Kendra Wong Travis Paterson
In a majority vote the Capital Regional District board of directors approved an increase that will double their wages for 2016, though one Victoria councillor says she won’t accept the raise.
As of Jan. 1, 2016, directors will now make $17,000, up from $8,940.
The majority of directors are of the sentiment that the work demand is much greater now than it was a decade ago.
“The pay has not been adjusted in 20 years, if one looks at the rates of inflation at that time, it’s changed dramatically, and in most occupations, there are adjustments for raises,” said Saanich Coun. Vic Derman.
However, Victoria Coun. Marianne Alto was one of six directors to vote against the recommendation (18 voted in favour) and said she won’t accept the raise.
“I don’t think that we should be making decisions that reward ourselves,” Alto said. “When we ran for these positions, everybody sitting at that table on Wednesday ran for a position knowing what the pay would be. But the fact of the matter is, we knew what we were getting into when we put our names forward.”
The CRD board chairperson will be paid an additional stipend of $25,000 a year, while the board vice-chairperson, standing committee chairperson and hospital district chairperson will receive additional stipends of between $2,500 and $5,000. Directors who are involved in more than two standing committees will also receive an additional $5,000.
The increases add an extra $250,000 to the regional budget — money that comes from taxpayers pockets.
Derman has been a CRD director for 10 years and said in that time it’s become a more complex role. He says when he compares the current pay rate to the amount of work he’s done as a CRD director over the last year it ends up being close to minimum wage.
“I serve on the board and on three to four committees at a time, and I need time to prepare for every meeting, plus there are other issues. To consider the people you want and how knowledgable and informed they need to be, it’s a minimal compensation.”
Alto, however, disagreed with the idea of an increased workload.
“I don’t think there’s a greater workload that I expected. It’s my opinion that you don’t go into a job without investigating the workload,” she said.
The CRD encompasses 13 municipalities, three electoral areas and 11 First Nations.