The remuneration wheel comes to a halt again.
Another attempt by Columbia Shuswap Regional District electoral area directors to get a pay raise has been defeated.
The rural directors lost out in what was a weighted vote that gave municipal directors the ability to reject a remuneration bylaw at the Nov. 16 board meeting.
At an Oct. 19 committee of the whole meeting, finance manager Jodi Pierce was directed to bring forward the bylaw based on her recommendation from the Jan. 19 board meeting.
While Pierce says she was satisfied with the new bylaw, some directors raised concerns about the timing and the way the issue was discussed in meetings other than at the compensation committee struck earlier in the year.
“It’s funny, when I got back on board (in 2016), I was asked to sit on a compensation committee and I attended one meeting,” said Salmon Arm Coun. Kevin Flynn. “Rush decisions result in bad decisions; all through this discussion we’ve been talking about our own compensation and I think we should not be voting on our own but on whoever is on the board following the next election.”
Flynn pointed out all directors were well-aware of what they would be paid when they were elected and all have received cost-of-living raises since then. As well, he said remuneration CSRD directors receive is not out-of-line with other similar regional districts in the province.
He also took issue with the notion that expenses are in addition to remuneration.
“I have heard that expenses and board should not be included, but it should definitely not be ignored,” he said. “I would suggest something that is 40 per cent of the overall compensation should be discussed.”
Flynn also noted the federal government is looking at how local government directors are being paid, which would bring the issue back to the board table.
“Paying ourselves for nine more months, that’s as bad as paying election expenses,” he said.
Town of Golden director and newly acclaimed vice-chair Caleb Moss said that, for the most part, he agreed with Flynn’s comments, predominantly around the expense issue.
Revelstoke Mayor Mark McKee also agreed with much of Flynn’s reasoning, including reducing remuneration for municipal directors who are also paid as municipal councillors.
“This has been prolonged so long now, making a decision today may mean we have to meet again in several months considering the feds are looking at this,” he said. “It’s unfortunate it gets kicked around again and again. I think it should be made for the next board given we were all told what we were getting into.”
Electoral Area F North Shuswap director Larry Morgan and Area C South Shuswap director Paul Demenok supported the bylaw.
“This has been kicking around for several years,” Demenok said, referring to a 2016 independent review and noting he believes expenses should be kept separate. “The report said electoral areas are under-compensated.”
No indication was given about where the issue of remuneration for regional district directors will go from here.
“Staff has no idea what next steps will look like,” said Pierce. “There was no further resolution, no direction, so staff is at a loss on how to proceed.”