Friday April 18, 2014

City task force deserves respect

A citizen task force has given its say on remuneration for council members and their opinion deserves our respect.

First of all, the seven people on the task force were the only ones — out of tens of thousands of eligible Kamloops residents — who cared enough to apply for membership in the group.

They were the only ones apparently willing to put in the long hours — a total of 140 — necessary. The group interviewed about 400 people in five sessions, plus many more were surveyed with online and drop-off submissions.

Not only that but Brant Hasanen and the rest of the task force went out to public events, made themselves known and solicited input.

They researched remuneration for councillors in other towns and cities in B.C. We couldn’t have asked more from a group of people whose only motivation was to help their city.

There may be some grumbling on the sidelines, but when precious few citizens are willing to come forward, we have to question the true depth of opposition to council raises.

Actions speak louder than words.

In the end, the volunteers’ report recommends a complicated formula that would see raises of 15 per cent for the mayor and 38 per cent for councillors after the next election.
Those figures were supported in part by the 60 per cent of respondents who said they would be comfortable with salaries being in the middle of the pack compared with other cities in B.C.

Hasanen noted that “council’s appetite is more to be at the bottom,” which also played into the recommendations.

“The compensation for choosing and being elected to serve a community can’t be a disincentive. If the pay is too low, we’re seriously limiting the number of people willing to put their names forward,” he added.

There were some tweaks when it came down to the final formula that council voted for on
Tuesday. But that’s to be expected. After all, it was created by the seven people in all of
Kamloops willing to create one.

We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by publisher Tim Shoults, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.

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