Some reasons for well-paid councillors?

If there are any arguments to make on behalf of council's decision to raise its pay - and many in Kamloops believe there is no excuse for what happened in council chambers Tuesday - consider these ones.

(Before we make the arguments, we concede this very space took councillors to task Thursday for the raise, and joined the chorus decrying their largesse. But, as this is a forum for debate, we offer them up now for discussion.)

In legal circles, one of the compelling reasons society pays its guardians of justice well is to ensure they remain free of corrupting influence. The theory is that leaving those who make key decisions feeling like they are financially undervalued opens them to the possibility of being bribed to make decisions in the interests of specific parties.

The same argument can be applied to municipal politicians, who frequently are required to vote on a wide variety of issues.

Councillors feeling the financial pinch - especially those feeling like the public does not value their service sufficiently to reward their work - could be more inclined to take an under-the-table envelope.

Another reason to offer good pay - failure to do so ensures only two segments of society can afford council service - the extremely well-off or those who are just getting by.

Time spent on council activities every week is time a person cannot spend to earn a living.

If a council's remuneration is too low, people who work in middle-income positions will not be able to take the time away from their jobs for this kind of public service. Those who earn low wages or work only part-time can do so, as can those who make much more than average.

Council pay rates that preclude the middle class from public service do not serve a community well. We need a full spectrum of citizens from all walks of life - not just those at the top or bottom of the pay scale.

Are these reasons sufficient to justify the Kamloops raise approved Tuesday? Theoretically, maybe. But the fact they were never offered as justification raises the question about how much they might have driven the push for a raise in the first place.

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