Marilyn James stood trial this month for criminal contempt of court. A ruling is expected next week.

COLUMN: No lack of drama in contempt trial

I’m not sure my coverage of the Marilyn James criminal contempt trial adequately conveyed the courtroom atmosphere.

I’m not sure my coverage of the Marilyn James criminal contempt trial adequately conveyed the courtroom atmosphere, which was unusual to say the least.

James is the Sinixt woman arrested on a Slocan Valley logging road in March a day after an injunction was granted to Galena Contracting. She denies obstructing the company from doing its work, although a co-accused pled guilty and received a 14-day conditional sentence. She is representing herself.

I was in the courtroom this month for the trial’s second day and listened to the audio transcript of the third and final day. A ruling is expected a week from today.

Throughout the trial, James’ voice was rarely below a bellow and she frequently scoffed at BC Supreme Court Justice Mark McEwan’s questions. Nevertheless, he gave her wide latitude, only interrupting occasionally to tell her to stick to the events in question. About a dozen of James’ supporters were in the gallery.

Amid the otherwise charged and contentious proceedings, there was one bit of levity, when James described her arrest and mimicked the sound of a police radio. McEwan couldn’t help but chuckle with everyone else. “That’s a pretty good imitation,” he said.

PAY GRID: It doesn’t surprise me that three of the City of Nelson’s top paid employees are on the hydro line crew. They have a dangerous and difficult job that requires being called out at all hours in all weather.

What’s interesting is that a lineman’s base salary is about $84,000. The $129,000 to $155,000 paid to the highest earners is the result of hundreds of hours of overtime.

Sub-foreman Garth Georgetti, one of five linemen, figures he worked 900 hours of overtime last year restoring electricity to everyone in the service area. That’s the equivalent of 24 extra weeks.

“I cannot count over the last 27 years how many of my son’s hockey games, goals, and saves I have missed including Christmas gift openings when the kids were little, family dinners and events, leaving parties, etc. because the phone rings,” he says.

He acknowledges it’s what line workers choose when they enter the trade and says most people are “extremely positive” toward them, but a minority are highly critical of what they earn.

“You’d be surprised,” he says. “Even my wife gets comments where she works. One business a couple years ago told one of the guys buying a sled that he should pay top price because of what he makes. I have almost come to blows when people who barely know me accost me in stores and embarrass me.”

Meanwhile, to put this year’s civic salaries in further context: the 37 employees making over $75,000 had a total remuneration in 2013 of $3.84 million, up from $3.8 million in 2012. That’s a one per cent hike, consistent with the 0.9 per cent increase in the consumer price index during the same time.

Employees earning under $75,000 made a combined $5.4 million in 2013, up from $5.6 million the previous year — a collective increase of 4.6 per cent. But it’s not clear from the annual statement of financial information whether staffing levels went up, down, or stayed the same. I haven’t yet been able to find out.

Just Posted

Nelson considers amnesty on parking fines

Drivers with backlogged fines would have until January to apply

EDITORIAL: Federal NDP challenges evident on Kootenay campaign trip

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh tours the Kootenays in support of local MPs, proportional representation

Columbia Basin Trust announces grant for technology upgrades

The deadline for organizations to apply is Dec. 17

Leafs fall to Braves, Twitter fight breaks out

Nelson gave up two goals in the third en route to a 4-2 loss

Cardiac arrest survivor saved by passerby

People who know CPR can now register with a new phone app to notify them of nearby emergencies

VIDEO: B.C. legislature clerk, sergeant at arms suspended for criminal investigation

Clerk of the House Craig James, Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz on administrative leave

Former NHL player and coach Dan Maloney dies at 68

Maloney coached the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets

Ex-MSU president charged with lying to police about Nassar

Lou Anna Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police during an investigation

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead under B.C. bridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

Otter makes a snack out of koi fish in Vancouver Chinese garden

Staff say the otter has eaten at least five fish

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

B.C. lumber mills struggle with shortage of logs, price slump

Signs of recovery after U.S. market swings, industry executive says

25% of Canadians still won’t say they use pot, survey says

Statistics Canada poll says Canadians on average were 18.9 years old when they first tried pot.

Kootenay music mentor crushed by stolen sax, sheet music

Anyone with information is urged to call Crime Stoppers or the Trail RCMP at 250.364.2566

Most Read