Emails bring new look at Virk’s role in KPU pay

 

The B.C. government will revisit an internal investigation into questions about executive compensation at Kwantlen Polytechnic University after new emails show B.C.’s advanced education minister participated in a plan to break provincial pay limits while on the school’s board three years ago. 

Minister Amrik Virk said Monday that emails tabled by the provincial NDP in the legislature had “refreshed” his memory about a questionable compensation package for a university vice-president in 2011. 

The emails contradict findings of a government report earlier this year that concluded Virk and other Kwantlen board members at the time had no knowledge of hidden preemployment deals or other perks and benefits that broke government compensation rules. 

Virk said the emails “refreshed my memory” about the contract, and he would refer the information back to assistant deputy minister Rob Mingay, who had conducted the earlier report. 

Finance Minister Mike de Jong asked Mingay to review the new information on Monday to determine if the conclusions in his June report need to be changed, said a spokesperson. 

The Opposition NDP called on Virk to resign. 

In the emails, Virk, then an RCMP officer and Kwantlen board member, reviewed the employment offer details for Kwantlen vice-president Anne Lavack and suggested a $20,000 annual research allowance was a good way to get around the government pay caps for post-secondary executives. 

“Given the low pay level of a VPA at Kwantlen and the difficulty in drawing candidates within the current pay scale, the research leave is one way to ‘top’ off the pay level,” Virk wrote in an April 11, 2011 email. 

Lavack’s compensation exceeded government caps, after her $170,000 annual salary was combined with perks including $50,000 for moving expenses, the $20,000 research allowance and a “pre-employment” consulting contract worth $50,000. 

The contract was signed by then Kwantlen president David Atkinson. 

“My review did not reveal information to suggest that the then Board of Governors was aware of the Lavack offer letter of employment or preemployment contract,” Mingay wrote in his June 17 report. 

Virk said he provided Mingay information to “the best of my recollections,” but was unable to access his old RCMP email account. He had resigned from the Mounties when elected in 2013. 

“I provided him with the information I had at hand to the best of my ability,” said Virk. 

NDP leader John Horgan accused Virk of withholding information and misleading the legislature with previous comments that he knew little of the deal. 

“Clearly, these new emails put the lie to that initial position by Mr. Virk as well as, unfortunately, the good work of Rob Mingay,” said Horgan. 

The earlier government report into Kwantlen contracts had also flagged a similar $50,000 pre-employment contract for incoming president Alan Davis in 2012. Davis has since promised to review the concerns. 

– Rob Shaw is a reporter with the Vancouver Sun.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Giants draw first blood in Western Conference championships

In Game 1 of the best-of-seven series between Vancouver and Spokane, the G-Men emerged triumphant

VIDEO: Multiple people injured after Aldergrove deck collapses during celebration

UPDATED WITH VIDEO: Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

Championship action kicks off tonight at Langley Events Centre

Giants prepare to do battle in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals Friday on home ice

PHOTOS: Langley RCMP volunteers ‘represent the best of our community’

Dozens were honoured Thursday night during the 27th annual Langley RCMP’s volunteer dinner

Langley MP describes most recent diagnosis as a ‘miracle’

Tory Member of Parliament Mark Warawa doesn’t have pancreatic cancer, but operable colon cancer

VIDEO: Alberta man creates world’s biggest caricature

Dean Foster is trying to break the world record for a radio show contest

B.C. RCMP receive application for Police Cat Services

RCMP announced the launch of the Police Cat Services unit as an April fools joke

Rats available for adoption in Vancouver

In a social media post the City of Vancouver says you can adopt a rat for $5.

Kirkland Signature veggie burgers recalled due to possible metal fragments

Recalled products came in 1.7 kg packages with a best before date of Apr. 23, 2019

Chaos at the ferry terminal for people heading from Vancouver to the Island

Easter crowds create backlog at Tsawwassen ferry terminal

Parents of 13 who tortured children get life after hearing victims

One of their daughters fled their home and pleaded for help to a 911 operator

Crews battle Burnaby blaze; 2 people sent to hospital

Emergency Support Services helping residents displaced by fire

Flooding, climate change force Quebecers to rethink relationship with water

Compensation for victims of recurring floods limit to 50% of a home’s value, or a maximum of $100,000

Storms blast South, where tornadoes threaten several states

9.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia at a moderate risk of severe weather

Most Read