Surrey-Tynehead MLA Amrik Virk

Amrik Virk advised Kwantlen on secret executive bonus

Advanced education minister admits he wrote emails, says it's up to Premier Christy Clark to decide if he stays in cabinet

Opposition MLAs have renewed their call for Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk to be removed from cabinet, after releasing emails showing Virk took part in discussions about a hidden bonus for a university executive.

Virk was on the Kwantlen Polytechnic University board of governors in April 2011, when an offer was made to then-University of Regina dean of business Ann Lavack for the position of vice-president academic (VPA) for Kwantlen.

Emails released by the NDP Monday show Virk, then an inspector with the Langley RCMP and a volunteer Kwantlen board member, participating in discussion to get around the B.C. salary guidelines for the job.

NDP leader John Horgan said Monday the emails were provided from a “whistleblower” at Kwantlen, who found printouts in a binder. Horgan said they contradict an internal investigation by an assistant deputy minister that determined board members were not involved in decisions to pay executives more than provincial rules allowed.

The Kwantlen VPA salary was capped at $170,000, less than what Lavack was making in Regina. The emails discuss adding $100,000 for moving expenses and a $20,000 “research allowance.”

Virk confirmed Monday that he wrote in an April 2011 email from his RCMP account: “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 said he had forgotten the email exchange, and it will be forwarded to Rob Mingay, the government official who conducted the investigation.

Asked if he should remain in cabinet, with authority over post-secondary institutions, Virk said that is up to Premier Christy Clark.

The government’s Public Sector Employers’ Council (PSEC) set salary ranges for Levack’s position at $125,000 to $175,000. When Levack was hired in 2011, she received the maximum salary, plus a $20,000-a-year research allowance and a $50,000 “consulting fee” before starting work that was not reported to PSEC.

Kwantlen president Alan Davis also received extra payments when he was hired earlier in 2011 that were not disclosed to PSEC. Davis received a $50,000 consulting fee in addition to his $225,000 salary and $35,000 to relocate from New York state.

 

Just Posted

Friends, family remember Dan Sealey, stepson of Minister of Agriculture, in private gathering

Lana Popham confirmed Sealey died of an accidental drug overdose earlier this month at age 23

PHOTOS: Uptown lights up the holiday season

Annual event drew crowd of all ages for parade and Christmas tree lighting

New figures show City of Victoria spent $30,000 to remove Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

High school graduation rates on the rise in Greater Victoria

High school completion up from 71 to 86.8 per cent over 10 years

Mommy’s Inside Voice: A little piece of you

Mommy’s Inside Voice is a biweekly column by Amie Jay, a local mother of three

Unique technology gives children with special needs more independent play

UVic’s CanAssist refined seven prototypes aided by $1.5M government contribution

Greater Victoria holiday craft fair roundup for Nov. 16 to 18

Check off all of the items on your shopping list at these great events

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 14

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

High-end B.C. house prices dropping, but no relief at lower levels

But experts say home ownership remains out of reach for many for middle- and lower-income families

Worker killed in collision at B.C. coal mine

Vehicle collision occurred at approximately 10:45 a.m. this morning

B.C. asking for tips on ‘dirty money’ in horse racing, real estate, luxury cars

Action follows a Peter German report on money laundering in B.C. casinos

Canadian dead more than a week after plane crash in Guyana: Global Affairs

Global Affairs said it couldn’t provide further details on the identity of the Canadian citizen

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

Most Read