Cariboo Regional District Directors are in line for a pay increase of more than 100 percent !
Board Chair Margo Wagner says discussions on remuneration are never comfortable, but she says they haven’t had a raise beyond cost of living for close to 20 years which has left them at the bottom of the pack.
“And when I say we’re low, we’re really low, like the closest one to us was $17,900 I think, so $5,000 less than where we’re at. We discussed this for 2 1/2 hours and one of the Directors made the suggestion that we go up to $28,900, which kind of took my breathe a way a little bit. It still doesn’t put as at the top, we are still very much in the middle.”
Wagner says they talked about doing it in increments but felt that would still leave them behind.
“There was a little bit of consideration about maybe we should do 25, 25, do it in increments. The problem with that is the other Regional Districts review their remuneration annually, or at least every two years, so if you add another four years onto us trying to catch up, we’re still going to be way behind the 8 ball.”
Wagner says the workload has gone up exponentially over the past 5 years as have the expectations.
She she says another thought around the table, which she says is between a lot of people with white hair, was that if they want to get younger people involved in politics then they are going to have to start paying more.
“People are just like I want to run for politics but I need more of an income if I’m not going to be able to work or I am going to need to take time off work because the time commitment is huge. I am going to say an average Director puts in at least 30 hours a week. As Chair I put in 50 to 60 a week. So if we want to attract younger people, we need to pay them a little bit more so we can attract these people. Right now we’ve got older people who are on pensions and have the time to do it, and maybe don’t need the extra money.”
Wagner says nobody does it for the money, but you need to be remunerated fairly so that it doesn’t cost you money.
As for the municipal members at the CRD table, Wagner says the increase won’t impact them unless their respective Council’s make that decision.
“They can be, but they need to talk to their Councils because the CRD pays them the same as we currently get paid, but then we bill back to the municipalities the amount that we paid them.”
In addition to the base salary, CRD Directors also get paid to go to meetings which Wagner says generally amounts to around another 7 or 8 thousand dollars a year.
Staff will now bring back a report to the April 14th CRD Board meeting for further discussion and likely a final decision.