The Daily News story about Thompson Rivers University paying nearly $40,000 to furnish part of president Alan Shaver’s house drew mixed reaction from our readers.
The incident again raises the question about whether high-paid CEOs and public sector administrators are worth the salaries they are paid.
Some argue Shaver is the university’s top public relations man and therefore required to entertain in order to drum up interest, students and money for TRU.
As president, Shaver is expected to host international dignitaries, community receptions and alumni events, among others, at his home.
Others say this is another example of the imbalance between the haves and the have-nots. In the university’s case, tuition fees and textbook prices are on the rise, yet TRU has the money to furnish Shaver’s house on top of the $136,000 he’s made in the last six months.
In comparison, the $37,000 spent on 40 pieces of furniture is nowhere near the expense other universities pay to look after their presidents. The University of the Fraser Valley and the University of B.C. provide presidents with a home while the University of Northern B.C. pay all related expenses for gatherings.
Are universities justified in doing this? It can be argued, yes, as these aren’t nine-to-five jobs. There are pressures that come with keeping an operation like TRU afloat and those charged with the task need to be compensated accordingly.
Also, as is the case with the City and Kamloops-Thompson School District, there is the fear that paying less will cause the best staff to move on to greener pastures.
Not everyone sees it this way. There are the roofers, cooks and other hard working people who believe Shaver and the City CAO should be paid more in line with anyone else — in other words, much less than $100,000 a year.
With that in mind, the powers that be at these institutions shouldn’t be surprised by the scrutiny they receive from the media and the public, even if the expense is justified. If there is wealth to be shared, there are those who might like to see some of it.
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.