Cancelled

Regional district meetings are so short, and so frequently cancelled, that West Kelowna's former representative on the board called for directors to get a pay cut. The idea was dismissed by chairman Gail Given, centre, front row.

After a light summer schedule, Central Okanagan regional district politicians are easing into September by cancelling their first meeting.

The meeting set for this Thursday has been cancelled, owing to the lack of anything to discuss or vote on.

Since June 1, the regional board has had five regular meetings. Four of the meetings have lasted an average of 37 minutes. The minutes for the one meeting in August have not yet been published.

The regional board is made up of 13 politicians, 11 of whom are municipal councillors from Kelowna, West Kelowna, Peachland, and Lake Country.

In addition to their salaries they receive from their respective municipalities - $36,500 in the case of the Kelowna councillors - the politicians earn an additional salary if they are appointed to the regional district board.

As chairman of the regional district board, Kelowna city councillor Gail Given was paid $41,475 last year, one-third of which was tax free.

The six other City of Kelowna councillors who serve on the board will be paid $18,540 for their service this year.

The politicians receive their pay whether or not the regional district meetings are cancelled.

At a meeting on June 14, 2018, regional board member Doug Findlater of West Kelowna suggested board members should have their pay reduced, given how short many meetings had proven to be, and how often some were cancelled entirely.

"While being here is more aggravating than ever, the time we spend here is somewhat less than what we did," Findlater said. "We're actually able to cancel some meetings and they end earlier. Perhaps a reduction in pay is in order."

Findlater's suggestion brought a sharp rebuke from Given.

"While you may not spend more time here, I can assure you that I am spending far more than I ever thought I would and it isn't just at meetings. So anybody who thinks the only work we do at meetings is a little bit misinformed," Given said.

The regional board generally meets twice a month. Between June 2017 and June 2018, three board meetings lasted seven minutes and two were cancelled for lack of any items to discuss.