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Metro Vancouver board chairs could see $25K pay bumps under proposed changes – BC

The Metro Vancouver Regional District is facing additional scrutiny over compensation offered to some of its highest positions.

A proposal headed to the regional district’s board on Friday could see its chair and vice-chair receive hefty pay bumps.

The proposal relates to compensation for attending standing committees. Metro Vancouver board members are paid $525 to attend any meeting under four hours, and double that if the meeting goes longer.

Click to play video: 'Former Delta mayor calls for George Harvie’s resignation'

Former Delta mayor calls for George Harvie’s resignation

Under current rules, however, the board’s chair and vice-chair are limited to attending 18 such meetings per year.

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A report headed to the board this week argues that the number of meetings requiring the two positions’ attendance has increased “significantly,” and recommends lifting the cap to 67 meetings per year.

That move could result in an increase of up to $51,450 in total annual elected official remuneration — more than $25,000 each — according to the report.

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The compensation for attending meetings is over and above the $105,039 board chair and Delta Mayor George Harvie and vice-chair and Anmore Mayor John McEwen are already paid for their roles with the district.

“I think it’s a cash grab. The bottom line is they are more than adequately compensated now,” said former West Vancouver mayor Micheal Smith, who served previously on the Metro Vancouver Board.

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Delta mayor evades questions over travel

“I’d totally like to see it voted down. They really shouldn’t be paid at all. They should be part of the duty of the mayor to attend the Metro regional meetings. Why do they expect to get paid over and above it?”

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Vancouver City Coun. Mike Klassen, who currently serves on the board, said he supports the existing cap.

He said it was hard to vote for any kind of increase in spending while the district faces financial pressures — including the ballooning cost of the now $4-billion North Shore Wastewater Plant.

“This is not a reflection on the amount of work they put in, there’s a lot of time that goes into serving as chair and vice-chair,” Klassen said.

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“I have a lot of respect for their work. But the signal has to be really clear we are going to be respecting taxpayers.”

In a statement, Metro Vancouver said it was appropriate for a meeting fee cap to be in place, but that the growing number of necessary meetings has resulted in the chair and vice-chair hitting the cap early in the year.

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It added that approval of the change would ultimately be up to Metro Vancouver board members, who have the option of giving it the green light, deferring it or referring the idea back to staff.

The vote comes just days after Harvie cancelled a planned trip to Amsterdam on behalf of Metro Vancouver amid criticism over the cost.

According to the district, Harvie has already submitted more than $32,000 in expenses this year.

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