A radical solution to the city councillor pay issue

There is a faction amongst the electorate who seem averse to any kind of public money being used to pay anybody

Alistair Taylor

City counsellor and mayoral pay is often a  lightning rod issue that takes a lot of shots from members of the public.

There is a faction amongst the electorate who seem averse to any kind of public money being used to pay anybody, let alone politicians.

There’s always a “they’ve got their grubby hands in the till” tone to complaints about municipal officials paying themselves, never mind raising their pay. Our website is often a forum for making these kinds of comments.

I’ve found that virtually all of our municipal politicians are upstanding people who want nothing but the best for their community, regardless of what their political point of view is. That’s not a sentiment that people like to hear about politicians. Deal with it.

But if our elected officials are being paid too much, then how much is enough?  How about I float the idea that any amount is too much?

I can just hear the thoughts about that: “Yeah!”… “Damn straight”… “You got it”… “It’s about time that doofus got it right.”

So, if you believe that we’re paying local politicians too much – and don’t get me started on those provincial and federal pork barrellers! – then maybe we shouldn’t be paying them anything at all.

That’s right. Maybe an elected city politician should be a volunteer? They tout the value of volunteerism often enough. Maybe they should live it.

Is our mayor willing to do his “job” for nothing? Are our councillors altruistic enough to donate their time?

And believe me, it’s a lot of time to donate.

Your civic politicians attend hours and hours of meeting time every week. Not only city council meetings but committee meetings. And then there’s ribbon cuttings and attending trail clean ups and countless other events as the city’s representative. Oh, and keep in mind the amount of research you have to do to prepare for your meetings.

Are voters willing to demand that our municipal politicians do all that for the benefit of the community and not their pocket book? Better yet, would YOU be willing to do all that for the betterment of your community? Free?

As I understand it, councillors and mayors aren’t paid for a job so much as they receive an honorarium for their time. If they were paid by the hour or at an equivalent level in the corporate world, how much do you think our elected officials would get paid?

So, if you accept that they’re not getting paid for the work they do, then the position is an honor that they should do for the benefit of the city, particularly its finances.

Would we get anybody running for council? Would we only get rich people? How about only retired rich people?

Are any politicians willing to put their money where their…Oops, scratch that. Do you think mayors and city councillors should volunteer their time and receive no pay at all?