January 23, 2009
Click on image to enlarge.
After my posting last week on the salaries for the SN Band Council and Band Manager, the least to say would be that it caused a bit of a controversy. There was a lot of good discussion I had with people in the community, both about the legitimacy or rightfulness for some of the politicians to be making that much. Overall though, most people were just straight up mad, disappointed, and frustrated at the elected leadership (or that's how I experienced).
One important information I forgot to put in, which is my fault, is the salaries I posted are from April 2007 - March 2008. It is from last years fiscal. Effective January 1, the staff received their 6% raise, and the department heads received their 12-14% on top of that 6%. So two Band Councilors, Gibby Jacob (Department Head of Projects, Negotiation, and Development) and Krissy Jacob (Department Head of Communications), received a 20% on top of the salaries listed above.
Another thing to point out is that some of these councilors do other work outside of their Councilor position. Speaking at events, opening events on our territory, attending meetings with other organizations, and such. For these, they may receive honorarium that is not included in the above spreadsheet. For example, sometimes other companies and corporation (Like VANOC, Fairmount, Concord Pacific, etc.) will sponsor some Band Councilors (Gee, I wonder who I could referring too) in hotel rooms, travel money, and such.
The community doesn't know where this comes from or how much. For me, this wouldn't be that much of an issue if they were a Part Time councilor, but many are full time and get a full time wage, but do this other work during their normal council hours. Getting two cheques basically.
As a point of reference, let's look at other politicians.
Vancouver Mayor and City Council has a salary and total travel expenses budget over somewhere around $825,000. At least from 2006, Sam Sullivan was making $119,178. The councilors, at least in 2006, were payed around $54,453.
That's the city of Vancouver with population in the millions and budgets in the hundreds of millions.
I'm told the Mayor of the town of Squamish makes somewhere around $30'000. (Does anyone in the blogosphere have a source or link for this?)
Back to the SN Council:
One person remarked "They are basically running countries", which I responded with,
"I don't think they are "running countries". They are running a large-scale organization that delivers programs and services, along with some negotiation for legal cases related to government law (land claims). A "First Nation" is not a nation. We are the nation. The "Squamish Nation" is a Indian Act imposed governance system that has been used to supplant our people, remove us from the land for Colonial land development, and weaken our resolve to resist and fight for what is righteously and rightfully ours. To give you something to compare, the Vancouver City Councilors make $55'000. That the city of Vancouver which has a population in the millions and manages hundreds of millions of dollars in thousands of hectares of land."
The top five paid elected officials for the Squamish Nation are Gibby Jacob ($110,392), Byron Joesph ($105,835), Krissy Jacobs ($79,673), Ian Campbell ($68,025), and Bill Williams ($64,504). One worth of mention of Band Manager Glen Newman, an elected position, comes in at $60,053 in salary wages, but with $34,317 in Out-of-Town Travel expenses. I will note this is a person who is notoriously known by staff and community alike who is never at work. He is not doing his job, and thus the Band Council appointed Krissy Jacobs to be the "Acting Band Manager" in his stead, but he is still receiving pay.
As for travel, the highest for Travel Allowances is Dale Harry (the sole upper Squamish councilor) at $10,251. After that, the rest all varry around $5000.
For Out of Town travel, the previously mentioned Glen Newman is the highest at $34, 317. Then Dennis Joesph at $13,006, Dick Williams at 12,457, and Deborah Baker at $11,505.
One that also looks odd is Ritchie Baker, who I will also mention is my uncle. His salary was $34,135, but under Other Remuneration, it's $34,530. I was told he's only a part time councilor, and the Other Reumeration was for work he was hired to do for the Squamish Nation, separate from his councilor duties.
The simple reason for the inequality is because some of the councilors hold staff positions, with a couple holding really powerful positions as Department Heads. These have more control over information, resources, budgets, and staff. One councilor has dozens of staff to do their job, other other councilors have none. Some Councilors are aware of projects, developments and such before any of their colleagues, tell their "buddy's" on council about their plans to be prepared and ready to push through their plan. It's a deep inequality at the council table, and it's reflected in the inequality of their wages.