10/13/2011 10:17 EDT | Updated 12/13/2011 05:12 EST

Deborah Robinson: Acadia First Nation Quietly Cuts Chief's Salary To $130,000 After Complaints

Mi'kmaq Rights Initiative
HALIFAX - Two councillors with a Nova Scotia native band say their chief's salary and travel expenses have been slashed from over $400,000 to a limit of $150,000 annually.

Todd Labrador and Andrew Francis, councillors with the 1,000-member Acadia First Nation, said on Thursday that Chief Deborah Robinson's total compensation package as of Nov. 1 will be $130,000 annually for salary and $20,000 for travel costs.

According to a March 31, 2010 audited financial statement provided to The Canadian Press by a band member, Robinson made a salary of about $258,000 and also received travel expenses of $72,000 and other "remuneration and reimbursements" of about $138,000.

Labrador and Francis confirmed that made Robinson's total compensation and expense package worth about $468,000 as of that date, and they said they were the most recent figures they were aware of prior to the cuts.

Labrador and Francis say eight councillors held a closed-door meeting about two weeks ago to reduce the chief's salary and to limit councillor total salaries to $80,000 each because they had been hearing complaints from members of band, which includes five communities.

Labrador says a barricade of the gas station on the Gold River reserve, one of the Acadia communities, by residents disgruntled over layoffs of employees and council's salary levels, also played a role in his decision.

He said a majority of the eight councillors voted in favour of the salary change, but Robinson does not cast a ballot unless it's a tie vote.