Saying he doesn’t want taxpayers to think TNRD directors are once again grabbing for cash, one director spoke against a motion that would have seen them earn another $10 per meeting.
“It’s not worth the political risk to have the good people of the press suggesting that we’re at the trough again,” John Ranta said Thursday.
Had Ronaye Elliott’s motion to increase the per-meeting amount from $140 to $150 been supported by the regional board, the cost to taxpayers would have jumped as much as $10,000 a year.
In the end, more directors thought like Ranta, as 16 voted against Elliott’s motion and just six supported it.
The debate arose when Thompson-Nicola Regional District directors were asked to approve an annual salary increase. In the end, the board did approve a .4 per-cent raise that includes base salary, the per-meeting rate and mileage.
Directors are currently paid $140 per meeting. Elliott wanted to increase the amount to $150 in order to bring the rate in line with what other regional directors earn.
Elliott also wants to avoid the need for a sizable pay raise down the road, much like the $5,000 increase directors awarded themselves two years ago, she said.
“The $140 has been there for a good 10 years. I think we’ll probably stab ourselves in the foot if we don’t look at some of these things now,” she said.
John Sternig heard directors with the Columbia-Shuswap Regional District earn $180 to $190 per meeting, which would mean Elliott’s request wasn’t out of line.
He asked Doug Rae, the regional district's director of finance, if what he’s heard on the CSRD is true. Rae said he believes so.
Sally Watson sided with Elliott. She said a $10 increase isn’t significant enough to worry about. But Peter Milobar disagreed, saying the increase would come too soon after the last.
Directors' salaries now range from $12,000 annually to as much as $14,900. Compensation for travel accounts for the difference, with rural area directors earning more than municipal.