School District 8 trustees gave themselves a raise Tuesday.
Seven of the nine trustees will now receive $17,659 annually, up from $14,209.56. Chair Lenora Trenaman’s indemnity was increased from $17,408.28 to $20,585, while vice-chair Sharon Nazaroff will see a raise from $15,711.96 to $18,967.
Trenaman said the raise was necessary in part because of changes made last year to federal taxation, which removed a 30 per cent exemption from trustees’ annual stipend. That change also led to the previous Nelson city council voting in favour of its own raises in 2018.
“Just using my situation for the last number of years, it’s like a full-time job,” said Trenaman.
“So if you put that into an hourly rate, you know I’ve never really done it but I’m sure it would be a $1 an hour. Really, I put in a lot of meeting time, a lot of travel time, a lot of phone call time [into the job].”
Six trustees were in favour of the raise, while trustees Allan Gribbin, Cody Beebe and Bill Maslechko voted against.
Trenaman said the board also needed to make the position more attractive to future trustees. Creston trustee Becky Coons said during the meeting the pay was a factor in her decision to run for the board, and she lamented being voted in by acclamation.
Including Coons, six of the current trustees on the board were elected by acclamation in 2018.
“When [people] are running for mayor and city council, we don’t have those kinds of numbers coming out to run for trustee,” said Trenaman. “We don’t get the same attention cities and towns get in their municipalities when there’s an election.”
During the discussion, Gribbin criticized the raise for its timing during the pandemic. Trenaman said the pandemic has in turn increased the workload on trustees, who also completed extensive — and contentious — reconfiguration plans for the district in December and January.
The amount is calculated using data from the BC School Trustees Association, which provides information on how much each of the province’s 60 districts pays trustees. Trenaman said an average is determined by secretary-treasurer Michael McLellan, who presented his recommended raises to the board.
The district’s policy is to review the indemnity annually.
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