouver may not realize the biennial process is underway. That’s because the commission’s website only shows two meeting dates, one of which was cancelled due to snow. Past meeting documents are not available, a standard practice for government bodies. The meetings have also not been streamed on CVTV. Similar commissions, like the Planning Commission, are regularly available.

Former Mayor Royce Pollard, who led the 2016 petition to overturn the commission’s salary recommendations, didn’t even know how many meetings the commission had held so far.

Part of the issue may stem from a scheduling problem. Until Monday’s meeting, the meetings were only scheduled one at a time and there’s no consistent timing. The commission did opt to schedule the next four meetings to move forward.

“Is this really your third meeting?” Pollard asked Monday. “I don’t recall getting any notice about any others until after the fact.”

He also questioned the commission as to why the meetings were not being aired by CVTV. In 2016, only the two August meetings when the final recommendations were made are archived.

“Every meeting is important, you might consider that,” Pollard said.

Commissioner Frank L’Amie asked staff to get at least one meeting on CVTV before the process is complete. City staff said they were working with CVTV on the issue.

The commission will meet again from 3 to 5 p.m. March 19 at City Hall.

Katy Sword

I cover the city of Vancouver and federal politics. Reach me at katy.sword@columbian.com.

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