Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Are Councillors riding the gravy train?

The City of Langley released its 2011 financial remuneration report for Council yesterday. One of the things that I find interesting is that people have this perception that councillors are riding the gravy train and are making obscene amounts of money. In the City of Langley, the mayor makes $83,291 in wages, benefits, and expenses while councillors make between $30,018 and $39,646. When you look at the amount of money that these people could earn in the private sector and the time commitment required to be a good councillor, I can assure you that councillors are not in politics for the money. If you serve on other regional government bodies (like Metro Vancouver) you can make more money, but I’d hardly call it a gravy train. One of the worried I have is that if you don’t pay elected officials enough money, they might be more subject to corruption. Also, if someone is looking at running for council because they want to make their community better, they might be scared away because of the low pay and long hours. In the City of Langley, Council makes a total of $290,882 which is 0.8% of the City total operating expenses in 2011.

Next time you read a letter in the newspaper that says local government politicians should cut their salaries, just remember that you could make more money working at a Starbucks.

PS: In 2010, the Township of Langley mayor made $102,708 while councillors made between $36,274 and $51,198 in wages, benefits, and expenses.

1 comment:

Jack Hope said...

I have often thought that the 'gravy train' (and can we please retire this awful term, given the Rob Ford debacle) and push to lower politicians salaries is done with the exact intention of: a. further making politics unattractive to the most talented and b. ensuring that those who are elected are more easily manipulated and dependent upon those whom finance their campaigns.

Certainly the last thing that a significant segment of the well heeled want is a political establishment made up of independent and capable individuals. And it is so easy to convince people that they're being ripped off by their government, no matter how efficient that government might actually be in reality.