A city councillor in St-Lambert is taking the admittedly controversial position of voting to give himself and his colleagues a steep pay raise.
Martin Smith argues that wages have been more or less frozen for over 20 years, and that councillors in other towns across the province make more than twice what he and his colleagues do.
Smith says he didn't get into politics for the money, but he was shocked when he discovered just how little he was getting paid compared with councillors in neighboring towns of similar size.
As a St-Lambert councillor, he makes about $14,000 a year. In St-Constant, for instance, the basic remuneration for a councillor is more than $22,000.
He says he can put in anywhere from 20 to 40 hours a week working on the town's affairs.
The council voted for a pay freeze back in 1993 and gave itself a seven per cent raise in 2010.
He admits his position is making him uncomfortable.
"People accuse me of being hypocritical because I didn't talk about this during the municipal election campaign," he said. "People accuse me of being there for the money or being money-motivated, but it's not the case."
He says part of the problem is a lack of provincial legislation on remunaration.
"It doesn't make sense that council members have to vote on their own remuneration," he says. "It should be decreed by law."
The council will vote on the measure at the end of the month.
Smith says about half the council supports his motion, but he's worried that St-Lambert mayor Alain Dépatie will veto the motion.