Why I voted in favour of giving myself a raise

Civic Building, home of the TNRD.

Civic Building, home of the TNRD.

Now that I’ve got your attention, the answer is 1.1 per cent.

That’s the amount of the increase to directors’ stipends approved by the TNRD board at our meeting yesterday (Thursday, March 10, 2016).

The increase is in keeping with the B.C. Consumer Price Index, which happens to coincide with the annual average in Canada.

You didn’t read or hear about the pay increase because low pay increases aren’t news. Years ago, the TNRD board regularly made headlines for giving itself handsome pay increases but those days are gone.

Yesterday, there wasn’t even any debate about the changes. Using inflation as a guide to setting pay for municipal and regional district reps is an approach I’ve supported for a long time.

Setting your own pay rate is an awkward and losing proposition for councils and regional boards, and it’s one they’ve always struggled with. Once a reasonable rate is set, though, leaving the rest to the CPI solves the problem and guards against pay increases that are out of proportion.

That depends, of course, on the local-government body not dispensing with the CPI guideline at its own convenicene, which is what Kamloops City council did a couple of years ago when it awarded itself substantial raises.

So far, the TNRD is sticking to CPI as the guide and as long as it does that, I’m in support.

By the way, there’s nothing secret about what TNRD directors receive. I was accused at a public meeting recently of raking in $100,000 a year. Actually, the basic pay for Electoral Area directors ranges from $20,264 under the new rate (for Areas P and L) up to a high of $23,624 for Electoral Area B (Thompson Headwaters).

Even though the Electoral Areas with the highest rates for their directors tend to have the lowest populations, I think the rationale is that those directors live farthest from the TNRD’s head offices in Kamloops.

Appointees to the TNRD board from municipal councils are paid between $12,533 for Kamloops reps to a high of $15,393 for the mayor of Lytton.

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