EDITORIAL – Will city councils follow MLAs’ example on freezing their pay?
An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
PAY RAISES FOR POLITICIANS are always controversial. They have trouble denying themselves when it comes to money.
That’s why it’s nice to see that B.C.’s MLAs have rejected a pay increase for themselves in the coming year.
Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone led the move to keep the status quo, introducing a motion in the Legislature to turn down an inflation-based pay raise in 2023.
MLAs’ pay has been set at the rate of inflation since 2000. In normal times, that means modest increases of around two to three percent but these days it’s a hefty seven or eight percent.
That means MLAs would have enjoyed a $10,000 hike next year to about $125,000. In Stone’s view, such an increase would be tone deaf at a time when families are struggling to keep up to higher costs for just about everything.
How refreshing to see both government and Opposition members unite to do the right thing. So often, as inflation rises, there are cries in all sectors for pay raises. Big pay raises, of course, simply add even more to inflation.
So now that MLAs are showing leadership on the issue, will local governments do the same? They’ve certainly been reluctant to hold the line on their own paycheques in the past. Earlier this year, the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board gave itself a raise, and in the past has given itself double-digit increases.
Likewise, Kamloops City council has been sure its members are well paid, gradually increasing the amount they receive as a percentage of the mayor’s income. Even during COVID, councils were reluctant to hold the line. Look around B.C. and you’ll find cases where City councils have sometimes sought raises of 50 to 60 per or more.
We shall see if local governments think differently when it’s their turn to consider their own pay next year. If they really care, they’ll follow the example of the MLAs.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops, former TNRD director and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a recipient of the Jack Webster Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
That Todd Stone fella is a great guy ain.t he, There ain,t a political bone in his old South Kamloops body. Why he never gives the idea of being our honorable Premiere one day a thought. What a guy.Yu gotta luv him eh?
They won’t. Follow suit that is.
I hope the vote is for no raise in pay. There’ll be another few years for the newly elected folks to consider that proposal.
I’m trying to imagine your first day on the job when you were elected as Mayor, Mel. Who would have thought a newspaper guy could become Mayor? Yes, you knew about “the comma and space rule” but that was to be expected.
You didn’t face a lynch mob that was unhappy to see you be elected as Mayor. On that basis alone, it’s hard to justify a raise in pay for that kind of reaction by grown men and women.