Pennell defends his spending record

"Do you want us to work? If so, it comes at a cost," says director for Wells Gray Country (Area A), Tim Pennell

Wells Gray Country (Area A) director Tim Pennell

Wells Gray Country (Area A) director Tim Pennell

“It’s frustrating whenever the directors’ pay and expenses are released,” said Tim Pennell. “I’ve never heard anything but positive responses locally, but with the Kamloops papers it’s always ‘the pigs to the trough.'”

The Thompson-Nicola Regional District director for Wells Gray Country (Area A) was responding to the recent release of the TNRD directors’ reimbursement and expenses for 2011.

As reported in an article on page one, Pennell’s total of $47,088 was the highest of any board member.

A big factor in the difference is he was asked by the board about one year ago to be a representative on the Fraser Basin Council.

That body meets fairly regularly, and he gets paid for attending meetings. And because those meetings tend to be far away, his expenses have risen accordingly.

The money to pay for his participating in the Council are paid for by the TNRD as a whole, he pointed out, not Wells Gray Country.

Nevertheless, he felt the contacts he makes and information he gathers helps his local constituents.

More extra pay comes to him because he is on the regional district’s solid waste management committee. He was committee vice-chair last year and is chair this year.

Another additional expense in 2011 resulted from Pennell attending the Federation of Canadian Municipalities convention. Typically, directors attend every three years and last year was his turn.

Speaking last week, Pennell said he had traveled 1,000 km over the previous 2 1/2 days, attended eight meetings in Kamloops, Penticton, Pritchard and then Kamloops again.

“Anyone who wants to see my calendar is welcome. It’s full,” he said. “Do you want us to work? If so, it comes at a cost.”