Mixed emotions arise with respect to the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board’s shocking approval last week of a 1.7 per cent cost-of-living increase for itself.
Shocking because, when it comes to its own financial comforts, the TNRD board of directors has previously worked diligently to convince itself it requires a high degree of compensation and creature comforts in order to serve the people of Kamloops and region in the manner to which they (the politicians) have become accustomed.
Indeed, last year they were so anxious to make certain they were well equipped for the challenges ahead that they voted themselves a 40-per-cent increase.
The 1.7 per cent approved for the current year is so miserly that our brains are agog, as if smart meters had been scrambling our cognitive abilities.
But no, there it is, 1.7 per cent. We’re speechless, almost.
And then, you have director John Sternig voting against it. One might have thought it was because it was too paltry. But no, he objected to it because he felt there should be no increase at all (he also voted against last year’s record bump).
One can understand why Sternig is not everyone’s cup of tea with the rest of the board. Maybe he needs counselling, for proposing that politicians should demonstrate leadership in setting an example of restraint is so bizarre a concept within the context of the TNRD’s history that, surely, he must be suffering from a concussion, at least.
Yet, it’s hard to begrudge the board a COLA. That’s the system by which Kamloops City council has operated for several years. It removes the embarrassment of having to deal with their own remuneration year after year.
Surely, once a fair level has been found for their stipends, a reasonable cost-of-living adjustment each year should be enough to remove any anxiety about keeping up with the Gateses and the Buffets.
Just one ever so slight niggle remains troublesome — that 40 per cent, and all the previous generosity to themselves on pay, travel expenses and meeting stipends.
Now that they’re all earning anywhere between $13,000 (for municipal directors) and almost $23,000 (for rural directors) for a few hours work each week, wouldn’t this have been a good year to go for it and take a zero increase?
On the other hand, it might have been altogether too much for our palpitating hearts.
We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by editor Robert Koopmans, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, news editor Mike Cornell or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.