Executive chair: ‘They need to be paid a living wage.’
By Matt DiMera
The Kwantlen Student Association is considering a recommendation to give their executives a 60 per cent annual increase in pay, and more benefits.
While KSA council members are paid honouraria to attend council and committee meetings, each of the four executives currently receive $16,900 annually. If the proposal passes at the Jan. 10 council meeting, that amount will jump to $27,040, as of April 1.
The proposed pay increase would also have the executives working 40 hours each week instead of the current requirements of 30 hours.
Under the recommended proposal, the executives would be eligible for free parking passes, and paid WorkSafeBC and medical services plan benefits. Versions of the proposal have already been successfully passed by the KSA’s governance and finance committees.
The KSA’s director of finance, Gaurav Kumar, says he originally wanted an annual increase of $2,600, but that it was the student association’s general manager Jeremy McElroy who suggested the current proposed increase, and that the executive hours should also be increased to 40. Kumar says that McElroy checked what other student unions pay their executives.
McElroy did not respond to The Runner’s request for an interview before deadline.
Steven Button, KSA director of student services and the current chair of the executive committee, argues that changes are necessary to reflect the demands put on executives. He says that he originally supported the 60 per cent increase but has since put forward a second proposal.
“The size of the executive portfolios are quite large. They’re not something it can be realistically expected that anybody could be a full-time student and doing this job,” he explains.
Button’s new proposal would increase the executive compensation by 47 per cent to $24,960 annually and eliminate the extra benefits.
“They need to be paid a living wage,” says Button. “Our executive board is the lowest paid of any executive board in – almost the country – but definitely within B.C. This increase still leaves us in the very low-end, but brings us at least a little closer to what other student unions pay their executive boards.”
A cursory online review by The Runner of several other local student unions found at least two boards in B.C. who are paid less than the KSA.
Button also says that offering free parking to executives, while at the same time urging students to use the U-Pass, would be inconsistent.
“If we’re not incentivizing our executives to experience what it’s like taking transit down here, then how are they supposed to know what improvements are needed the most?” he asks.
Button says that although the issue of what elected KSA officials are paid seems to recur fairly often, he doesn’t think that it takes away from the other work the student association does.
“It’s going to continue to be a work in progress,” he explains.