A Thompson Nicola Regional District director who voted against the board giving itself a pay raise will donate more than $3,000 — the difference between the approved raise and the consumer index price inflation rate — back into the region.
“I’ll distribute it to various projects and charities in the region,” Area P (Rivers and the Peaks) director Mel Rothenburger told KTW. “It won’t go to just one place.”
On Thursday at the TNRD’s regular board meeting, Rothenburger raised a point of privilege to address comments from Area M (Beautiful Nicola Valley - North) director David Laird, who suggested during debate in March that followed the board’s stipend decision any director who did not need the money could offer their raise back to the TNRD.
Rothenburger noted the previous board turned down similar opportunities to give itself a significant raise in the past.
“In my 10 years on this board, I have never previously heard a director challenge the motives of other directors for voting for or against a motion,” he told the board.
Rothenburger said directors vote based on their conscience — and he put his money where his mouth is.
Though he does not intend to ask for an amendment to the TNRD’s remuneration bylaw to reduce his salary — it would change the pay for the area as a whole into the future, not just his pay— he said he will instead donate the increase over and above the CPI amount, to the tune of about $3,200, to yet to be determined projects and charities in the region.
Rothenburger has donated a government pay raise in the past, when he was mayor of Kamloops. He said he won’t miss the money because had the board turned down the raise, he would have never received it.
“I think this is a good way of handling it,” he said.
Electoral area directors will see a 19-per-cent increase (to $23,700 from $19,875 in 2018), while municipal directors (including the five Kamloops council members on the board) will get an 11-per-cent increase (to $14,400 from $13,028).
In addition, the board chair, Kamloops-area resident Ken Gillis, will receive an increase of 18 per cent (to $46,300 from $39,100), while vice-chair Bill Kershaw of Area O (Lower North Thompson will see an increase of 27 per cent (to $28,200 from $22,213).
Per-meeting pay will also increase to $160 from $150 and there is also the addition of emergency response pay, at $160 per meeting. There is also an increase in the per-kilometre travel rate, to 58 cents from 55 cents.
The regional district bases its remuneration on nine surrounding regional districts, some of which raised their wages to compensate for federal legislative changes eliminating a tax break for politicians.
Based on that, TNRD’s remuneration was determined to be below average.
Rothenburger opposed the raise and made a motion limiting the pay raise to the consumer pricing index, which he called “reasonable” at 2.7 per cent, and on the basis taxpayers can’t give themselves a raise.