August 29, 2014 - 7:30 AM
KAMLOOPS – First Nations Chiefs and councillors have entirely different roles from city mayors and councillors and cannot be compared based on salary alone, says T’kemlups te Secwepemc.
When salaries and audited financial statements were released last month under new federal legislation, local media around the province—including Infonews.ca—made the comparisons between chiefs and councillors to municipal government leaders. A prepared statement attributed to Nacoma George, spokesperson for the band, said that's unfair.
“The roles and responsibilities of chief and council are greater, and generally more diverse than municipal governance,” he says. “Comparing that with part time city councillors is not a fair comparison.”
George says chief and council members are required to work seven days a week and, unlike municipal counterparts, lack the time to take on additional employment due to band requirements.
“They deal with multiple jurisdictions regarding aboriginal rights and title, housing, infrastructure, education, social development and on-reserve businesses and economic development,” George says.
George says it would be “unfair” to pay a council member less than a full-time wage. Financial documents from the band states councillors made between $79,840 to $84,580 last year. Chief Shane Gottfriedson garnered $92,362 in salary, additional wages, benefits and expenses. The release of financial statements is something George says the band has done for "many years" by posting documents on its website.
“The Tk’emlups te Secwepemc has led most of the country in being proactive and transparent in their financials, including what their chief and council’s annual remuneration is,” said George.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014