Editorial — Proposed council pay increase is outrageous

To boost pay as much as 14 per cent after last year's pay increase backlash shows a complete insensitivity to taxpayers.

Langley Township council will likely get another raise in January — 13 months after enraged citizens protested a 12 per cent raise given to the mayor and 19 per cent for councillors, which took effect last December.

The latest boost is the result of a report by a council-appointed task force, empowered to look into how council should set its wage rates. Outrage over raises that bore little resemblance to what most people receive has been replaced by justification as to why council members need even more.

The one good thing which the task force did point out in its report was that the old system, where council wages here were set by comparing them to those paid to other councils, was inappropriate.

As the report states: “This type of comparison resulted in inappropriate benchmarking of remuneration, as like-sized jurisdictions were all using the same and each other as comparators.”

Precisely. It was a vicious circle. One council would grant itself a raise, and then others would follow suit, claiming “they had to keep up.”

The task force did a good job of pinpointing the problem, but it had great difficulty coming up with a sensible solution. It agreed unanimously that council members are not overpaid, and then decided that the salaries of the mayor and council need to be based on the salaries of federal MPs, MLAs, provincial cabinet ministers, judges, high school principals and the head of the Langley RCMP detachment. Why were these positions chosen?

There is no comparison between the work done by a judge, principal or police chief, and that of a councillor. The only similarity is that all are paid for by taxpayers.

At a time when council should be showing restraint, to show respect for taxpayers and set an example for unionized staff who are in the midst of negotiating a new contract, the majority of Langley Township council seems poised to vote themselves a total compensation increase of from 12 to 14 per cent in January (including a new travel allowance).

This is outrageous, and if it passes, shows a deeply-ingrained sense of entitlement.

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