Re: Delta council members vote themselves raise, May 16
The recent news that Delta council has awarded its members another raise is interesting. It is most compelling because it seemed to come from almost nowhere - no previous public debate or discussion that I was aware of - only, apparently, discussions "in camera."
I have difficulty with the concept of governments being elected and then, subsequently, voting to enrich their pay packages, stipends, etc.
A more fitting approach to this kind of initiative would be for our newly elected representatives to accept the compensation arrangements that are in place when they assume office - for the duration of their elected terms. Otherwise, they should campaign explicitly and loudly on platforms that clearly indicate their intentions to propose changes like seem to have happened here. That didn't happen in the recent election campaign.
In the absence of those kinds of campaign statements and differently than is the current instance, if compensation packages are deemed inadequate, governments, councils, etc. could and can legislate for subsequent terms of office. The current practice that we are once again witnessing is inappropriate.
A question as well: When Delta council cites comparisons with stipends that councillors and mayors receive in other municipalities, as justification for awarding raises, is council then suggesting these kinds of comparative processes should apply in other milieus, too, where sensitive discussions of wages and benefits are the topic of the day?
Teachers and B.C. public employees come to mind at the moment.
And another question: The figures that are cited to describe current and apparently new and revised stipends that are, and are going to be, paid to our municipal representatives are somewhat misleading from an absolute dollar perspective, are they not? Is it not the case that councillors and the mayor receive a generous portion of their stipends "tax free," thus inflating the real dollar amounts they receive?
None of these comments are to suggest the mayor and councillors do not deserve the compensation they are afforded. The process that determines that compensation is inappropriate, however, and relying on staff recommendations does not mitigate the evident difficulties.
Change is required. Arm's length would be good.