At tonight’s UNA AGM members will be asked to increase by over a third the UNA Chair’s take home pay and increase by 10% the money regular directors take home, plus give $1500 extra payments to the chair of governance, finance, and operations/sustainability standing committees. This would mean that the Chair would be paid $12,500, and the secretary and treasure would both get $7,500 per year. On the one hand the amount that Directors are currently paid, about 5500/yr, is not a lot. That said any bumping up of politician pay by such radical amounts should receive serious scrutiny. Part of the argument that has been made is that when compared with equivalent sized municipalities our UNA Directors’ pay is way too low. There are all kinds of problems though with comparing what we do as UNA Directors with what a City Councillor does. The biggest difference is that UNA actually has no real power or authority; it’s al granted to us from UBC. We are, essentially, a volunteer advisory board to UBC charged with running two community centres, element’s of UBC’s private property (so called public realm spaces) and, well actually that’s about it. After sitting on the UNA’s Board of Directors for the past three years I’m not even sure we are needed in order to run the affairs of the UNA. In fact I often get the feeling that for some people the Directors are considered more of a hindrance than a help in running the UNA; but that’s just my feeling.
The pay of politicians is always a problem, just think of the way our Federal Senate manages their profligate affairs. There’s a big difference between the tens of thousands that a Senator pulls down for a few hours in the red chamber and between he few thousand that a UNA Director gets. The parallel is that any change payment needs to be clearly, opening discussed, and that those of us who might materially benefit from such pay should not be the ones making the recommendations or advocating for pay rises.
Disclosure: Charles is a UNA Director who will not be voting for upping directors's pay; Charles' views should not be misconstrued to represent the official UNA or UNA Board policy. Despite having tried in the past not to be paid by the UNA, Charles will materially benefit from any increase to UNA Directors's pay.