Chief Ron Giesbrecht won't resign after $1M payday controversy
Kwikwetlem First Nation chief says he has band's support following controversy over $800,000 bonus
Chief Ron Giesbrecht of the Kwikwetlem First Nation in B.C. says he's not going anywhere.
The chief has been facing calls for his resignation since it was revealed that he was paid nearly $1 million in compensation last year.
"I’ve been on the phone since last week talking to all band members and I have their support that they support me not to resign," Giesbrecht said in an interview with CBC Radio earlier today.
According to documents released last week, Giesbrecht was paid $914,219 last year. His salary as chief was $4,800 and $80,000 for economic development officer. He also received a bonus of $800,000.
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The bonus was for his role as economic development officer for the band. His contract stipulated he was entitled to a bonus equivalent to 10 per cent of all economic activity he brought to the community.
Giesbrecht said that he knew about the bonus when he took over the position but he never expected to receive that much money.
"I took over economic development and in that economic development contract there was a 10 per cent bonus and to our amazement, we never expected to make so much money in one year."
Councillor Marvin Joe, who has been head of the 81-member First Nation in the past and has been critical of the chief’s pay, says he’s still calling on Giesbrecht to resign and wants him to return the money he was paid.
"I just think it’s wrong. The million dollars, that money belongs to the membership. That belongs to the children, to the elders, for our homes, for our future. It does not belong to one individual," he said.
"I don’t care if there is a 10 per cent bonus clause in there."
Community is improving, chief says
According to the financial documents, the biggest source of revenue for the band located in the Coquitlam area, was $8,225,000 from the Province of British Columbia.
Giesbrecht said he can't discuss details of the deal with the province, but said the band has benefited from the funds.
"In the last 12 months, we’ve built 12 [housing] units… as well as we’re putting a new road in, putting in underground power to bring people back home. As well as our health program and our elder support and youth support programs that we’ve set up."
Giesbrecht said the band is creating a board to oversee economic development and any future bonuses.
The financial documents were released in accordance with the government's new First Nation Financial Transparency Act.
The Kwikwetlem First Nation has 81 members.