Pay hike approved for Fraser Valley Regional District politicians

Rural directors to see wage increase by 53 per cent; municipal directors to get tiny bump

Politicians at the Fraser Valley Regional District voted to tie their future pay increases to the average wages in the region, but not before giving major pay hike to directors who represent rural areas and for the FVRD chair.

The new policy comes on the heels of a two-phase pay increase at the FVRD which had significantly increased the total pay for politicians on the board in recent years.

(Total pay increased 40 per cent between 2014 and 2016; eight percentage points of that increase was due to the addition of an eighth electoral area director.)

After the increase, the amount the regional government spends on politicians’ salary will have risen about 79 per cent from 2014.

Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun said he remained unhappy with the process that led to the pay hike. Braun had wanted the FVRD to put the future of politician compensation in the hands of a citizens’ committee, as Abbotsford had done last year.

“I still think we had a real opportunity to be much more open and transparent,” he said.

By linking future remuneration with residents’ average wages, the FVRD policy mimics one implemented by Abbotsford at the recommendation of its citizens’ committee that sets councillors wages at 75 per cent of residents’ salaries.

But when it came for the FVRD to set its current rates – and thus the percentage of residents’ incomes going forward – Braun said the board used comparisons with other regional districts.

He likened that move to a “hamster logic” in which salaries across the regions continually get increased as each hike makes a new area suddenly seem underpaid. Those feelings were shared by Abbotsford Coun. Ross Siemens, who also sits on the FVRD board.

Braun won’t be receiving a $7,500 top-up that staff had originally suggested he should get as chair of the Fraser Valley Regional Hospital District.

Such a top-up, he had said, wouldn’t have been deserved given the amount of time he devotes to chairing the meetings.

On Monday, he said he had never been asked about such an increase by the consultant who proposed the hike.

However, the acting chair of the board will receive $2,000 when he or she takes charge in Braun’s absence.

Directors for Abbotsford, Chilliwack and other municipalities which send councillors to FVRD board meetings will see only a minor pay increase, from $11,765 to $11,900 per year.

But directors who represent electoral areas for which they are the only elected representative will receive a 54 per cent pay hike, from $19,522 to $30,000, with the chair of the electoral area services committee to receive another $10,000 on top of that.

Those increases will only be paid by residents of the electoral areas, who will be on the hook for an extra $2 to $10 each year.

As the FVRD’s current chair, Chilliwack Coun. Jason Lum is also set to see his remuneration increase, with his total FVRD pay rising 22 per cent from $27,425 to $33,661 per year.

Abbotsford Coun. Patricia Ross won’t be receiving an increase in her $6,700 top-up for serving as vice-chair.

Lum said he was happy with the new pay policy.

“It’s a good process and I think it’s a good policy in terms of taking into account the realities in the region,” he said.

Just Posted

Santa joins kids for Christmas in the Forest in Chilliwack

Annual holiday party and fundraiser helps students at Leap For Joy Open Air Learning

Mike McCardell in town for book-signing at Coles in Chilliwack

His newest book, Shoelaces Are Hard: And Other Thoughtful Scribbles, is his 12th to date

Photos: The Contenders rock the Blue Moose Coffee Shop Friday

Valdy and Gary Fjellgaard came together as (The) Contenders to play music… Continue reading

Birds from Raptors Ridge pay a visit to Chilliwack

Up-close viewings, nature walks, and youth owl classes all part of visits this month to Chilliwack

Ask the Coach: Chilliwack Chiefs bench boss Brian Maloney talks about referees

Ask the Coach is a bi-weekly column where Brian Maloney answers questions from the fans

VIDEO: Highway overpass protest against United Nations ‘compact’ on immigration

Demonstrators say Canada will have less control over who is allowed in the country

Boeser scores 3, Pettersson has 5 points as Canucks hammer Blues

Vancouver picks up impressive 6-1 win in St. Louis

B.C. police stop drunk driver who offered up burger instead of ID

Roadblock checks over the weekend found at least two other impaired drivers

In Canada, the term ‘nationalism’ doesn’t seem to have a bad rap. Here’s why

Data suggest that Canadians don’t see the concept of nationalism the way people do in the United States

Small quake recorded west of Vancouver Island

No injuries or tsunami warning after 5.4 rumble felt some 400 kilometres from Victoria

B.C. suspends Chinese portion of Asian forestry trade mission due to Huawei arrest

Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of U.S. in Vancouver

Canadians spent $1.7 billion dollars online in December 2017

Online retail sales accounted for 3.4 per cent of total retail sales

2-year investigations nets $900,000 in refunds for payday loan customers

Consumer Protection BC says selling practices were ‘aggressive and deceptive’

China: Canada’s detention of Huawei exec ‘vile in nature’

Huawei is the biggest global supplier of network gear for phone and internet company

Most Read