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Controversial Coquitlam chief re-elected

COQUITLAM(NEWS1130) – A controversial local First Nations chief has won re-election despite drawing widespread criticism last year for accepting a nearly $1-million paycheque.

Ron Giesbrecht has won a new mandate to lead the tiny Kwikwetlem First Nation in Coquitlam, which consists of only about 80 members.

The lion’s share of Giesbrecht’s $1 million in pay was a bonus for brokering a land deal with the province as the band’s economic development officer.

Some members of the band were quick to offer public messages of support for their leader, whose payday made him the highest-earning chief in the country.

But band member Ron Jackman said he was outraged by the payment because so many people are suffering in the community and had called for Giesbrecht’s resignation.

Giesbrecht has said that while four band members wanted his resignation, he had the support of the majority of the First Nation and was accountable to band members.

Giesbrecht’s 30 votes beat out his competitor’s 16 to give him the election victory in a vote conducted March 31.