Politicians and money — putting those two things together always creates a buzz.
The issue now is salaries. Nelson council is considering giving elected officials raises. Staff has suggested increasing the mayor’s compensation to about $44,000 per year, up from $35,500 while councillors would see an increase to $17,000, compared to $15,300.
At first look that may seem high, but the staff recommendation also suggests cutbacks to elected officials’ technology allowance and other benefits.
Overall the total compensation paid to the mayor and six councillors would rise from $146,000 per year to $148,000.
Not a huge jump at all.
But you also have to consider expenses when working out the overall financial equation.
Last year, council collectively claimed $37,454 in expenses. Again, that’s not terribly high. It works out to just over $5,000 per council member. However, that number can fluctuate considerably, depending on each year. It may be wise to put a limit on expenses in order to better control costs.
But the main question is still do elected officials deserve a bump in pay?
We think yes.
A pay raise could be beneficial. The more money we pay our elected official, the higher qualified people it may attract. Think about it. A $36,000 pay cheque for a fulltime job does limit the number of people willing to take on the challenge.
People with business or political experience likely won’t consider running for office if it means taking a pay cut.
That’s why many municipal politicians across the country are retirees.
Like businesses, to attract the top people, you have to pay the top dollar, or at least try to get close to the top mark. You get what you pay for.