Directors look to raise pay for next Regional District of Nanaimo board

If the motion is passed, an electoral area director will have his/her pay increased to $24,190 from $18,440

Regional district directors voted for a raise in remuneration last week.

The decision comes after recommendations from the RDN’s remuneration committee were sent back to staff for revision by board members.

After the Nov. 15 elections, directors will receive $13,205, up from $11,855, electoral area directors will receive $24,190, up from $18,440, and the chair will receive $19,500, up from $14,395. Remuneration refers to the annual salary of elected officials, and the decision to up their pay will be ratified at the next regular RDN meeting slated for Sept. 30.

However, not all directors agreed increasing their salary was a good idea.

“I can’t support an increase,” said chair Joe Stanhope, who represents French Creek. “We (the RDN) have always been conservative in trying to keep taxes within the cost of living.”

Stanhope said he got involved in politics “to make my community better” not to make money.

On the other hand, director Alec McPherson who represents Cedar, said it’s time to close the gap.  McPherson said directors in the RDN make approximately 70 per cent of the salary of other directors in regional districts of comparable size.

“Having been in this for three years and seeing what the commitment is, it’s really time to start moving this gap somewhat closer,” he said.

Director Bill Veenhof, who represents Deep Bay/Bowser, agreed with McPherson.

“A decent salary is important if we want young people at this board,” said Veenhof. “Right now the only people who can consider sitting here at this table are people who have a certain level of independent means and that makes us the very people who are least sensitive to tax increases.”

Veenhof said it would be “useful” to have a more diverse demographic at the RDN board to better represent different socio-economic backgrounds.