News / Calgary

Coun. Jeromy Farkas says bye to Calgary council pension, transition allowance

This comes after the Canadian Taxpayers Federation critiqued the Calgary councillor pension plan

Jeromy Farkas waves to reporters on his way to be sworn in as Ward 11 councillor on Oct. 23, 2017.

ELIZABETH CAMERON / for Metro

Jeromy Farkas waves to reporters on his way to be sworn in as Ward 11 councillor on Oct. 23, 2017.

As the city looks to pinch every penny, and tax critics put a microscope to council's pensions and benefits, one rookie is turning down the extra cash.

On Wednesday, Coun. Jeromy Farkas posted to his following on Facebook that after a discussion with his family and partner he will be opting out of the pension and transition allowance he's eligible for as a city councillor.

He says if he serves two terms, as he's pledged, he'd be eligible for more than $500,000 in benefits.

"Because I was elected so early in my life, over the course of the payouts, city taxpayers would have contributed more than $5 for every dollar that I put in," read a post by Farkas.

"Every situation is different, and I do not feel this to be reasonable for mine."

Farkas said he believes offering retirement benefits is reasonable but that public sector compensation should be competitive with the private sector.

Reached by phone, Farkas didn't have time to comment but did say he's now looking to his constituents for next steps on how to address the pension problems pointed out by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation earlier this week to see if they have an appetite for a fix through council, or want the issue tackled through a third party review.

The CTF were quick to applaud Farkas' choice.

“Councillor Farkas has demonstrated an immense amount of principle by refusing to accept council’s golden pension and transition payments,” said CTF Interim Alberta Director Colin Craig in a prepared release.

“We hope other council members follow his lead or act to scale back council’s golden perks.”

Craig recently released another update about council pensions, detailing that for every dollar council put in, citizens were forking over more than five dollars to pad the fund. So far, citizens have contributed more than $6 million to council pensions, where ​councillors were only on the hook for more than $1 million between 2007 and 2016.

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