August 21, 2015 - 8:00 PM
THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - Pay levels for chief and council of the Westbank First Nation can’t be found under the First Nation Financial Transparency Act but are on the high end of salaries for B.C bands and its neighbours in the Thompson-Okanagan.
As a self-governing band, the Westbank First Nation is exempt from reporting requirements under the act which requires bands to file financial information by the end of July.
But the band’s March 31, 2015 quarterly report shows Chief Robert Louie took home $150,389 for the year ending March 31, 2015, including wages and benefits of $119,466 plus travel expenses of $26,599 and a further $4,325 for other expenses including cell phone, training and travel expenses.
Salary figures posted under the requirements of the First Nations Transparency Act show a median salary of $60,000 for a chief in Canada, according to an analysis by the Toronto Star.
Coun. Brian Eli was paid $80,992 last year including $72,803 in wages and benefits plus $7,526 for travel and $663 for other expenses. Coun. Chris Derickson received $89,433 on a salary of S73,506, travel of $13,433 and $2,494 for other expenses. Coun. Mike De Guevera took in $98,387 earning $74,641 with travel of $17,855 and other expenses of $5,892 while Coun. Mick Werstiuk was paid $81,393 with $72,696 with travel of $7,996 and $702 other expenses.
Chief Louie, spokesman for WFN council, did immediately respond to a request for an interview.
The financial filings show a range of chief’s salaries in B.C. from a high of $200,000 for chief of the Gwawaenuk Tribe on Vancouver Island to a low of $15,000 for the Bridge River band.
The transparency act was brought into law last year, revealing for the first time what many chiefs and councillors were being paid, often substantially higher than local mayors and their councillors.
But the chief of T'kemlups te Secwepemc near Kamloops last year said that comparison was unfair as band councillors tend to take on many more roles than their municipal counterparts. Chief Shane Gottfriedson made $81,200 in wages and benefits this year. His councillors all were paid $72,500 plus expenses.
Splatsin chief Wayne Christian earned $73,172 while his councillors all made between $52,231 and $54,549.
In Vernon, Chief Byron Louis of the Okanagan Indian Band, took home $62,058 on a salary of $43,185. His 10 councillors either made $30,000 or $31,200 plus travel expenses and a cell phone allowance of $520.
The Osooyoos Indian Band paid Chief Clarence Louie $143,659 with expenses of $6,672 for a total about the same as the WFN's Louie. Councillors there received as much as $94,082 to a low of $7,724 depending on length of service.
The Penticton Indian Band has not yet filed a report for 2015.
To contact the reporter for this story, email John McDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-808-0143. To contact the editor, email email@example.com or call 250-718-2724.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015