Regional District of North Okanagan directors insist their salaries reflect a lot of hard work on behalf of constituents.
In 2012, 28 individuals received $313,622 in remuneration and expenses for board and committee activities. In 2011, it was $273,47 (the increase in per meeting pay was 1.7 per cent cost of living).
“They are very legitimate. We have a very dedicated group of directors,” said Patrick Nicol, board chairperson.
Topping the list was rural Lumby director Rick Fairbairn, with $34,431 in remuneration and expenses.
“It seems like a fair chunk of change to swallow, but there are obligations on behalf of the constituents,” said Fairbairn.
Besides being a director, Fairbairn is RDNO vice-chairperson, White Valley parks chairperson and former Electoral Area Advisory Committee chairperson. He also attends Okanagan Basin Water Board.
Most of his $6,914 in expenses relate to travel.
“For every hour I put into a paid meeting, there’s an hour of work unpaid,” Fairbairn said of reading and research that must be done to stay informed.
Next on the list is BX-Silver Star director Mike Macnabb with wages and expenses of $33,349. He is chairperson of the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee.
For other board directors, remuneration and expenses for 2012 were:
Bob Fleming, BX-Swan Lake, $$33,297
Patrick Nicol, Vernon, $32,849
Jackie Pearase, rural Enderby, $29,786
Eugene Foisy, Cherryville, $29,054
Rob Sawatzky, Vernon, $15,565
Howie Cyr, Enderby, $14,743
Doug Dirk, Coldstream, $14,619
Janice Brown, Spallumcheen, $14,498
Kevin Acton, Lumby, $14,443
Shirley Fowler, Armstrong, $14,007
Juliette Cunningham, Vernon, $12,375
“Many represent us on provincial committees or committees elsewhere in the Okanagan,” said Nicol, adding that 2012 was focused on major issues like meat processing rules and water.
“It’s a pretty frugal group. There’s a lot of carpooling and members can put in for stipends (for meetings) but many do not.”
In terms of RDNO staff, 24 employees earned more than $75,000 in 2012. Leading the pack was administrator Trafford Hall with a salary of $156,852 and expenses of $11,362.
A total of $5.6 million was spent on all regional district staff for wages and expenses in 2012.
There was one severance package for $4,300 after a building inspection clerk position was eliminated because of declining building permit revenue.