EDITORIAL: Lowered expectations

White Rock politicians should lead the charge and vote to take a lower wage.

It’s an ill-thought-out argument, devoid of political astuteness.

Yet it’s raised nearly every time our elected representatives defend plans to rethink their own wages – always up, never down.

You know the line: we need sufficient remuneration to attract the right sort of candidates.

We hear it on occasion from our MPs (base salary $160,200), our MLAs (base salary $101,859) and our part-time civic officials (in White Rock, councillors get $26,580, the mayor $59,810).

In White Rock last week, council members – meeting as the city’s governance and legislation committee – rejected staff advice that calculated raises by comparing White Rock to three neighbouring small cities: Pitt Meadows, Port Moody and the City of Langley. (Population-wise, only Pitt Meadows is smaller, yet its 86.5-sq.-km area dwarfs White Rock’s 5.13 sq. km; wage-wise, only Langley pays more.)

Instead, politicians supported averaging the figures, only with much-larger Port Coquitlam, North Vancouver and West Vancouver added to the mix. Doing that would raise councillors’ salaries to $29,703 and the mayor’s to $79,143.

During discussions, elected officials did one thing right. At the urging of Mayor Wayne Baldwin, they agreed to delay any increase until after next year’s civic election. This at least gave a glimmer of thinking beyond their own pocketbooks.

Regardless, there’s something inherently flawed about basing council’s pay on neighbouring cities. Such logic creates an endless loop of wage bumps. (No doubt Pitt Meadows and Port Moody will eye White Rock in their next remuneration go-rounds.)

As for the often-heard argument that lower wages limit the number of qualified candidates for an admittedly difficult job, one should probably say that softly in the presence of the nine who ran – some on platforms of fiscal responsibility – in last fall’s civic byelection. Indeed, if one wants to see the attributes of those whom the current wages attract, one need only look around council chambers. Not a bad lot… on most matters.

Regardless, we call on White Rock politicians – none of whom we recall raising this issue prior to their own elections – to set the bar higher. Yes, change your wages. Lower them, if only by a bit. Make this tiny city’s elected officials the lowest-paid in the region, and lead by example.

Anything less leaves us wanting more.

Just Posted

Accused Surrey transit cop shooter’s bail hearing set for April

Daon Gordon Glasgow, 35, is accused of shooting Transit Police Constable Josh Harms, 27

House fire in South Surrey

Emergency crews seen racing towards 160 Street and 28 Avenue

White Rock’s Cliff Annable ‘lived a life that mattered’

Hundreds gather to remember affable 71-year-old

FOCUS: New arena, more ice in Surrey – but will it be enough for everyone?

With both rinks to close at North Surrey rec, the result is a net gain of one ice sheet this fall

Pair of men charged in three robberies in Surrey, Delta

Charged are Karmal Singh Grewal, 26, of Vancouver and Gursimran Sahota, 21, of Surrey

VIDEO: RCMP ask kids to help name soon-to-be police dogs

13 German shepherd puppies will be born this year

Horvat scores 16 seconds into OT as Canucks beat Blackhawks 3-2

Pettersson sets rookie scoring record for Vancouver

No injuries, pollution in Vancouver Harbour ship collision: Transport Canada

Transportation Safety Board says it has deployed a team of investigators look into the incident

Budget 2019: Five things to watch for in the Liberals’ final fiscal blueprint

Finance Minister Bill Morneau will release the Trudeau government’s final budget on Tuesday

New concussion guidelines launched for Canada’s Olympians, Paralympians

The guidelines will be in effect at this summer’s Pan American, Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru

Alphonso Davies doubtful for Canada game against French Guiana in Vancouver

Canada will be without injured captain Scott Arfield and veteran Will Johnson

NDP’s Jagmeet Singh steps into the House of Commons, making history

Burnaby South MP becomes first visible minority to lead a federal party in the House of Commons

Chilliwack grad says modest dress codes don’t protect girls from assault

Sardis alumni was ‘catcalled, harassed, and groped by my male classmates’ despite modest clothing

Most Read

l -->