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Friday, December 3, 2021

Vancouver School Board takes fire over retroactive pay bump for trustees

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The Vancouver School Board is facing criticism, after trustees voted themselves a pay bump behind closed doors.

The increase, which is retroactive to 2019, was approved at an in-camera meeting, then announced publicly at a recent board meeting where it drew the ire of former trustee and commentator Patti Bacchus.

I don’t have an issue with trustees receiving pay increases from time to time, but these decisions should be debated and voted on in public meetings. Elected trustees are neither employees nor “personnel.” No excuse for voting on own raises in secret. #bced #bcpoli #vanpoli https://t.co/9TOkFTWNix

— Patti Bacchus (@pattibacchus) February 23, 2021

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In a statement, the VSB said the raise, which amounts to about $2,000 per year, was a “retroactive adjustment” to compensate for a portion of trustees’ pay that lost its federal tax-free status in 2019.

Board chair Carmen Cho told Global News the decision was made in private because it was a personnel matter.

“Some (school) boards did it at private meetings and some boards did it in public meetings, so there is some differences amongst boards,” she said.

Certainly we had every expectation to report out publicly about the adjustment.”

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Global News exclusive: Vancouver city managers receive raises during pandemic

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Bacchus said she has no problem with trustees being fairly compensated for their time.

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But she said any time politicians are making decisions about their own pay, it should be done in full public view.

“It’s important that elected officials do any kind of debating and votes on their own salary increase, it should be done in public meetings,” she said.

“The public deserves to know why raises are being voted on, and who is voting for them and who is voting against them, and what the rationale is.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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