Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Discuss: Determining Political Pay

Nation, unless you've been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you've noticed the uproar that accompanied the recent Order-In-Council that raised the salary of the Premier and his cabinet, as well as the leaders of the opposition parties and the Speaker.

Never mind that the pay is likely still too low for the work involved. Never mind that it's still low, by comparison to similar positions. The optics - politicians giving themselves raises, behind closed doors - are simply BRUTAL.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation has suggested selecting a group of random Albertans to determine pay - just about the worst idea ever, in practice (if you chose 20 random Albertans, at least 12 of them likely didn't bother to vote - why should they have a say on how much the politicians get paid?).

My question to you: What method should we use to determine pay raises for our political leaders? Indexed against the average of several private sectors? Linked to inflation? Plebiscite on the provincial ballot? Something else entirely?



Anonymous said...

Scott Hennig is a moron. He actually said - offhand comment or not - that his organization would "probably not be opposed" to elected officials getting a bonus if they cut taxes.

Ok. So this year, we cut taxes to zero because we have a windfall surplus. All MLAs cash in big-time, then retire, leaving the next crop to raise taxes to fix the mess left behind. Real forward thinking, Scott.

This is the same guy that suggests the job of MLAs and ministers needn't be full-time. If there is any job that needn't be full-time, it would be the provincial spokesperson for the CTF. What is there to do but read the newspaper, look for incidences of government spending, then call the media to say they don't support it, and that instead expenditures should be reduced and taxes cut?

A job like that, and you could be home before morning coffee.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the right method, I agree that the optics of the current one are poor. But politicans getting raises goes over like a lead balloon with some members of the public no matter how they are derived.

I work in the private sector, and see the work of compensation consultants in determining executive compensation all the time. The board/management hires a consultant, who looks at what management of similarly sized companies make, and determines an average. As all management teams believe they are 'above average', they ask for - and receive - some number higher than the average. This process plays out over all companies for a period of years, leading the "average" to increase.

No compensation consultant who wishes to be hired in the future will ever tell management they are paid too much. At least that is how it plays out in the private sector.

Despite all the moaning over the compensation increase for our elected officials, at least we can see the compensation for these individuals. And we have the opportunity to include this knowledge when these people "re-interview" for the job every four years or so. We have nowhere near this level of transparency for non-elected bureaucrats (think Health Region CEOs) or heads of quasi-governmental organizations who are not required to seek a public mandate every few years. And I as a shareholder of a public company, have exactly nada input into the compensation of the CEO or any other employee.

Brian Dell said...

"why should [ordinary Albertans] have a say on how much the politicians get paid?"

For the same reason they have a right to vote!