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Staff told to review CRD remuneration and attendance

Jul 13 2012

The practice of having alternates regularly filling in at Capital Regional District committee meetings has some directors wondering whether taxpayers are getting the best bang for their buck.

In what Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin said will be a political minefield for CRD bureaucrats, directors have directed staff to examine the overall remuneration paid to CRD directors and alternates, and attendance at meetings.

The review is designed to improve the effectiveness of the

CRD board, said Metchosin Mayor John Ranns, who spearheaded the idea.

"This is a company with a $40-million annual payroll and I have concerns and a number of us have concerns about taking full ownership of the responsibilities we have to direct that," Ranns said.

At stake is not the total amount paid to directors, Ranns told the board this week. Rather, it's an information-gathering exercise to see if a "rebalancing" of the money paid to directors is needed.

Municipal CRD directors receive about $8,688 in compensation a year. Electoral area direc-

tors (the sole representatives and de facto mayor and councils for their communities) receive about $30,000, and the CRD board chairman receives about $29,000.

Alternate directors receive $87 for attending a meeting. But if an alternate attends, the director's salary is unchanged. Both are being paid, leading to some concerns about "double dipping."

Some directors felt it was inappropriate to attempt to link remuneration with effectiveness and/or performance of duties.

"I see [being a CRD director] as a contract with the electorate," Victoria Coun. Marianne Alto said. "The proposal here is to examine remuneration. I don't believe there's a reasonable relationship between remuneration and my responsibility to act as a director."

Alto said she supports finding ways to improve performance at the board level. "But this motion, to me, doesn't have a relationship with that discussion," she said.

Sooke Mayor Wendal Milne agreed. "This is not about money. It's about performance and engaging in that discussion about how do we become responsible. So I think this motion is a waste of time."

But as board chairman and Victoria Coun. Geoff Young said, pay is the only tool they have. "We can say we expect all directors to attend 90 per cent of meetings and 90 per cent of the meetings of at least one committee, but unless we embody that in the pay schedule by saying, 'You've gotta do that,' then our words are empty."

Fortin said if double dipping is a problem, there's a straightforward solution.

"If an alternate is used, then they go and their 90 bucks is taken out of your paycheque. So there's a simple solution. - We don't need a staff report," Fortin said.

bcleverley@timescolonist.com

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