We agree that, by taking the question of council pay out of the realm of "what does the mayor down the road make," Langley Township council has moved forward.
Instead, the recent independent task force has advised looking at other politicians and public service managers: MPs, MLAs, senior RCMP officers, school principals, and so on.
We have some suggestions for a few other examples that could have been tossed in.
What about Riccardo Sestito, president of the Langley Good Times Cruise-In? What about the presidents of service clubs, like Rotary or Lions, from around the Langleys?
After all, they all manage large amounts of money and hefty groups of volunteers.
Their salaries are zero, zip, nil. Like councillors, their efforts are part-time jobs that can seem all consuming at times. Like council, it's a public service.
We like the comparison to principals and senior RCMP officers for pay purposes, but those folks have worked their way up the ranks for years. Councillors and mayors can jump into the job. Why not base their pay on the starting salaries of RCMP, or firefighters, or nurses, or teachers? That would put pay in the range of $60,000, still not bad.
Then again, all those jobs require years of schooling or specialized training.
All that's required to be a mayor or councillor, aside from votes, is literacy and numeracy.
A worker getting the B.C. minimum wage of $10.25 an hour, working full time for 52 weeks a year, would receive $21,320. Is this a fitting salary for a job that requires no specialized skills at all?
We have a simple question: do people who are powerful deserve to be paid more?
When it comes to paying politicians, two ideas have been thrown around in recent years: first, that you have to pay more to get quality people to run; second, that everyone running does it only because they want to serve, and never for the money.
We'd really like to know which one of those is true.