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ROTHENBURGER – When municipal politicians think they’re worth too much

 

Revelstoke council votes on its pay raise. (Image: City of Revelstoke)

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.

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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 mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca.

About Mel Rothenburger (7727 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

2 Comments on ROTHENBURGER – When municipal politicians think they’re worth too much

  1. What the councilors and mayor did in Revelstoke is show a complete lack of savvy…asking for such large pay raise while in the midst of CUPE contract re-negotiation? That is in itself a good enough reason to can them all, in my opinion. Here in Kamloops we should reduce the number to five or six max and return to three-years mandates. The vetting process should be more stringent too.

  2. Beverley Campbell // January 25, 2020 at 8:42 AM // Reply

    Pay should be a fixed rate set in advance and adhered to, just as the OAP rates are set with an incremental raise such as the Seniors receive, what Revelstoke has done should cause a mass protest as now every council in every town will be able to rise to that level. Councillors and Mayors should remember that they aspire to the role as their Civic duty and if the money is attracting them, it should not and it must not.

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