The list of expenses and remuneration paid to Chilliwack city council members in 2019 has just been made public.
In terms of basic remuneration, councillors received $42,571 each in 2019, while the mayor of Chilliwack earned $118,486, not counting mileage or expenses.
Council pay levels and expenses are made public every year as per the city’s updated remuneration and expenses bylaw, which now includes remuneration, mileage and expenses.
The highest 2019 expenses were reimbursed to Coun. Bud Mercer in the amount of $7,283, followed by Coun. Chris Kloot, with $6,928. The lowest expenses were claimed by Coun. Sue Knott in the amount of $1,304.
The 2019 Schedule of Remuneration and Expenses for Elected Officials, was received by council at the Aug. 18 council meeting.
Questions about expenses erupted in council chambers in June 2018 when Mayor Sharon Gaetz filed an FOI request to obtain details about 2017 expenses incurred by former Coun. Sam Waddington, for out-of-town conferences, such as in-room dining charges for breakfasts, and an AirBnB rental over the Grey Cup weekend.
That led to an independent auditor hired in September 2018, with the findings passed on to RCMP.
In September 2019, Waddington was charged with two counts of breach of trust. The case was resolved in August 2020 with the charges being stayed by Crown counsel as Waddington agreed to an “alternative measures” program, which meant an apology and repayment of some expenses.
Changes were approved to the city’s remuneration and expenses bylaw in 2018, which included removing alcohol as a reimbursable expense, and adding the requirement to publish a detailed listing of expenditures. Some out-of-town conference receipts also have to be initialled by the mayor.
The ‘Other’ remuneration category for 2019 included amounts for the position of Acting and Alternate Acting Mayor, amounts for benefits/in lieu of benefits, and amounts for retirement allowance, in accordance with Bylaw No. 4606.
The retirement allowance paid to former mayor Sharon Gaetz in 2019 was $21,534.
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