To the Editor:
I noted that John Kettle had made suggestions on reducing the cost of cemetery maintenance, and I remembered he had run for regional district director because he mentioned to me at that time he was concerned the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) was costing more than other Kootenay regional districts were. I thought I would do some research and see if that was still true or if he had made a difference in its spending.
I was shocked with what I found. The financial statements were online and I started looking at some of the expense items and noticed “Indemnities – Chairman and Directors” was $519,879. I then went further into the finance statement and found that in 2011 the line item “Legislative – directors’ expenses” was $846,880, which means they had at least $300,000 of personal expenses.
I checked with the RDCK and was again shocked at the stipends they receive. I only checked the stipends of the electoral area directors, who receive a yearly stipend of $31,000. The vice-chair receives an additional $6,000 and the chair an additional $30,288. Travel expenses are all paid as submitted, with $0.57/km for mileage. Municipal directors receive a smaller stipend as they are council members and receive a municipal stipend.
One-third of the stipends are paid tax-free for undocumented expenses incidental to the discharge of their duties. For the chair, this could mean a total income of $61,288, with about $20,500 tax free if they were an electoral area director.
In the Regional District of East Kootenay, the electoral area directors receive $17,383 and the chair receives an additional $15,000. The RDEK directors also get paid $175 for each board meeting and $90 for each committee meeting they attend.
I think there needs to be an investigation by the provincial government into how much regional district boards in this province can milk out of what appears to be a cash cow for them personally.