Sidney to start paying its official town crier

Honorarium of $1,500 to cover expenses while working on behalf of the community

Sidney will pay its town crier $1,500 in an annual honorarium.

Town council in September approved the honorarium to assist whoever holds the job “in deferring travel, regalia and other expenses.” The amount of money Sidney has set aside in the 2015 budget is more than other municipalities on the Island that retain town criers.

Tricia Mayea reported to the News Review that the City of Duncan has offered its town crier a $600 yearly honorarium since 2013. Duncan has had a town crier since 1995, a position currently held by Ben Buss. Mayea added the municipality also paid for Buss’ costume.

The District of Sooke currently does not have a town crier, stated Bonnie Sprinkling, Sooke’s corporate officer, adding the Sooke Region Historical Society is looking for one. The municipality does not have a remuneration policy for a town crier.

Sidney’s town crier terms of reference allow for a flat amount to be paid to a town crier who is not an elected official.

Currently, Kenny Podmore holds the job (he is also Oak Bay’s town crier and has been for approximately 14 years) and has been a town councillor since 2008.

He has been town crier since the late 1990s and was fulfilling the role in Oak Bay prior to assuming the mantle in Sidney.

Oak Bay did not answer the News Review’s inquiry as to its town crier policy or remuneration.

Podmore is not running for re-election. Had he remained in office, as town crier he would only be paid the honorarium upon submission of expense claims, supported by receipt.

Under the new policy, Sidney’s official town crier must be appointed, or have the appointment reconfirmed, once every council term.