EDITORIAL: Pay raise well earned

EDITORIAL: Pay raise well earned

Next Vernon council will get a salary increase

Vernon council approved a pay increase for mayor and councillors Monday.

And it’s about time.

The pay increase will see the mayor’s salary go from $72,000 to almost $98,000, and councillors’ pay will rise from $25,000 to $36,000. The pay hikes take effect Nov. 1.

So there is a possibility that Vernon’s current mayor and five councillors may not see any increase to their salaries. That will depend, of course, on the Oct. 20 municipal election. The mayor and council have yet to declare publicly their intentions for the vote. Some may run again, some may not. Some may win their seat back, some may not.

Lest you think council decided for the pay hike on their own.

A three-person committee was struck to review council remuneration, headed up by former Vernon Mayor Rob Sawatzky — a man who knows a thing or two about what goes into civic duty — and two other well-respected gentlemen, VantageOne Credit Union CEO Glenn Benischek and 55+ BC Games president Wee Yee.

The trio was tasked with reviewing the current pay structure and comparing it to similar cities. They recommended the pay increases based on the fact that the mayor’s position is really a full-time job, and while not as busy as the mayor, a councillor’s role is equally important and should be recognized.

For the amount of reading mayor and council have to do, the endless meetings, the committee work, the public appearances, phone calls and e-mails from the public at all hours, they aren’t paid enough. Nobody goes into municipal politics for the cash. They do it because of genuine concern for their community.

If you don’t believe Vernon council deserves a pay hike, put your name forward and run for a seat on council. See what it’s like for yourself. We think you’ll find council is underpaid.