Can someone please explain the definition of transparency to Denver City District 5 Councilmember Amanda Sawyer, because it most assuredly is not giving elected officials automatic pay raises without them voting on it.

Her rationalization for automatic raises without all the public fuss is positively Orwellian.

Everyone seems to make a fuss every time we take more of their hard earned money through taxes to pay ourselves, so we’re just not going to tell them about it or make ourselves accountable for it, she rationalized to The Gazette.

“It is really important for transparency for our residents to know exactly what their elected officials make every four years,” said Sawyer, adding it expands transparency for voters to know salary raises are fixed on the consumer price index, not by the decision of City Council.

She said it’s a conflict of interest for council to vote themselves raises. Yet she doesn’t think it’s a conflict of interest to vote for automatic raises without the regular public accountability.

Here’s the ballot language she’s proposed to remove discretion when handing out more money, which must be approved by Denver voters:

Shall the Charter of the City and County of Denver be amended to remove the requirement that City Council vote on elected official salaries every four years prior to the general election and to remove discretion in setting the salaries, and instead require that the salaries be as stated in ordinance, and any future adjustments shall continue to be the lesser of either the CPI increase for the Denver Metro Area or the cumulative percentage change for Career Service Denver employees?

It’s our understanding that is already how the council determines their pay bumps, to salaries that currently stands at nearly $111,000 annually.

City Council President Jamie Torres makes nearly $124,000, while Mayor Mike Johnston makes almost $206,000.

The automatic pay raises without a vote or regular public scrutiny would also apply to the auditor, and clerk and recorder, who each makes just over $178,000.

Before casting their ballots on that question, Denver voters should ask themselves who in real life gives automatic raises to their employees without an evaluation first of how they are performing the job?

The answer of course, is no one.