By Mike Archer. Simon Gibson has taken more money from his friends and neighbours through pay cheques from City Hall than any other Abbotsford city councillor.
Living in (not just at) the public trough for 30 years, Gibson has been collecting a councillor’s pay in addition to his other taxpayer funded source of income – his UFV pay cheque and now he is set to collect a third cheque from his friends and neighbours, this time as MLA for Abbotsford-Mission.
Apparently, not happy with the salary and pension benefits of a member of the BC legislature, Simon intends to go on pretending to be a city councillor in Abbotsford in much the same way he has for the last 30 years.
There is apparently no end to the gall and self-importance of some people who have lived off of the hard work of their friends and neighbours for so long they simply have no idea how people in the real world get by.
People in public life who truly make a difference will tell you what an enormous amount of time it takes just to do all of the reading required to stay on top of the decisions they are required to make with their friends’ and neighbours’ money.
For those who take the job seriously, and it is a depressingly small number, being a city councillor or provincial/federal politician can be an all-consuming seven-day a week job. Those who take the job seriously will tell you that, if money were their objective, their time would be much better spent elsewhere.
The new breed of politician, and they are still a very small number at this stage, is devoting his or her time, and a great deal of it, to fixing the messes left behind by part-time politicians like Simon Gibson. In Abbotsford, cleaning up the mess people like Simon have left behind is a full-time job.
And yet he wants to continue to get paid for devoting even less to his part-time City job while also collecting for his new part-time Victoria job.
For those who watch council in Abbotsford it has always been clear that Simon doesn’t take his job with that kind of seriousness. Whether he is better known for his infectious sense of humour or his dumb questions at the council table is hard to gauge but both traits have combined to make him the comic relief at just about any council meeting.
Anyone who took the time to read the load of materials councillors are given prior to most council meetings wouldn’t ask the questions Simon asks. Anyone familiar with the matters at hand would know better.It’s one of those things that the fawning and somnolent local media think is beyond the purview of their particular brand of sycophantic, small town journalism – telling the truth about our town fathers – but anybody who has been to more than one council meeting in Abbotsford knows that the Bobbsey Twins (Simon Gibson and Dave Loewen) are known for their inability to add anything of much interest or value to any council discussion.
Only Patricia Ross seems less familiar with the issues being discussed than Simon or Dave.
At their best they are funny to watch. At their worst they are an embarrassment to the public process from which they each draw an income.
For Simon to actually be considering accepting three monthly pay cheques from the public trough is so outrageous his fellow councillors will probably actually let him get away with it.
Because to deny him his triple dip would require somebody to have the courage to stand up and say what no one dares to say. And the truths it would reveal about Simon would be revealed about several others around the table as well.
Part-time Simon doesn’t even earn the councillor’s pay cheque he has been collecting for 30 years. He should be content that Mike de Jong got him a job in Victoria which pays better and carries a pension and leave the poor taxpayers of Abbotsford alone.
He has either been doing a part-time job as councillor for the last 30 years, which would be why he thinks he can do both, or he intends to do only a part-time job as councillor when he goes to Victoria.
If the former is the case, he owes his friends and neighbours more than a simple an explanation for the last 30 years of public pay cheques for part-time work. If the latter, he owes his friends and neighbours an explanation of just how he intends to earn his keep doing two part-time political jobs for full-time pay.
He can’t have it both ways.
Will he give up half his councillor’s pay for the sake of the taxpayer?
We would miss the comic relief but frankly, given the damage he and his generation of small town hacks have done to this city, he ought to show some humility and gratitude for what he’s been allowed to get away with all of these years and just move on to his indexed retirement in Victoria.