School district on hook for cost of appointed legal advisor

Private school director appointed to review board activities and make recommendations.

An advisor has been appointed by the Ministry of Education to review board activities and make recommendations for moving forward in the wake of the recent resignation of three school district trustees.

But what still isn’t known is how much it’s going to cost the taxpayers. The school board requested the appointment and will also be on the hook for the cost.

Liz Watson, who has more than 30 years experience as a lawyer and more than a decade as a leading advisor to boards, committees and CEOs, was appointed by Education Minister Mike Bernier on Wednesday, April 20.

Watson’s LinkedIn online profile also shows she is a director of the St. George’s School, an elite Vancouver private school. Premier Christy Clark’s son, Hamish Marissen-Clark attends that school.

The School District says they will have a better idea of the costs, once Watson arrives in Salmon Arm and meets with the board.

It will depend on the scope of Watson’s review and how long she will need to spend in the community.

According to a 2014 legal fees survey by Canadian Lawyer magazine, the average cost for lawyers with more than 20 years experience was $394 per hour.

The special advisor’s report is due by May 20.