Maxed Out 

Process, process, process

Before I actually wade into this week’s column, whatever it might be about, I just wanted to pass on a personal note to Dave Brownlie and Doug Forseth, people I’m proud to collectively call "Boss". Guys, assuming I’m going to be working for you again this season – an assumption I never take for granted – I just wanted to let you know I’ve decided to give myself a raise. Effective when I return, my pay is going up 30 per cent, not whatever trifling amount you’ve decided the cost of living increase is for a guy like me who has gone as far in the organization as he can. I think in light of recent events on the municipal front, you’ll both agree 30 per cent seems modest. What can I say; I’m a modest guy. And I thank you in advance.

Oh, if only it were so easy. Of course, it is if you’re deciding your own remuneration. Which none of us are… except for the people we so gleefully elected to run Tiny Town last November.

Going boldly where no council has gone before, our current council – let’s call it the Bold, Brash Council, BBC if you prefer – decided they needed a 53 per cent raise in their honorarium, er salary. They also decided the mayor, who already made more than councillors did by a long shot, only deserved a modest 46 per cent pay hike. So they voted for it. All in favour, aye, all opposed… all opposed… going once, going twice. Wow, what a surprise, nobody opposed. Passed.

Those of you who pay attention to current affairs may have said to yourself, last week when this was reported in Pique, "Hey, didn’t council just get a raise?" Well yes, yes they did. Sort of. Last fall, during the heat of municipal elections, a remuneration committee recommended councillors get a $1,000 increase and the mayor not get any increase. I’m not sure what they had against the mayor but maybe they were miffed at Aloha O’Reilly’s premature evacuation. For the math-challenged, an extra grand would have only been a 5 per cent increase.

The council of the day – the Planning for the Future Council – recommended the incoming council do a review of their remuneration and do whatever the review suggested, nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

The BBC, no fools they, took the hint. Instead of striking a committee of concerned – and dare I say, unpaid – citizens to review the review and make recommendations on remuneration, they took matters into their own hands. Literally.

At this point, it would probably be worthwhile to remind ourselves that the issue of council pay has, in the past, generally been reviewed by a panel of independent, appointed citizens. Not so this time around. The BBC formed a new Finance and Audit Committee. It was made up of councillors Nancy, Eckhard and Bob, two muni staff members and, let’s see, nobody else. Well now, isn’t that cozy.

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