Motion overlooks value of experience

Okanagan Skaha trustees Dave Perry and Tom Siddon announced their intention last week to bring forward a motion that would stop the district from what they see as an irresponsible practice. They want a policy change that will stop the practice of double-dipping — retired school district employees, who are drawing a pension, being rehired.

Okanagan Skaha trustees Dave Perry and Tom Siddon announced their intention last week to bring forward a motion that would stop the district from what they see as an irresponsible practice. They want a policy change that will stop the practice of double-dipping — retired school district employees, who are drawing a pension, being rehired.

That means, they say, that retiree contractors are being paid twice out of the public purse. But Siddon and Perry don’t address the concept of value for money; the need to hire the best person suited for the job. There are only two examples of their “double-dipping” recently at the school district. One is Gary Doi, who, after his retirement, was rehired under contract to fulfill the duties of school superintendent until 2009, giving the district the services of a skilled, forward-thinking executive, highly respected amongst his provincial peers.

And for the union contract negotiations earlier this year, the school board retained the services of education consultant Dave Stigant, who also happens to be a retired assistant superintendent for Okanagan Skaha; a consultant with not only experience in negotiations, but detailed knowledge of this school district.

With both incidents happening sometime past, it begs the question why Perry and Siddon are making an issue of this now. The actual motion won’t be introduced until the Nov. 14 board meeting — only days before the Nov. 19 elections.

To be fair, it should be mentioned that Perry did protest the hiring of Stigant in the spring, citing double-dipping as one of his reasons. But also to be fair, it should be pointed out that Perry is a retired teacher (eligible for a pension) and Tom Siddon is also drawing a public pension from his years serving the country as a cabinet minister.

But then, the experience that earned them their pensions, as educator and politician, is part of what makes them valuable members of the school board.

— Penticton Western News