CVRD electoral directors unwilling to waive salary increase
Cowichan Valley Regional District electoral directors are unwilling to forfeit a salary increase despite a motion put forward to do so by one of their own.
During a board committee meeting Thursday, Mill Bay/Malahat Director Mike Walker put forward the motion that a forthcoming 2.5% salary increase for electoral directors be waived, but he was shot down by a majority 7-2 vote against.
Only Shawnigan Lake Director Bruce Fraser backed Walker and voted for.
"You have to look at what the electoral directors spend," said Walker at the meeting. "When eight of you went to the FCM (Federation of Canadian Municipalities) conference in Halifax, that cost the CVRD close to $45,000. That is crazy and you have to stop."
Walker suggested for future conferences the CVRD only send one director, saving $40,000 and use that money for something else.
Sahtlam/Glenora/Cowichan Station Director Loren Duncan, sitting next to Walker, was one of the seven categorically against the motion.
"I can't support this, it's wrong in so many ways. It's cutting the nose off to spite the face to show blood and you think that's setting an example? It's not," said Duncan.
Cowichan Lake South Director Ian Morrison was also opposed, citing his current salary.
"All of the people that I talk to think I'm paid far more than our pay. There's an assumption we're getting 40 or 50,000 a year to do this job and I say 22, they can't believe I'd do the job for that compensation," he said.
Director Mary Marcotte from North Oyster/Diamond was of similar ilk.
"When I first ran for election, I didn't run for the money, but it's wrong to consider this motion as a positive effect," she said. "There are some things money can't compensate any of us for. Time we spend away from our families, birthdays we've missed. I hardly see my husband for dinner at all, maybe once or twice a year. I haven't had an anniversary since 1996. We work very hard for what we get."
Fraser, who last week outlined 15 cost-cutting motions for discussion at the board meeting, chose Tuesday to highlight where the directors' salary comes from.
"Regardless of how they (the electoral directors) intend to spend it, that money comes out of the taxpayers pocket," he said. "There is a larger context here. While the gesture is small, it's important in terms of our relationship with the public."
Fraser's 15 motions all looked at ways of trimming the CVRD budget that is up $14 million from last year.
Meeting chair Director Lori Iannidinardo of Cowichan Bay also voted against Walker's motion as did Mel Dorey, Pat Weaver and Gerry Giles.
"If we go back to our communities having passed this motion, that says to them that we really don't value this work," said Giles.
A final decision on this, and other discussion tied to a proposed $14 million budget increase, is expected to made Wednesday.