May 31, 2014 10:21 am
Updated: May 31, 2014 3:44 pm

Letter to the premier goes viral after school psychologist docked pay for job action

VANCOUVER – An open letter to the premier from a school district employee in the Kootenays is gaining attention online.

Psychologist Todd Kettner worked 70 hours of unpaid overtime, along with other educators, after a boating accident on Slocan Lake left four young people dead.

When he opened his paycheck, close to $600 had been deducted for job action he didn’t take.

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Kettner was so angry he wrote a Facebook post addressing the premier on this issue.

It’s been shared more than 4,000 times since he put it up on Wednesday.

“To throw all that time and energy into doing what you love doing, which is supporting children, supporting youth, and then to have that public lack of gratitude,” says Kettner.

“I guess I conveyed what some other people are feeling too because people have told me it matches their experience.”

In part, the letter reads:

Today ended for me after my own children had already eaten supper when I finally arrived home at 7:00 p.m. After working more than 70 hours of unpaid overtime in the past 16 days, I opened my paycheck to see that – even prior to tomorrow’s first scheduled strike day in our district – you had deducted $596.82 from my family’s income for what you describe on my paystub as “job action.”

Read Todd Kettner’s full letter here.

The government has released a statement about Kettner’s situation reading:

Kootenay Lake School District (SD 8) informed Todd Kettner yesterday that  BCPSEA is granting an exemption to reduction of pay due to trauma and safety issues.

BCPSEA recognizes that Mr. Kettner has been working extensive hours due to the drowning tragedy in New Denver (SD 10 Arrow Lakes) and an attempted suicide of a student in SD 8.

The normal practice for counsellors in SD8 is that if they work excessive hours that they get these hours compensated later in the form of lieu time.  This will occur in Mr. Kettner’s case.

With respect to the 10%, because payroll had to get out and the hours of the strike must be done on the May payroll, all teachers had their pay reduced by the 10%. Then afterwards, any exemptions/anomalies will be taken care of and corrected.

Mr. Kettner is one of those corrections because he had to work through recess, lunch hour, and before and after the 45 minute restriction because the students needed counselling at these times.

BCPSEA is willing to work with school districts to address unique circumstances.  In this case, Mr. Kettner will be exempted from the partial lockout and will not have his pay reduced by 10%.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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