Remuneration to be discussed by Comox Valley Regional District

Area A director Edwin Grieve plans to step away Tuesday from his position as chair to freely discuss remuneration for elected officials.

Area A director Edwin Grieve plans to step away from his position as chair to freely discuss remuneration for elected officials at Tuesday’s Comox Valley Regional District meeting.

The item was discussed at the last committee of the whole, which he was chairing.

“Proper protocol is you’re not supposed to chime in very much as chair,” he said. “I’m trying to argue for the increase in the electoral area directors. When you add up what the councillors get, in addition to what they get at the RD, it comes to over 30 grand for the Courtenay bunch.”

Pay hikes would not go through until after the next municipal election.

Grieve likens area directors to mayors, more so than councillors, considering the extent of their extra curricular involvement. Population-wise, the three areas are almost the size of Courtenay.

“We are responsible for pretty well four-fifths of the land mass,” Grieve said. “It’s a little bigger job than most people realize.”

Two weeks ago, directors considered a consultant’s recommended pay hikes too steep considering the state of the economy. Maurice Lamb reviewed pay, benefits and expenses of the board chair, municipal reps and area directors. The last review was in 2006.

Municipal directors receive $10,377 and area directors $20,709. Grieve receives $33,161. For the new board starting January 2015, remuneration will be $11,000 for municipal directors and $25,000 for area directors. The board chair’s rate would fall to $29,604.

The board did not like Lamb’s two-step plan with rates at 75 per cent for the first year, bumped for second year to $12,072, $31,128 and $29,604 for municipal, area and board chair respectively.

Grieve planned to argue the case to go with Lamb’s recommendation for the increase for area directors, especially since remuneration won’t be studied for another six years. It’s more about future directors who would not normally be able to afford to throw their hat in, Grieve said, adding he and Courtenay director Manno Theos need to take time off work to attend meetings.

“It’s quite a juggling act,” Grieve said. “I couldn’t imagine myself doing this job when I had two kids.”

Annual pay for the board is roughly .022 per cent of the total $56,538,459 district budget.

“It’s a very, very small portion of the bigger picture and a big commitment,” Grieve said. “I think to entice worthy people to come forward in the future, you have to make it so they’re getting fair compensation.”

Grieve notes when the Island Trust increased its remuneration before the last election, a greater number and variety of qualified candidates stepped forward.

reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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