Pay scale gains weight
By Sara Marett and Donna MacMullin
Last night's University Students' Council meeting saw the rise of a test balloon to discuss issues surrounding the restructuring of next year's council budget.
Motions were brought forth outlining salary adjustments for the USC president, vice-presidents as well as honoraria awarded to officers for the 1997-98 year.
The current salary received by the USC president is $20,947 and the VPs receive about 87 per cent or $18,200 of this sum. The Board of Directors has proposed that next year's presidential salary be $24,000 and that the VPs make 98.5 per cent of this amount.
"Currently [VP salaries] are set independently from each other but next year they would be all the same," said Chris Keith, VP-finance for the USC. "Our $18,000 after taxes is around $14,000 and we found it is hard to live on this amount of money."
Considering recent concern over rising tuition levels Dave Tompkins, USC president, said he would be surprised if there was no debate over the salary increases but does not think the proposed $24,000 salary is unreasonable. However, final decisions about the budget have not been set.
These proposed changes will be debated by council at next week's meeting.
It was decided next year's legal affairs officer will receive a $3,000 honorarium as well as salary from May to September set at 98 per cent of the president's whereas this year the amount received was only a $4,000 honoraria. The chief returning officer will receive a $1,000 honoraria next year which is up from this year's amount of $750. The motion to create the position of equity officer was also passed.
A cause for concern among some council members was the motion to decrease the honorarium for the women's issues co-ordinator from its current level of $2,500 to $2,000 next year.
An amount of $3,000 honoraria designated for the position was set two years ago but the board later decided this amount was too high. Last year's council decided to lower this amount to $2,000 over two years.
"We are devaluating somebody by taking money away from them. Why are we giving money to some people and taking it away from others?" questioned Brad Johnston, social science councillor
"People felt in light of other's honoraria within the corporation, $2,000 is an appropriate amount," Keith said.