London council briefs: Council pay, hate symbols, appointments

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News and notes from Tuesday’s committee of the whole meeting at city hall:

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Getting rid of the pay hot potato

Councillors voting on their own pay is a controversial issue that tends to become a “hot potato” or “political circus,” politicians said Tuesday as they unanimously endorsed new recommendations to make annual inflationary raises automatic. Right now, city councillors and the mayor get an annual raise based on the increase in the consumer price index or the labour index in the previous year, whichever is lower. An independent task force reviewing council compensation recommended changing that formula to align with the annual average increase in London’s full-time median income over the last census period. Councillor pay would remain tied to that full-time median income. Last year, councillors made $52,358 and will earn $54,191 in 2022 if a 3.5 per cent raise is approved later this month.

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Flag flap goes national

London’s diversity, inclusion and anti-oppression advisory committee took its fight against a Confederate flag seen flying in the city’s south end earlier this year to council, asking for support to ban “symbols of hate.” Deputy mayor Josh Morgan, who gave a presentation to the advisory committee, told his colleagues the Federation of Canadian Municipalities is pushing the federal government to tackle this issue through a Criminal Code change. “We have supported it through my vote as London’s representative on the (federation) board,” Morgan said Tuesday.

Local board appointments

City politicians endorsed changes to council-appointed members of local boards, including adding Deborah Haroun to the Argyle business improvement association board and ending former councillor Harold Usher’s time on the Western University board of governors as of June 30 to align with new terms.

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