Councillors pay frozen, divides Scarborough

With only one holdout in Scarborough, Toronto councillors have voted to freeze their pay for the year, completing another campaign promise for Mayor Rob Ford.

“We’re looking at a lot of restraint over the next year and I think it’s important that we lead by example,”  said Scarborough Southwest councillor Gary Crawford who voted yes on the freeze, which keeps councillor salaries at just under $100,000 and the mayor’s pay at just under $167,000.

The motion was introduced by Mike Del Grande, Scarborough-Agincourt councillor and city budget chief. It continues the cost-cutting platform that boosted Mayor Rob Ford into office last October.

“One leads by example,” Del Grande said, a sentiment shared by other yay-voting councillors.

The vote of 39-3 on Feb. 8 showed not all councillors are on side with Ford.

Willowdale councillor John Filion, along with Scarborough East’s Ron Moeser and St. Paul’s West representative Joe Mihevc were the three lone nay votes.

“I think basically it was councillors slapping themselves in the head,” Filion said.

Crawford disagreed.

“I don’t see it as a slap in the head at all,” he said. “I think it has more to do with we do have to set an example moving forward in where we are going in the next couple of years.”

Salaries are usually adjusted yearly based on the consumer price index. This year’s raise would have been in line with the CPI at 2.6 per cent.

However, the passing of the motion kept pay at the 2010 rate.

A motion that would see the savings from the freeze go to the student nutrition program was sent to the budget committee for deliberation. The savings are estimated at $110,000.

Filion called the motion self-degrading.

Had the student nutrition option been included, Filion said his vote would have changed.