Directors should not be blinded by outspoken, ill-informed few

Saltair – First I respond to Blaise Salmon’s recently published critique of the CVRD directors in which he accuses them of an absurdity.

Absurdity is something with which he is extremely familiar as his practice on several fronts is to assert his opinions as being facts. Example: he cites an average CVRD income of $38,000 per annum. Is that net or gross? Does it include the “incomes” of those whose “business expenses” cover what for you and I are living expenses? Does it include your income? Does it include the hidden incomes of the many millionaires in the Valley? He is ingenuous at best and disingenuous at worst – enough said.

Now to the issue at hand. Most, if not all, private, public and NGO companies use similar methodology to determine their compensation policies.

They research what like companies of reasonably similar size and scope of operation, and/or companies with like positions, offer in compensation. Then, based on that real information, decide what it takes to retain and recruit effective personnel.

A very few outspoken, yet ill-informed, residents protest that excluded CVRD incomes should reflect incomes prevalent in the Valley. They opine that excluded CVRD incomes should more closely mirror those of the folks they live beside and that comparisons should be made from within the Valley.

Sounds well and good – but here’s the rub. Where are similar organizations and/ or positions found in the Valley?

What other organizations have operating budgets of $60 million and capital budgets of $18 million? What other companies manage such a diverse portfolio of programs? What other organizations employ and manage hundreds of employees?

Nary a one! Unless, of course, one could pry loose from Catalyst the details of its compensation plan – and good luck with that. There just ain’t no reasonably similar organizations in the Valley.

What the nay-saying few must grasp is that folks with the education and experience necessary to run an organization like the CVRD – engineers, accountants, planners, etc. – just do not live in the Valley or, if they do, they are elsewhere employed.

This is not to say that there are not bright, well educated folks in the Valley, it is just that the particular expertise required for excluded CVRD positions is not employed here.

Nonetheless, if research proves excluded salaries are out of line, the board can freeze them until they are in line. However, if reducing costs is the true underlying concern, then the directors should yet again turn their minds to reducing or privatizing some programs and services. But would that be real economy? Mind you, that is another issue altogether.

Director Giles recently cautioned that the board should not be blinded by the views of a few.

Despite that sage caution, some directors still choose to pander to the few, illinformed nay-sayers.

Could it be in the hope of re-election thus securing their own, not inconsiderable [and recently improved] incomes? Such individuals should not be honoured with election.

Pat Mulcahy