The Strathcona Regional District approved a bylaw that allows electoral area directors to claim remuneration twice for the same public hearing in a vote that included only electoral area directors.
The amendment to the compensation bylaw had been discussed at a board and commission level in previous months, and was brought forth Nov. 18 for final adoption. It allows electoral area directors who attend rezoning and OCP amendment meetings to consider both components as separate meetings, and to get paid for each of them, even when the meeting takes place in one location and time. Directors will be able to claim two installments of their meeting compensation, which before the amendment was approved was $160 per meeting, or $256 per meetings when directors are also acting as chair. The change would allow the directors to claim $320, or $512 for chair duties. The amendment was initially introduced by Electoral Area A director Gerald Whalley.
Electoral Area B director Noba Anderson spoke out during the Nov. 18 board meeting against the amendment, reiterating her previous comments about it seeming like a “pay grab.”
“We’ve had previous discussion at the board about this, and at EASC (Electoral Area Services Committee), and I just want to register on the record verbally that this does not have my support and I really implore my other rural area directors to change their tunes on this one. One of our colleagues said that this isn’t like double dipping. It is double dipping. We’ve never done this before, getting paid for two public hearings that happen simultaneously. There is no more meetings, there’s no more work, there’s no more time, it just does not seem right,” she said.
Since the electoral area director remuneration bylaw only applies to those directors, they are the only ones allowed to vote on it. However, all directors get a vote in receiving reports. Campbell River director Andy Adams voted against receipt of the report. He had also spoken against the item in past meetings, calling it “nothing more than double dipping.”
Whalley said that he appreciates the directors’ comments, adding that “I’m sure that [director Anderson] realizes that she has no obligation to receive any extra remuneration and is free to not receive it as she wishes, and I respect her choice in that and I’m sure she respects our choice to the contrary.”
The three readings and adoption of the bylaw amendment were all passed by yes votes from the electoral area directors Brenda Leigh, Whalley and Jim Abram. Anderson voted against all three readings and the adoption of the amendment.