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So we gave ourselves a raise, what’s the big deal?

The following is a transcript from a private Vision Vancouver city councillor chat group, dated Feb. 24, 2016, and commencing at 11:26 p.m., shortly after councillors approved a 12.6-per-cent pay raise for themselves.

RealDeal: Hey, anybody else feeling kind of icky after what we did tonight?

LouieLouie: No. R U serious?

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TimSteve: I'm with Raymond, what's the problem?

RealDeal: I dunno. You know, just the way we moved things around to make it, like, the very last thing on the agenda. Then adjourning until after 8 tonight, so maybe no one would be there.

Meggslomaniac: It was on the agenda. It was on the public record. It's not our fault that no one was watching. That's the media for you – asleep at the switch. They can read the minutes.

Gregorino: Hey, what's up, guys? What's everyone doing here so late? It's, like, 11:30.

LouieLouie: Deal's got some reservations about the way we passed our pay raise tonight.

Gregorino: Are you kidding me? It was awesome – 12.6 per cent! And no one noticed!

AndReim: I noticed.

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Meggslomaniac: Oh … Hey Andrea.

Gregorino: Hi Councillor R.

AndReim: Yo, G.

LouieLouie: Hey, cool for you for voting against it. It made us look like there's an actual difference of opinion. I mean, Affleck and Ball I get – but you? That was a stroke of genius.

AndReim: You guys all remember the other stuff on the agenda, right?

TimSteve: What do you mean?

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AndReim: Well, just before you all voted to give us a pay raise, we talked about urgent actions to combat the growing homelessness crisis.

Gregorino: Yeah, we passed that unanimously! Good on us. Those poor homeless people. We're writing some serious letters to the province and the feds that will go a long way to ending this city's homelessness crisis!

AndReim: Yeah, right. Then there was the motion where we were going to take action to protect taxpayers from their soaring assessments. You know, the people who can't afford to pay their property tax because the market is insane.

TimSteve: You weren't even there for that vote.

Gregorino: For the record, neither was I …

AndReim: Well, it didn't look great. I mean, there we were talking about homeless people and protecting taxpayers and then we vote ourselves a pay raise about six times what any other public sector worker got last year.

Gregorino: Yeah, but even Carr pointed out that councillors' salaries haven't moved in, like, 20 years. And she's not even one of us. We're making up for lost time here.

TimSteve: Yeah, and come on, we all work pretty hard. Eighty grand isn't exactly making us rich, especially not in this town.

RealDeal: What about the lump sum payments? That looks like a lot of money.

LouieLouie: Hey, we had to do that. The charter doesn't let us pay ourselves retroactively.

RealDeal: Hey, I'm not saying we didn't deserve a little bump, but I'm with Andrea here. It looked bad, especially at the end of the night with no one watching.

Meggslomaniac: What, so we should have put out a news release or something?

Gregorino: You mean, like, be transparent? Didn't we amend the FOI rules in the same meeting? That's transparent – kind of.

Kah-Jang: We most certainly did!

Gregorino: Hey, K-dawg – what's up, man?

Kah-Jang: Lovin' the raise, your worship! Especially the lump sum!

Gregorino: Look, guys, it was Carr's motion. She's the one out there defending it right now. Sure, Affleck and DeGenova will complain because that's what they do, okay. In the meantime, we all know that all we did was move our salaries into line with other cities across the country.

AndReim: Yeah, cities like Mississauga and Winnipeg.

Gregorino: Whatevs. The populations are similar. You guys deserve a raise.

AndReim: You did okay as well, your worship.

Gregorino: Look, can everybody just chill? We followed the recommendations of an independent committee, okay. Yes, it was a committee that included Jim Sinclair, but it was still a committee! Our salaries are in line with other full-time salaries in this town. We gave ourselves a little extra to cover extended health care. You guys work hard, I work hard, so let's just shut up about it.

AndReim: Are we seriously not going to say anything about this?

Meggslomaniac: It's on the public record.

Gregorino: I say burn that bridge when we get to it. Crap, look at the time! It's almost midnight. I've got a DJ thing in 10 minutes. G'night all!

Stephen Quinn is the host of On the Coast on CBC Radio One, 690 AM and 88.1 FM in Vancouver.

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