Big bucks for Coquitlam city hall
Coquitlam city hall has about the same payroll as it did two years ago but fewer people are on it.
According to a report released this week, 86 city employees took home more than $100,000 in 2010 versus 49 in 2008 — a difference of 37 staff members.
At Monday’s city council meeting, Coquitlam’s financial services manager, Sheena MacLeod, talked about the belt-tightening city hall has faced during the global economic meltdown, including not filling vacant jobs.
“We have come through a pretty difficult few years,” she said, noting the 2011 finances are expected to fare better.
But leaving jobs open has not come without costs.
Yesterday, Mayor Richard Stewart acknowledged the city has had to pay staff for taking on larger workloads.
“We have been managing vacancies very strictly,” he said. “It does mean that you end up back-filling with people serving two positions or more.
“You end up getting more of your employees but it’s not sustainable,” he added. “You end up burning them out... Some of the new positions may well be related to the burst of [development] activity we’ve had this year.”
The 2010 Schedule of Employee Remunerations and Expenses shows the following city staff earned more than $150,000 in 2010 in salaries, benefits and other pay:
• Peter Steblin, city manager: $228,363;
• John DuMont, deputy city manager: $204,126;
• Bill Susak, general manager of engineering and public works: $182,760;
• Jim McIntyre, GM planning and development: $180,202;
• Lori MacKay, GM parks, recreation and culture: $175,332;
• Maurice Gravelle, GM strategic initiatives: $172,463;
• Sheena MacLeod, manager financial services: $165,737;
• Tony Delmonico, fire chief: $165,615;
• David Wanner, engineering inspector: $164,219;
• Tom Boechler, deputy fire chief, operations: $163,668;
• Lisa Parkes, manager legal and bylaw enforcement: $156,930;
• Pat McPhillips, assistant fire chief: $156,581.
As well, the report shows Coquitlam politicians collected $510,000 last year in wages; they also racked up another $85,243 in expenses — up more than $23,000 from ’08.
Mayor Stewart earned a base salary of $117,939 and claimed $15,382 in expenses.
Councillors’ wages last year were $51,770 each, except for Coun. Neal Nicholson, who received $29,871 as he was elected in the May 2010 byelection to replace Fin Donnelly.
But councillors’ expenses charged to the city varied considerably: Coun. Barrie Lynch tallied the highest expenses at $17,878 while first-term councillors Linda Reimer and Selina Robinson billed $12,222 and $9,533 respectively.
Tuesday, Lynch said his expenses were primarily for his duties with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (he was a voting member for the B.C. caucus last year), including for attending an FCM meeting in Iqaluit, N.U. As well, he attended annual conferences in Toronto for the FCM, in Whistler for the Union of BC Municipalities and in Harrison Hot Springs for the Lower Mainland Local Government Association.
Reimer went to those three conferences as well and claimed for some Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce events, she said. Robinson also attended local conferences last year, saying, “As a new councillor, I find them very useful.”