At its regular May 14 meeting, Blackfalds Town council voted to refer back to administration and if necessary the committee that recommended revisions to its remuneration policy after deciding the recommended policy was unfair and could possibly be taken advantage of. It was the section of the policy dealing with committee meeting compensation that council took most issue with.
The recommended policy would have councillors being paid $60 for each two-hour meeting they attended.
Councillor Richard Poole pointed out many of the committees council members attend are shorter than two hours and such compensation would be unfair to councillors whose committees have shorter meetings.
He added the compensation was unfair to members who volunteer their time and are not compensated at all. Furthermore, Poole and other councillors decided the recommended system could be taken advantage of if a councilor tried to attend as many meetings as possible in order to receive more pay.
Council decided they were uncomfortable deciding what their own paycheck would be and why shouldn’t they be, when they are using taxpayers’ dollars to do it? Fair play to them for deciding to leave the bulk of the decision making process to an impartial, third party. What the council decided was a stark contrast from the Alberta legislature, whose members voted to give themselves an 8% pay raise late last year.
These actions by the province and the contrary actions by Town council begs the question; why do we allow members of government to set their own wages? If you think about it, we as taxpayers are the employers of the government. We give the government money (through taxes) to get jobs done and some of that money also goes to paying those members some kind of compensation.
However, the government is also the body that gets to decide what is done with that money, including how much of it goes to paying them.
That is like going to your boss, telling her how much money she is going to pay you and then telling her there is nothing she can do about it.
Council seems to have come up with a solution by having a committee make the recommendations for a remuneration policy.
Perhaps committees like this could be set up for every level of government and have the power to approve these policies as well.