Juan de Fuca Electoral Area director Mike Hicks was among the top paid politicians on the Capital Regional District board last year, according to financial documents released by the CRD on Wednesday.
Hicks grossed $62,787 in salary and expenses from the CRD in 2016. Southern Gulf Island director Dave Howe, who also serves as the CRD’s vice-chairman, was the highest paid politician, taking in $73,094 in salary and expenses.
By comparison, Victoria Coun. Pam Madoff and Highlands Coun. Karel Roessingh received just $100 each as alternative directors last year.
The three electoral area directors on the 24-person board who represent unincorporated areas are paid at a higher rate than other CRD directors because they are the area’s only elected government representative, acting as de facto mayor and council.
Half of the electoral area directors stipend is paid by local constituents and the balance is shared by the entire CRD.
“I’m not apologetic about [my pay] at all,” said Hicks, whose sprawling district reaches from Willis Point and the top of the Malahat up through west communities such as Jordan River and Port Renfrew.
“It is a full-time job in my area, and I’m thinking about this job 24/7. It never stops. It’s a hard job for all local politicians.”
Along with Hicks regular CRD duties, he also chairs two standing committees and sits on four committees – the most of any director on the board.
In 2015, CRD directors voted to almost double their salaries – the first time in 20 years – and increase their stipends for elected officials who chair standing committees. The raises took effect Jan. 1, 2016, and the increases are reflected for the first time in the latest statement of financial information.
Mayor Maja Tait represents Sooke on the CRD and last year received a salary and expenses of $7,468, but only returned to the board after coming back from parental leave in September. Sooke’s alternate, Coun. Rick Kasper, amassed salary and expenses of $16,714 in her absence.
“There’s no doubt in my mind all the directors work very hard,” Tait said.
Last year, 226 CRD employees made $75,000 or more, with chief administrative officer Bob Lapham topping the list at $261,186. Local governments are required to disclose salaries of employees making more than $75,000 by June 30.