Langley Township council should meet more often
Langley Township council members received a substantial pay raise in December, just after six of them were easily re-elected, despite (or perhaps because of) a huge field of challengers.
New mayor Jack Froese is adjusting to his position, and seems to be keeping things moving along at council meetings. He is accessible, open, friendly and works hard to get along with everybody.
Members of council seem to be getting along well. Even Councillor Kim Richter is seeing many of her motions seconded, something that rarely happened in earlier years. The tension of the past term on council seems to be a thing of the past.
One thing that seems hard to understand, though, is the limited number of council meetings. On Monday, council held its first meeting in almost a month — the last regular meeting was on May 14.
Because of the long interval, there were numerous requests for delegations, a variety of business at both afternoon and evening meetings and a public hearing on several bylaws.
This means that everyone involved, and that includes members of the public, has their time compressed, because council has to work its way through a lengthy and detailed agenda. This is not fair to either councillors, staff or the public.
Council needs to take a close look at its meeting schedule and ensure that there are enough meetings so it is able to consider public business in a more deliberate manner. Given the amount of business that built up over the course of a month, there should have been a council meeting held in late May.
If council members are satisfied with the meeting schedule and the amount of time they have to listen to the public and consider staff recommendations, then there is even more reason to rescind the big pay raises.
Do councillors really deserve almost $43,000 a year for a part-time job, when they meet 15 to 20 times per year? Yes, there are committee meetings and community activities, but these can hardly be considered as excessive extra work.
Council members do attend the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (many of them just went off to Saskatoon) and the Union of B.C. Municipalities conventions, but all their expenses are paid. Many also make additional money by serving on outside boards and committees.
There was considerable public concern over councillors getting an almost 20 per cent raise in December. Council is setting up a committee to look into the way its pay raises are awarded, but citizens aren’t holding their breath that there will be any move to reduce those hefty pay raises.
There should be an equal amount of concern about the minimal number of meetings of Township council. Its calendar calls for one more meeting in June, two in July, none in August and the first meeting of the fall season on Sept. 10.
Does this seem like an excessive workload?