By MEL ROTHENBURGER
Director, Electoral Area P, TNRD
At the TNRD board meeting of March 28, 2019, the TNRD board of directors voted to give themselves pay increases of about 11 per cent for municipal directors and up to 18.47 per cent for rural directors.
As I reported in a post after the meeting, I moved an amendment that would have instead limited the raises to the amount of the 2018 Consumer Price Index of 2.7 per cent. My amendment was defeated.
The rationale for the larger increases was that other regional district boards have approved such increases due to the removal of a federal income tax break on a third of their stipends.
TNRD directors Arjun Singh, Merlin Blackwell, Dale Bass, Al Raine, Kathy Sinclair and I opposed the increases but the other 20 directors voted in favour of them.
David Laird, the director for Nicola Valley North, said directors who oppose pay increases get positive media coverage and felt directors who oppose increases should decline the increase.
At today’s (Thursday, April 18, 2019) meeting, I made the following statement, committing to donate the amount of my increase over and above the 2018 CPI to charities and other worthy causes. The amount is just over $3,200 per year.
POINT OF PRIVILEGE
TNRD Board Meeting, Thursday, April 18, 2019
Section 20.5, Procedure Bylaw – A matter of privilege (a matter dealing with the rights or interests of the Board as a whole or of a Member personally) may be raised at any time and will be dealt with forthwith before resumption of business.
At our last board meeting, during debate on a staff recommendation regarding directors’ stipends, Director Laird (Director David Laird, Nicola Valley North), on three occasions, made comments with regard to the reasons directors might be opposed to the suggested increase.
As I made the motion to limit the increase to the Consumer Price Index for 2018 I feel his comments were directed especially at me, although perhaps to others as well. This is the basis of my Point of Privilege.
Director Laird expressed the opinion that directors who oppose pay increases receive positive media intention. I’m optimistic that his intention was not to imply that they were grandstanding. He also asked whether directors doing so would decline the larger proposed pay increase.
In my 10 years on this board I’ve never previously heard a director challenge the motives of other directors for voting for or against a motion and I trust this wasn’t a first.
I remind Director Laid that the intention of those directors who opposed the increase was to defeat it, not to hope it was approved. Last year, the previous board turned down a similar opportunity to give itself a substantial raise and I didn’t hear one single director say he or she wished it had been approved.
However, his question deserves an answer, so here’s mine. I’m of the belief that the work of every director is as worthy as that done by every other director. Establishing different levels of compensation for individual directors within the Remuneration Bylaw based on how they vote on an issue would be a strange and inappropriate precedent.
Additionally, the bylaw would have to be amended to establish a different rate of pay for an electoral area, not the representative of that area by name, which would cause obvious complications as time goes on.
Therefore, I don’t intend to ask for an amendment to our Remuneration Bylaw based on the board’s decision. I will, instead, donate the amount of the increase I receive over and above the CPI amount to charities and other worthy causes.
This isn’t grandstanding, and this isn’t in reaction to Director Laird’s comments. I did the same thing on one other occasion when I thought an increase in stipends was too high.
I most respectfully emphasize I’m not suggesting Director Laird or any other director do the same thing. This is just me. We each have our own circumstances to consider.
I do hope, however, that Director Laid will understand in future that all directors around this table vote according to their conscience and their best information, not unstated motives.
Thank you. Mr. Chair.