Municipal staff salaries and benefits excessive

Employee pay and benefits are the main drivers of tax increases.

Municipal staff salaries and benefits excessive

Municipal staff salaries and benefits excessive

Once again the mayor of North Cowichan and also chair of the CVRD is an apologist and advocate for the unwarranted, excessive salaries and benefits paid to the bureaucrats in both these local governments.

Mayor Lefebure has been in his position for many years and has always supported more hiring and high paid staff and putting them in the top five per cent of Canadian earners. He never talks about protecting taxpayers on fixed incomes and he raises local taxes every year to pay these huge salaries. Employee pay and benefits are the main drivers of tax increases.

He has given staff raises every year in excess of inflation and growth and spouts the nonsense that there is competition for these jobs so taxpayers have to pay very high wages. When local governments post jobs there are usually lots of applicants interested in these gravy train positions.

Pay for people who are supposed to work for taxpayers must be tied to those who have to pay for it. That means not using some manipulated comparisons with other governments who also overpay.

These local salaries are typically up to 30 per cent higher than the same jobs in federal and provincial governments and much higher than the private sector where accountabilities are meaningful and rigorous.

These jobs can be important but they hardly justify these ridiculous levels of compensation (up to $1,000 per actual working day for the bosses!). When you add in very generous benefits that most Canadians can only dream of and great working conditions, these pay packages are way out of line with the community.

Because these organizations are monopolies they face no competition pressures and local politicians rarely, if ever, set any real performance standards for these high paying jobs.

Most of the decisions for these pay levels and annual increases are proposed by the staff themselves who have a clear conflict of interest. It’s a major governance failure in our local governments and needs fixing. It’s always done in secret and ignores the state of the local economy. Taxpayers have to wait up to two years to really see what is going on with pay raises because they are hidden by the bureaucrats in their budgets. It really is corruption.

Thankfully the B.C. government forces disclosure of all public salaries over $75,000 and the huge settlements for those who get the pink slip. North Cowichan keeps the actual settlement secret because the public who pays for this nonsense would go ballistic if it were disclosed.

In the Cowichan Valley more than $1 million of taxpayers’ money has been shovelled out the door to terminated municipal staff in the past five years. Where’s the accountability for this scandal?

W.E. (Bill) Dumont

Cobble Hill