Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen director for Area G (rural Keremeos) Elef Christensen came under fire at the regional board meeting last week. Submitted photo

Director with smallest population has highest expenses

Elef Christensen, Area G (Rural Keremeos) director claimed $10,826 in expenses last year

One of the least populated areas in the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen is home to the director who claimed the most in expenses in 2016.

Elef Christensen, Area G (Rural Keremeos) director claimed $10,826 in expenses last year, which was more than any of his fellow directors or even those who held the position of chair of the regional board.

The data was released in the regional district’s annual statement of financial information at last Thursday’s board meeting.

Area G includes the small community of Hedley, where Christensen lives, Olalla and rural Keremeos.

In comparison, current chair and director for Area E (Naramata), Karla Kozakevich, claimed $7,750 while former chair, Mark Pendergraft, claimed $7,188 in expenses.

Christensen also received $26,822 in remuneration for attending board meetings and committee meetings.

When asked what caused his expenses to be so high Christensen said he meets personally with all of his constituents that have a problem in person opposed to talking to them over the phone. He said because there are not a lot of bylaws in Area G he is forced to deal with issues himself.

“It’s probably because of mileage,” he said.

As part of his expenses Christensen, a multi-term director, attended four conferences including UBCM, SILGA, FCM and the Local Government Leadership Academy.

Area G alternate, Roger Mayer, received $2,701 for remuneration for attending meetings and $310 in expenses.

Tom Siddon director of Area D (Kaleden/Okanagan Falls), who has the largest geographic region earned $26,614 in remuneration and claimed $2,208 in expenses.

Bob Coyne from Area H (Princeton rural), who has the farthest drive to attend regional district meetings earned $27, 891 and claimed $4,612 in expenses.

While Frank Armitage, mayor of Princeton, earned $13,971 in remuneration and claimed expenses $2,974

Manfred Bauer, mayor for Keremeos and current vice-chair of the RDOS received $14,798 in remuneration and claimed $1,699 in expenses.

Area B (Cawston) director George Bush earned $30,528 and claimed expenses of $4,772.