Conscience won’t let him do it

Owner of business can’t increase town wages after cutting his own staff

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

Slashing wages at his business meant that giving an increase to Town of High Prairie staff was unacceptable, one councillor stated during budget debate April 5.

Arlen Quartly, who owns and operates Sunstone Energy, spoke against the proposed increase by saying industry was cutting wages.
“I’ve cut wages [at Sunstone] 10 per cent and now we’re raising [town staff] 1.4 per cent,” said Quartly. “I’m not comfortable with that.

“I’m not sure if this is the time to discuss that.”

“It is,” said Councillor Debbie Rose.

Treasurer Herman Minderlein said council had to offer competitive wages, adding there was not a large pool for municipal employees.

“Do you feel our wages are competitive?” asked Rose.

Minderlein did not comment.

However, when the economy is booming, municipal governments do find it difficult to hire staff and offer competitive wages, especially with the oil and gas industry.

Mayor Linda Cox and Councillor Brian Panasiuk also voted against the wage increase.
Councillors Donna Deynaka, Brian Gilroy, Michael Long and Rose voted in favour.

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