It is no surprise that CVRD staff have recruited a $130,000 per year spin doctor (the real cost is always higher than the budget cost!) over the objections of their own CVRD board and taxpayers. However, it is shocking that the board chair went along with this lapse in good governance. The CVRD Economic Development department has mostly ignored the board and taxpayers as well.
CVRD staff have hired more staff and continually enriched themselves beyond reason over the past two decades using a faulty salary increase system and weak boards. It compares themselves to other irresponsible local governments when the only group they should be compared with is local taxpayers and local businesses.
The result is CVRD has pay rates and generous benefits way more than the private sector and out of reach of most taxpayers in the Cowichan Valley. Every year staff get a pay raise through promotions or general increases. CVRD taxes would be a third to a half the current level if raises and spending had been kept to the level of growth and inflation in the Cowichan Valley.
This same leadership vacuum has been used to ramp up CVRD staffing to more than 225 employees and spending of $79 million a year for an organization that has a rather limited responsibility but likes to boast about everything it does and controls. It is always in the lineup when some new idea or goofy spending project pops up for attention. You can bet the new spin doctor will have a field day spitting out press releases.
It seems reasonable to me that if someone quits and that job is no longer of use to the organization you cut spending and taxes. But neither has occurred in hiring the spin doctor — staff claim they are only using money saved by other people quitting and not being replaced to pay for this new permanent CVRD hire. Hey, that’s pretty darn good spin doctoring itself!
W.E. (Bill) Dumont