The number of employees earning top dollar has grown at the Regional District of North Okanagan.
There were 34 employees who were paid more than $75,000 in 2013. That has climbed by seven since 2012.
“Certain jobs require a certain skill level and they have to be compensated accordingly,” said Rick Fairbairn, board vice-chairperson.
Fairbairn believes RDNO’s compensation package is low compared to other jurisdictions, and he points to the recent search for a new chief administrative officer.
“Some applicants felt our pay level was not at the level they were at,” he said.
Leading the list in 2013, was former CAO Trafford Hall at $186,479 in salary and expenses.
Others on the list include Leah Mellot, electoral area general manager, with $162,518 in remuneration and expenses, chief financial officer David Sewell with $141,202 in remuneration and expenses and Dale McTaggart, engineering general manager, at $136,583 in salary and expenses.
Total payroll for RDNO was $6.2 million in 2013, and that’s partly because the district assumed responsibility for staff at the Duteau Creek water treatment facility.
The 2013 annual report also provides details on remuneration for elected officials, and $304,848 was paid out to directors, alternate directors and committee members.
Leading the pack was rural Enderby director Jackie Pearase with remuneration of $24,604 and expenses of $7,947.
“My round trip to the regional district is 135 kilometres and it adds up after awhile,” she said.
Of the $7,947, about $5,000 was for mileage, including travel to Kamloops for Fraser Basin Council meetings.
“When I go to Kamloops it takes two hours there and two hours back. There’s good information and feedback at the meetings and the Shuswap watershed is important (for constituents).”
Following Pearase was Fairbairn, rural Lumby director and board vice-chairperson, with a salary of $25,094 and expenses of $5,905.
“There’s a lot of driving involved,” he said, adding that his duties have increased since chairperson Patrick Nicol died earlier this year.
“Since I assumed the duties of the chair, there’s demand on my time to be at the office every day.”
Nicol had remuneration of $27,612 and expenses of $2,363.
Fairbairn admits there has to be a balancing act between conserving tax dollars and ensuring the public’s interests are met.
He also says that compensation has to be fair to ensure people will seek elected office despite the impact on careers and family life.
“There’s been a big problem to attract younger people to the board.”
The full annual report can be found at http://www.rdno.ca/agendas/140618_AGN_BoD_FULL.pdf.