Hands up all of you who have seen a 40 per cent jump in your salary over the last five years. I know, it's a preposterous thought given the economic climate we've endured over that time, but I figured I'd ask anyway.
I thought we might possibly have some professional athletes or technology entrepreneurs living in our midst that have lapped the rate of inflation and could actually qualify for such an exclusive club. It's got to be someone like that because none of us regular folk would have seen such a significant bump, not in these economic times.
That is, of course, unless you happen to be a member of Delta council.
Civic politicians voted themselves salary increases of six per cent (mayor) and eight per cent (councillors) earlier this week, raises that are retroactive to Jan. 1. It was the most recent in a series of pay hikes that date back to the beginning of 2008.
Council members received a 2.5 per cent bump 18 months ago, a 15 per cent hike 18 months before that and a 13 per cent increase 18 months prior to that.
With the power of compounding, that's in the neighbourhood of 40 per cent in less than five years (effectively just four years given the retroactivity of the most recent raise).
This is the point where I mention that being a civic politician is a thankless task, that they work hard, endure a lot of headaches and don't make a fortune. That's all true, but are they putting up with 40 per cent more grief than they did a few years ago?
OK, perhaps that's a bad example, but it's hard to justify anyone receiving that kind of increase, particularly in light of today's economic reality. It certainly hasn't been the case for those who end up paying the tab for council salaries.
Taxpayers are being poked and prodded at every turn, continually being asked to come up with more by all levels and arms of government, even though their remuneration, whether that be wages or investment income, isn't growing at anywhere near the same clip.
We'd all like to vote ourselves a nice big raise to recognize our hard work and help keep up with those ever-increasing monthly bills, but that's not the reality the vast majority of us live in. The real world for the rest of us includes shrinking bottom lines, net-zero mandates and stock markets headed in the wrong direction.
It's been a painful few years for many in these parts, but it's clear that hurt hasn't extended to municipal hall. So much for leadership.