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RCMP raises no surprise, Esquimalt mayor says

Apr 14 2012

RCMP SALARIES 2010-11

Salary scale for the constable rank: Entry: $48,946

Six months of service: $63,595

12 months of service: $69,000

24 months of service: $74,406

36 months of service: $79,308

Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins says B.C. mayors should not be surprised at the RCMP salary hike, as local politicians were reminded about the raise as recently as January.

Desjardins said she participated in a webinar aimed at mayors served by the RCMP - she was invited because her municipality wants to switch to the Mounties - and jotted down a note about a five per cent hike over three years.

"I looked through my notes, and I wrote down the increases that everyone is saying they're missing," Desjardins said. "I don't think people should be surprised."

An RCMP letter sent in May 2011 to Langley Mayor Peter Fassbender, who represented municipalities in the RCMP contract negotiations - and provided to the Times Colonist by the federal Ministry of Public safety - clearly said that the force was asking for an increase of 1.5 per cent per year for three years. Fassbender confirmed that was also the raise projection used during the webinar.

The letter was also sent to Clayton Pecknold, the provincial government's director of police services.

B.C. Justice Minister Shirley Bond said Thursday the RCMP said in May 2011 in their five-year plan they were pursuing a 1.5 per cent wage increase, and that the compensation package presented by the federal Treasury Board of 5.25 over three years "exceeds this in several areas."

However, a spokeswoman for the Justice Ministry said that figure was, in fact, 1.5 per cent for each of the three years, for a total of 4.5 per cent - a figure not far off from the actual hike.

The ministry said it wasn't the wage hike that was a surprise, but other "compensation adjustments" that did not come up during negotiations.

"It wasn't that we weren't anticipating any wage increases," Fassbender said. "What we didn't know is that the increase was confirmed, and details of the total package that was announced, not just the salary issues, but benefits and severance that we were not made aware of."

Several mayors said Thursday they wouldn't sign the new contract until they received details on how much the raise would cost. The federal government says the cost of the hike will be offset by $195 million in cuts to the RCMP budget through "administrative efficiencies."

The new 20-year contract promises more accountability and cost control measures for mayors, who say they are tired of costs being forced on municipalities. kderosa@timescolonist.com

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