Research shows district staffers rise above pay fray

Editor’s note: This is the first article in a Westerly News series, the Beggars’ Checklist.

Over several weeks, the Westerly will take a deeper look into municipal spending habits.

The Beggar’s Checklist is a tenpoint rundown of suggestions for municipal governments to manage costs before relying on raising property taxes or seeking assistance from other levels of government.

It was introduced by the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation, an advocacy group promoting accountable government and lower taxes.

Ucluelet and Tofino spend similar dollars on their respective district staffs and councils.

Ucluelet CAO Andrew Yeates received $133,068 in 2012, which was right in line with the $132,744 salary Tofino’s then-CAO Braden Smith made in 2012.

Their salaries were both dwarfed by Port Coquitlam (pop. 56,342) CAO Tony Chung’s $429,566 salary and to a lesser degree by Nanaimo (pop. 83,810) city manager Al Kenning’s $230,315 salary.

Ucluelet’s population is around 1,627 and Tofino’s is around 2,000.

Yeates and Smith’s 2012 salaries put them in the ballpark of Parksville (pop. 11,977) CAO Fred Manson’s $146,246 and Port Alberni (pop. 17,743) city manager Kenneth Watson’s $154,833.

Port McNeill (pop. 2,700) paid two employees over $75,000 in 2012 with Public Works Foreman Glen Boyd making $87,971 and CAO Sue Harvey making $82,907.

Port Alberni paid 24 employees, excluding Watson, over $75,000 in 2012. In 2005, the median household income in Port Alberni was about $43,624.

In Ucluelet four employees, excluding Yeates, earned over $75,000 in 2012.

Manager of planning Patricia Abdullah made $92,258, parks and recreation manager Abby Fortune

made $87,675, manager of finance Jeanette O’Connor made $78,167, and manager of public works Warren Cannon made $76,168.

Ucluelet paid about $1,017,111 to staff whose annual salaries came in under $75,000.

According to the Ucluelet economic development strategy (UEDS) document published in April 2012 the average local was earning $23,923 in 2005.

The document suggests seasonal workers skewed this number and that the actual median earnings for a Ucluelet local worked in the community year-round was $42,507 in 2005.

According to BCStats the average income in Tofino was $22,696 in 2006 but these numbers may also have been skewed by seasonal employment. Tofino paid five employees, excluding Smith, over $75,000 in 2012.

Equipment operator George Hubery made $98,528, deputy clerk Michelle Martineau made $78,452, manager of public works and building inspection Robert Schantz made

$77,316, former parks and now-former recreation director Sally Mole made $76,843, and manager of community sustainability Aaron Rodgers made $76,985.

Tofino paid about $955,567 in district salaries under $75,000.

Included strictly for transparency purposes and not to be used for comparison, this reporter grossed about $30,305 in 2013.

Ucluelet paid its fivemember municipal council $110,464 in 2012.

Dario Corlazzoli received $20,102, now-former councillor Derek Drake received $23,862, Geoff Lyons received $19,522, Randy Oliwa received $18,142 and Mayor Bill Irving received $28,834.

Tofino’s municipal belts were pulled tighter as the community paid its sevenmember council $98,649. Al Anderson received $13,438, Dorothy Baert received $14,058, Garth Cameron received 11,841, Duncan McMaster received $13,433, Cathy Thicke received $13,177 Ray Thorogood received $13,253, and now-former Mayor Perry Schmunk received $19,445.

Parksville paid its sevenmember council $118,169 with Mayor Christian Burger receiving $33,440. Port Alberni paid its sevenmember council $109,674, with Mayor John Douglas receiving $32,289.

Port McNeill paid its fivemember council $35,189 with Mayor Gerry Furney receiving $10,823. .reporter@westerlynews.ca