RDKB passes new extended absence policy

At the RDKB board meeting on Jan. 30, the board voted unanimously to adopt a new extended absence policy.

At the RDKB board meeting on Jan. 30, the board voted unanimously to adopt the director remuneration and responsibility extended absence policy.The motion is in response to the RDKB having to provide two salaries to Area D directors after interim director Roly Russell stepped in for elected director Irene Perepolkin after she suffered a stroke in January 2012.The new extended absence policy states: directors will continue to receive remuneration until the first day of the month following three months of absence. After that, the director will not receive payment until the first day of the month following their return to duty.The policy does not affect activity-based remuneration such as meeting fees or mileage which would still be paid to the director attending the meeting or event. “That came up after we realized that there was no legislation which covered the extended absence of a director,” said Brian Taylor, Grand Forks mayor and representative on the RDKB board as well as chair of the policy, executive and personnel committee. “With director Perepolkin’s situation, she was off for an extended period of time. So we made some internal decisions regarding what our policy would be.”Taylor said it’s not a long-term solution to inadequate legislation from the provincial government but it’s something. Also at the same meeting, the board voted to approve a motion that would ask the province to provide clearer legislation that establishes respectful, reasonable and responsible guidance as to how electoral area directors and regional district are to manage extended absences by electoral area directors due to illness and injury.“The dilemma we faced was that we had was that we had a non-elected official (Roly Russell) in a long-term situation,” said Taylor. “He wasn’t being adequately compensated for his time so we were really short changing him. On our side, we need to know how long is too long.”The RDKB board ended up voting for Russell to receive full director’s salary hence both he and Perepolkin are currently being paid for the same position.