In Defence of Fair Comment and an Interesting Comparison

Eric Ricker (intro by Ron Bolin)  August 12,2011

The attached Letter to the Editor was written and sent to the Daily News on July 23, several weeks ago.  As it has not been printed, despite the cogency of its questions to our local situation, I have asked and received permission from its author, Eric Ricker, a retired Professor of Educational Policy and Public Administration, to publish it here.  Eric was raised in Nanaimo and is the Editor of the book: “Nanaimo between Past and Future: Critical Perspectives on Growth, Planning and the New Nanaimo Centre” which was published by the Friends of Plan Nanaimo in 2005.  Copies are available in the library.

The Column to which he refers is by Diane Brennan and is titled:  “Ferry bigwigs get too much money”.  It  can be found at:

In 2006 Dr. Ricker raised an issue regarding the publication of letters to the editor in the Nanaimo Daily News with the BC Press Council.  The results are shown at the Press Council’s web site at:

I believe I am correct in stating that Dr. Ricker has not subsequently had a letter to the Editor published in the Daily News.

I leave it to you to determine whether Dr. Ricker’s comments are unworthy of public discussion. (RB)


To the Editor:

While interesting, Diane Brennan’s column on executive salaries at BC Ferries (July 22) stops short of the mark.  If the head honcho of Washington State Ferries is paid a mere $144, 000 or so in (lesser) US currency for transporting a comparable number passengers on an annual basis, one has to ask, how much do the rank-and-file management and ferry workers make compared to their WSF counterparts?  The answer might prove instructive in assessing the ever increasing cost of passenger and auto fares.

There’s another question that arises from Ms. Brennan’s critical posture:  If she thinks the million dollar man, David Hahn, is overpaid (and I share the sentiment), what does she have to say about the ever-ballooning executive salaries at Nanaimo’s city hall?  After all, in our medium-sized city several employees exceed the pay level set for the WSF boss.  It would be interesting to probe further to see how much city hall workers make compared to their counterparts in medium-sized cities in the state of Washington.

Ms. Brennan, of course, served on city council while executive salaries kept soaring well beyond the rate of inflation, arguably to levels local ratepayers can ill afford.  I don’t recall hearing one word of criticism from her about that.

Eric Ricker