Lake’s salary review the fairest of them all

Good for the Town of Lake Cowichan for passing the question of what the mayor and councillors should be paid on to a third party.

All too often, it is a question of a public body simply voting themselves or their buddies raises.

It sounds as if they are setting a precedent with their process.

The town had a consultant compare their remuneration with other similarly sized jurisdictions in the province, as well as neighbouring municipalities, then make recommendations.

The idea is that someone with no horse in the race will come up with something fair.

What the consultant found was that the mayor should look at a bump in compensation of about $4,000 to $20,000 and councillors should look for a bump of about $400 to $11,000.

These types of numbers are in no way going to break the bank, but do take into account the workload.

No wonder other jurisdictions have been watching the process with interest.

And straight-up salary isn’t all the consultant looked at, either.

Also examined was the question of per diem payment for times when councillors or the mayor must travel to represent the community.

That number was low, the consultant found, so low that he doubted councillors would be able to come in on budget while eating decent food. Once again, a $10 recommended bump wouldn’t drain the municipal coffers.

The overall point is that Lake Cowichan residents can rest assured that their representatives aren’t basking in luxury on their tax dollars.

It is important to pay our politicians things such as salaries (small ones, in the case of municipal officials) and expenses because it’s the only way to encourage participation by people of all walks of life.

We don’t just want people who are rich running our local governments, though such folks could certainly afford to pay their own food budget when out of town.

The more perspectives represented on council the better. But when it comes to money, transparency is key.

Such oversight is important to give the public peace of mind.

Just look at what can happen if it isn’t done. Former Alberta Premier Alison Redford is a case in point.

A review by Alberta’s auditor general has found numerous, expensive (for taxpayers) issues with how she used government flights during her tenure.

From her office booking “false passengers” so that she and her entourage could have the plane to themselves, to flying her daughter here, there and everywhere on the government’s dime, she seems to have behaved more like an entitled rock star than a public servant.