EDITORIAL: Slowing down the gravy train

In 2012, 87 Abbotsford city staff members earned more than $100,000. They formed close to 40 per cent of employees who receive over $75,000.

In 2012, 87 Abbotsford city staff members earned more than $100,000.

They formed close to 40 per cent of the 222 city employees who received more than $75,000 in salary last year.

To the average taxpayer, those are unsettling figures.

On the upside, compared to a huge leap in salary levels from 2010 to 2011, last year’s city hall earning statistics showed a cooling trend. In 2011, 211 staffers made more than $75,000, with 88 of those earning over $100,000.

In 2010, 178 city employees made more than $75,000, of whom only 55 were paid over $100,000.

Also reflecting some fiscal reality were the levels of individual salary increases handed out last year.

On the heels of huge hikes as high as 15 and 20 per cent for some top managers in 2011, last year’s increases saw little above five per cent, and lower.

Now that council and city administration seem to have found the brake handle on the civic gravy train, it needs to be slowed further.

Does this city really need to be paying more than $100,000 annually to 87 staff members, with some of those salaries in the $150,000 to $200,000 range? Given that even the highest paid councillor doesn’t make above $50,000, it appears excessive.

The buzz circling around city hall suggests more internal cost-trimming is imminent. If so, good.

Why, for instance, in these challenged economic times, is there not a civic administrative pay freeze instituted, along with some extremely tough negotiations with unions?

Is there going to be a mass exodus of civic employees if they don’t get raises higher than the private sector every year? Not if other cities follow suit, and start playing fiscal hardball.

While taxpayers are paying for it, they’re not buying it.