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EDITORIAL: Will pay hikes become an election issue?
Kamloops city council may this week endorse a recommendation that will see salaries of the mayor and council rise significantly as of 2015.
There was no urgent need to have this conversation; in fact, the only reason the council remuneration task force even exists is because Coun. Nancy Bepple opined earlier this year she did not think she was making enough as a part-time civic politician.
We do not recall much, if any, talk about city council pay during the 2011 municipal-election campaign and all elected candidates presumably ran for office while cognizant of the paycheque attached to the job.
Council members had managed to stave off visits to the food bank with annual cost-of-living increases in place since 2002.
Those annual increases were modest, but served the system well in that it tied stipends to the cost of living and removed the discussion of wage hikes from those who would benefit.
When the task force was appointed earlier this year, it was apparent the mayor and councillors would be getting pay raises.
That is simply how it works when the standard method of comparing paycheques with other communities is employed.
It invariably becomes a perpetual rise to the top.
If city council today agrees to a recommendation concerning its pay, the mayor of Kamloops in 2015 will make about $86,000.
The mayor now makes $74,000.
In 2015, city councillors will make $34,000. Today, they are paid $25,000.
When council discussed the issue of pay raises in the spring, the electorate was vocal in its disdain — at least on letters-to-the-editor pages and in online commentary forums.
If council decides to hike its wages, will such a decision become a significant narrative in the November 2014 municipal election?