SRD clarifies municipal directors’ compensation

With two years to go until all directors’ financial compensation is reviewed, the Strathcona Regional District (SRD) has come up with a way to clarify municipal directors’ compensation for the next couple of years.

During the March 24 SRD board meeting, corporate services manager Tom Yates explained that at its last meeting, the board directed that staff prepare an amendment bylaw to clarify the calculation of rates for municipal indemnity for 2016 and 2017, which is what this bylaw brought before the board attempts to do.

“The method by which it’s proposing to do it is to actually establish a new baseline in 2015,” he told directors. “That essentially would clarify that as of 2015, there is a new benchmark from which all calculations moving forward would be made.”

The baseline quoted for 2015 reflects the rate that was paid in the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD).

“The bylaw confirms the annual indemnity rate paid to municipal directors in 2015 as the new baseline for  computing rates into the future in the same manner as currently authorized for electoral area directors,” CAO Dave Leitch wrote in his report to the board. “On this basis, the annual indemnity rate will rise or fall to reflect adjustments in the consumer price index (CPI) at the beginning of each year.”

This bylaw amends the Director Compensation Bylaw from 2013, which fixed the 2015 rate for municipal directors at $12,072 to reflect the amount paid to municipal directors in the CVRD.

“Although it is staff’s belief that the 2015 rate was intended as a new baseline for calculating future rates, the bylaw is not clear on this point,” wrote Leitch. “The application of a CPI-based formula would be consistent with the approach used for calculating the rates for electoral area directors and the chair.”

The bylaw shows the annual indemnity for municipal directors in 2016 would increase 1.1 per cent over the 2015 rate to $12,205. The rate for 2017 is not known, as the CPI adjustment is unknown.

After some discussion about deferring the bylaw until staff provided a report with rates from other comparable regional districts — work board chair John MacDonald and Electoral Area C director Jim Abram said has already been done — directors gave the bylaw three readings and adopted it.

Rates for all directors will be reviewed in 2018.