If you ask most mayors, they'll agree the pay cheque wasn't the driving force behind their decision to enter politics.
But few citizens have any real idea how much their mayor is making. Two towns of similar size on the island of Montreal can see drastic discrepancies in how much their mayors are paid.
By law, mayors are required to make public annually their own salary and that of other municipal councillors.
There are minimum and maximum salary guidelines set by the province, but the exact remuneration is decided by each municipal council.
In Montreal East, where the population is about equal to the West Island's Baie-D'Urfé at around 4,000, Mayor Robert Coutu makes around $80,000. In Baie-D'Urfé, Mayor Maria Tutino earns around $30,000.
"I ran for mayor not knowing there was a salary associated with it," Tutino said. "I have a passion for the town. I want to be involved . . . I see this as a way to give back to the town I love."
Coutu said he believes the salary of the mayor in his municipality should be higher.
"It doesn't make sense to be paid less for what we have to do," he said. "It's a seven day a week job. You never know when you will be called or asked for anything."
Coutu also believes higher salaries would attract higher quality candidates to the position.
In Montreal's boroughs, mayors are paid one salary based on the population they serve and a separate salary for being a member of the council.
With expense allowances, the pay scale ranges from $78,966 for boroughs with fewer than 50,000 residents to $109,343 for a borough the size of Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.
Mayors earn additional money for sitting on municipal committees.
Breakdown of City of Montreal councillors' salaries, including borough mayors:
Source: City of Montreal