Columbia Shuswap Regional District Financial Manager Jodi Pierce and her deputy treasurer have spent approximately 175 hours of staff time in an effort to come up with a remuneration policy that will satisfy all CSRD directors. -File photo

Salary train going in circles

The salaries of politicians are always a political hot potato.

There’s something about people being able to vote themselves a raise using public tax dollars that raises the hackles of voters like few other topics.

So politicians like to tread lightly around the issue, not wanting to make themselves the target of their constituents’ ire when they return to fill the ballot box.

But the situation over at the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) has gone way beyond political correctness into plain ridiculousness.

Since 2014, the elected directors have been pondering a change to the payment structure of elected directors – and let’s face it, it isn’t about reducing the cash that enters their bank accounts. It’s about increasing the pay for the work they do.

Now, for the record, a CSRD director isn’t exactly raking in the cash. Directors earn roughly $23,000 per year plus reimbursements for travel and other costs of attending meetings or conferences.

But it is completely ludicrous that this process began in 2014, and a consultant has been paid $16,500 for an independent review of the salary issue – in an effort to remove the political stigma associated with political pay raises.

In addition, there have been 175 hours of CSRD staff time spent on generating reports and recommendations comparing CSRD salaries to other regional district directors and other salary structures. Keep in mind those 175 hours are paid to those employees out of our tax dollars. And the employees doing this type of work don’t get paid anywhere close to minimum wage. Just the discussion of raising salaries has now cost local taxpayers more than a director’s annual salary.

And all this to get pretty much nowhere.

There is also no resolution in sight.The situation remains mired in committee, no date has been set for moving forward and nothing is ready to come before the board for a formal vote.

Your tax dollars hard at work? We hardly think so.