Civil service

Hands up everyone whose salaries have increased 50 per cent in the past six years. Or, for that matter, all who've enjoyed a substantial raise since 2008.

We're guessing there aren't too many regular folk in that category. The same can't be said, it seems, for the top managers at our local governments.

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It's a topic that senior civil servants aren't keen to dwell on, but we think the public should know what they're paying.

So does the province, which is why local governments must make those salaries public each year.

What those figures show is that pay for upper-run civil servants is rising much faster than for everyone else.

We highlight the salaries of local bureaucrats because those are the people whose pay is directly bankrolled by North Shore taxpayers, but they are not alone, nor are they an anomaly.

Top managers at Metro Vancouver, TransLink and the City of Vancouver all top the $300,000 mark. Many local government managers make more than deputy provincial ministers, whose responsibilities are broader.

Governments often give the excuse that to attract and keep talent, they have to swell pay in synch with the private sector. This reasoning is spurious. Municipalities aren't private companies; they are limited by what taxpayers can sustain, and they can certainly attract strong leaders with reasonable six-figure paycheques.

If some bureaucrats want to go to the private sector, let them.

In lean times, our municipal governments should practice the austerity they preach.

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