Increasing compensation for the Cowichan Valley Regional District’s nine electoral area directors has been raised again as the district builds its budget for 2023.
At a special electoral area services committee meeting on Jan. 4 to discuss the budget, Cowichan Lake South/Skutz Falls director Ian Morrison said it was his understanding that the previous board of directors gave staff direction that an anticipated pay increase for the electoral area directors was to be included in the draft budget for 2023 for consideration.
But he said the draft budget contains just the standard costs-of-living wage increase of three per cent for the directors.
Morrison asked Barbra Mohan, CVRD’s general manager of corporate services, if staff could clarify the issue.
“When the board gives direction to have something included, it generally is,” he said.
“It was my understanding it would be debated and discussed here and it was to be part of the core and initial budget considerations.”
But Mohan said staff was not given that direction from the board.
She said staff did a report in the late summer months which collated all of the past directions given by the board in regards to the directors’ salaries.
“I believe that the report left it open that there wasn’t actually any direction given to staff about how to treat directors’ salaries in the upcoming budget,” Mohan said.
But Morrison insisted he was sure that there was clear direction given to staff on the issue at the time.
“I’d like to ask that it be further researched and I’ll do some looking on my own, but I was certain we were going to be considering a number that had been determined and it would be included in this budget and would be debated,” he said.
“I’d like some further clarification on that.”
Mohan responded that she’d send the staff report that was written last summer to the directors.
The current pay for electoral area directors, who haven’t had a pay increase in more than eight hears, is approximately $35,000 a year.
At a board meeting in 2020, the district’s director services select committee recommended that remuneration for the representatives from the CVRD’s electoral areas be increased by $11,167.
But after a lengthy discussion among board members at the time, many directors concluded it was bad timing to be discussing pay raises during the instability created by the COVID-19 crisis, which had been declared a world-wide pandemic, and a decision was made to postpone the discussion.