HOW MUCH IS a municipal politician worth?
A common answer among taxpayers is likely to be, less than they’re getting.
It’s a serious question, though, and a challenging one. Councils have the unenviable job of deciding how much they should pay themselves.
Unenviable, because while setting your own salary might seem like a dream come true, in politics it’s a deadly proposition. Councils are often justifiably criticized for the size of those pay raises, and they approach pay-raise time with trepidation.
Take Revelstoke, for example. The council there is desperately trying to keep from being hanged, drawn and quartered in the town square — if they have one — in a storm of public outrage over a pay increase.
It’s a problem of their own making, beginning with a bizarre decision to increase the mayor’s pay 134 per cent and councillors’ pay 67 per cent. That results in a tidy little increase for the mayor from $30,600 to $70,000 and councillors from $15,300 to $25,000.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops, former school board chair, former editor of The Kamloops Daily News, and a current director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He was awarded the Jack Webster Foundation’s lifetime achievement award in 2011 and was a 2019 Commentator of the Year finalist in the Webster Awards. His editorials are published Monday through Thursdays, and Saturdays on CFJC Today, CFJC Midday and CFJC Evening News. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.