Elected public officials earn $10-15,000 annually as directors of the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority
Taxpayers now have a better idea what elected public officials are compensated on the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority board following a ruling by the provincial Civil Resolution Tribunal.
The nine-page binding decision ordered the GVHA to provide signed financial statements for 2018-19, and a breakdown of the $186,801 total director fees. While directors were not named, the harbour authority was required to divulge what was paid to each director including the position, title, and capacity. The provincial non-profit society was also ordered to pay $225 in costs.
As a result of the decision, Grumpy Taxpayer$ has learned most GVHA directors are paid between $10- $15,000 annually. It’s a nice top up to a base council salary and any other remuneration earned through attending committees, commissions, and other bodies.
(The CRD, for example, pays its 24 directors $13,559 along with an expense allowance of $6,779 annually, in addition to top ups for committee and commission responsibilities plus various stipends for attending a meeting).
“At this level of salary at the GVHA the question becomes, ‘Are mayors and councillors in breach of their fiduciary duty to their elected positions on local government?'” says John Treleaven, vice-chair of Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria. “Can they serve two masters?”
In our view, there’s an inherent conflict of interest between their role on the GVHA board and the duties and responsibilities as elected public officials. The underlying legislation, the Community Charter, devotes an entire section to conflict of interest and speaks clearly about the need to avoid it in reality or in appearance, Treleaven says.
Taxpayers also have a right to know about any and all income and benefits of any director derived as a consequence of their elected position on local government and that it be publicly reported and disclosed annually.
Elected public officials are often paid more than we realize because of other roles they take on and a lack of transparency around remuneration.
At the urging of Grumpy Taxpayer$, the City of Victoria (followed by Saanich) now has a dedicated page on municipal websites that details council pay and remuneration.
Current public officials on the GVHA include Saanich Coun. Susan Brice (CRD representative), Mayor Barb Desjardins (Esquimault), and Coun. Marianne Alto (Victoria). Margaret Lucas, a former City of Victoria councillor, sits as an independent.
Due to the negative financial impacts of COVID-19 on GVHA, the board approved a motion to eliminate directors’ meeting fees as of May 1, 2020. This decision will be revisited at the December 2020 board meeting.
Civil Resolution Tribunal Final Decision: GTGV v. GVHA, Aug. 13, 2020.
Council remuneration and benefits, City of Victoria, 2020.
Council rumuneration and benefits, District of Saanich, 2020.
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