City councillors hire consultant-scapegoat to give them permission for a raise

City councillors hire consultant-scapegoat to give them permission for a raise

Gimme some money (Image: Ed Zepplin, from the Toronto Life Flickr pool) 

The Toronto city council has decided that it’s time to boost its salaries. Councillors haven’t had a raise in four years, and $120,000 (their current pay in salary and benefits) doesn’t go as far as it used to. Toronto’s representatives are now paid less than Mississauga’s. So the city council, which can raise its own salaries but doesn’t like to do it without making sad faces first, is doing the only reasonable thing: spend $50,000 for a poll that more or less gives them permission to bump up their wages. Hey, you gotta spend money to make money.

Reports the Star:

Veteran councillor Howard Moscoe said he’s tired of the pattern—a consultant says councillors are underpaid and deserve a raise, and then the politicians “slash their wrists in public” arguing over the politically treacherous issue.

Moscoe has a point: everyone knows where this is going to end, with city councillors having slightly fatter wallets. The only question is how much fatter, and in this case, how much extra it’s going to cost to get a poll done. All of the mayoral candidates swear up and down they’ll refuse the raise if they take the big chair and are competing to show how populist they can be, with Rocco Rossi and Rob Ford going as far as saying they’d roll back wages for council if they win.

Well, just as soon as the poll results come in.

Consultant asks councillors: Should you make more or less money? [Toronto Star]
• City to spend $50,000 on salary consultation [National Post]
• City looks at hiking councillors’ pay [Toronto Sun]