Some Metro Vancouver directors say it may not pay to represent the regional district at conventions, seminars and conferences in the future.
A staff report suggests mayors and councillors who sit on the Metro board should be paid a flat rate of $100 when representing Metro at events such as official openings, sustainability dialogues and community breakfasts - either in Metro or out of town.
But some directors argue their time is worth money - and have sent the report back for more work. Staff is expected to report back early next year.
"For an event out of town, you're taken away from family, you're at an event all day and it consumes all your energy," said Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie. "What you see in public is just a fraction of what you're actually doing."
The report, which was triggered by concerns over remuneration, would have meant a huge drop in compensation for directors, who require approval from the board chairman to represent Metro at conferences and official openings.
For now, they get $346 for expenses and their time for meetings under four hours; if they stay longer than four hours that doubles to $692.
Brodie said the current fees were calculated as part an overhaul of remuneration last year. He said he spends a lot of time on Metro business, especially as chairman of the zero-waste committee, and doesn't always get compensated, such as when he's involved in interviews with the media.
"Our time is considerable," he said. Metro Vancouver board chairman Greg Moore said there must be more investigation of the proposed $100 flat rate, which would apply despite the variety of jobs directors are expected to do. For instance, a director who is representing Metro Vancouver as a keynote speaker at an event would have to put in more time and preparation than someone who is just attending a conference or picking up an award.
North Vancouver District Mayor Richard Walton said he supports cutting the compensation, noting "most of us aren't going to an event so we can get paid another 100 bucks. We have full-time jobs and going to Metro things is above and beyond."
He noted he only goes to a conference outside the country once in a while but he doesn't get an additional stipend to his mayor's salary. But he added the $100 fee may be unreasonable for those councillors who aren't working full time.
The suggested changes wouldn't affect directors' individual remuneration. Aside from being paid either mayor or councillor salaries, directors also receive $346 for every board and committee meeting they attend - or double that if it's over four hours.
The board chairman is paid an additional $68,000 on top of his municipal salary, while the vice-chairman, Vancouver Coun. Raymond Louie, is paid half that amount. But unlike regular directors, neither is paid to attend Metro meetings.
The 2013 budget for members' attendance at events and travel is $194,538 (not including an international engagement program).
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