Area directors remuneration — again
So once again the area directors have left it to the last minute to try to rush through an increase in their remuneration. Your readers may recall that something similar happened in 2020 when, while the rest of us were worrying about the impact COVID might have on all aspects of our lives, the area directors, some of whom are still there, tried to jam through a 32 per cent increase in their pay. Because they had left it so late in the budget setting process they wanted to pay for it by raiding the Emergency Reserve Fund — the very funds which may have been needed to deal with emergencies during the pandemic. This time around they have again left it late and are now trying to blame the staff for not building in a substantial increase in director’s benefits in the new budget.
To be clear, it is obvious that the remuneration of area directors should have been increased over the years, but they only have themselves to blame. Previous boards have kicked the issue down the road.
But to put some perspective and proportion on the issue here are some factors that should be taken into account:
• These are volunteer, part-time positions according to the job description agreed by a previous board.
• Unlike any other volunteer position I know of, area directors have a generous benefits package. They voted themselves it a few years ago without considering the cost. Currently on average the cost is in excess of $1,200 per director per year.
• All area directors get the same remuneration regardless of the size of their constituency. At one extreme the area directors for Shawnigan Lake and Cobble Hill take care of 8,558 and 5,019 constituents respectively and at the other end of the spectrum the constituent count for Youbou is 1,206. It would be more equitable for the directors’ pay budget to be distributed in proportion the number of constituents served.
• Area directors have tenure for four years and there is no recall mechanism. Electors have to wait until the next election if their area director is not up to scratch.
• Once a new remuneration has been set it should be adjusted annually in line with a factor such as CPI. This set and forget approach would avoid the remuneration getting so far behind and avoid these ticklish debates where area directors are seen setting their own pay. Or perhaps as was suggested a few years ago there should be a committee of electors who decide what they think area directors deserve to be paid. Now there is an idea!