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Here's what top employees are earning at Port Coquitlam city hall

Compensation to employees rose last year in Port Coquitlam as workers returned to their jobs.
Port Coquitlam City Hall.

Port Coquitlam is slowly regaining staff as city operations are restored to pre-pandemic levels, new documents show.

However, not all employees have been hired back as quickly, according to the city’s latest statement of financial information (SOFI).

Workers earning $75,000 or more a year have gained ground since before the pandemic, with $1.7 million more paid out in salaries and expenses in 2021 compared to 2019 before COVID-19 and a jump of $2.6 million over 2020 payouts.

Recovery of workers earning $75,000 has been slower; total compensation for these workers last year was $1.4 million less than in 2019 and $300,000 less than 2020, reflecting ongoing staffing challenges when many programs were cancelled.

Here’s how the numbers stack up according to SOFI reports between 2019 and 2021:

Compensation paid to employees earning 75,000 or more

  • 2019 $20.5 million
  • 2020 $19.6 million
  • 2021 $22.2 million

Compensation paid to employees earning $75,000 or less

  • 2019 $12.1 million
  • 2020 $11 million
  • 2021 $10.7 million

In recent months, recreation staff have been hired back, enabling the city to open its outdoor pools and plan to extend hours at the Port Coquitlam Community Centre.

What is the Statement of Financial Information?

Sometimes called a “sunshine” document because salaries are made public, the annual SOFI is a document detailing the city’s financial position at the end of the year. 

The 2021 SOFI was recently approved by PoCo city council.

Also notable in the statement was an increase in compensation to Mayor Brad West.

The mayor received $40,000 in a retirement allowance, which reflects a change approved by council last June when a decision was made to convert a transition allowance approved in 2015 to regular payments throughout the year.

The retiring allowance is paid on each pay cheque based on an amount equal to the employer’s rate for the municipal pension plan.

Meanwhile, councillors, who face re-election this fall, continue to receive a base pay package of $44,705, except for Coun. Laura Dupont, whose base pay in 2021 was $40,482. She was paid less due to time she spent as a candidate in the 2021 federal election.

Expenses were paid last year as well, and ranged from a low of $831 paid to Coun. Steve Darling to a high of $3,301 paid to Mayor West.

The top five highest-paid bureaucrats with the City of Port Coquitlam are as follows:

1. Karen Grommada, director, finance/deputy CAO - $209,660 

2. Robert Bremner, chief administrative officer - $199,610

3. Robert Kipps, fire chief - $186,736 

4. John Macdonald, deputy fire chief operations - $163,999 

5. Jeffrey Sweet, deputy fire chief operations - $163,947