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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey boy living with congenital heart disease to speak at local Tedx event

Mason Vander Ploeg will be speaking on saving the oceans

Pink Shirt Day campaign urges Canadians to ‘Lift Each Other Up’

Annual anti-bullying effort returns Wednesday, Feb. 26

Survey suggests 83 per cent of Surreyites ‘favour a referendum’ on policing transition

Survey was conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights on behalf of the National Police Federation

Racist graffiti sparks Cloverdale man to renew calls for City to clean up street

Hate message the latest garbage dumped at the end of 176th Street

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

Landlord ordered to pay $11K after harassing B.C. mom to move days after giving birth

Germaine Valdez was pressured to move just a few days after giving birth by C-section to her child

Heart attacks strike B.C. husband and wife just over one year apart

Courtenay couple share personal stories to bring awareness to heart month

‘Nothing surprises us anymore:’ U.S. border officials find brain in package

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found the brain packed in a glass mason jar in a Canada Post shipment

VIDEO: Giants winning streak now stands at 11

Team erased a 5-2 deficit by scoring every five minutes

Fiery collision involving truck closes Highway 1 at Three Valley Gap

Drivers should expect major delays and congestion; estimated time of re-opening is 2 p.m.

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Eyes on police after Trudeau orders blockades torn down, injunctions enforced

The RCMP in B.C. have sent a letter to the traditional leaders of the Wet’suwet’en Nation

Most Read

l -->