Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West says his full-time job with the United Steelworkers, with its $131,000-a-year salary, does not prevent him from performing his mayoral duties.
“My record speaks for itself — I have been there for almost two years; I’m very proud of my record, I’m very proud of what our community has done, in no way shape or form has my work with the steelworkers negatively impacted the city,” West said when asked how he manages two full-time jobs.
The mayor’s job, which he won in a landslide 2018 election, pays him $135,764 a year, including expenses, according to the city, and when added to the $131,678, including expenses, from the steelworkers totals $267,442, putting him in the top 1% of Canadian taxpayers, according to Statistics Canada.
However, the mayor maintains he’s not out of touch with other PoCo citizens, and in fact, does a good job representing their concerns.
“I am very fortunate in my position,” West acknowledged, “And it’s come with a lot of hard work, but I believe that my record of standing up for the interests of the community and its people Is very well established.”
West has held the job since 2011 but his salary came to light this week in a Georgia Straight article which quoted a figure in a U.S. labour document called the LM2 Labor Organization Annual Report.
The document stated West earned $115,223 last year plus $16,455 in expenses, information The Tri-City News tried to obtain earlier this year during a report on councillor’s asset disclosures.
At the time, West wouldn’t provide his annual salary, stating privacy concerns, a position he continues to maintain, noting that it’s not uncommon for elected officials to also have other income, jobs and businesses.
“The reason it was disclosed is there is a requirement in the U.S. which I wasn’t even aware of, that unions are required to disclose all the ways they spend their money,” West said of the amount, which he says was the total sum in Canadian dollars, not U.S.
While his job description on the union website says West is a communications and political action coordinator for the district office, the LM2 document states that 20% of his salary is for political activities and lobbying.
But according to West, lobbying is not part of his job and the political work he does is educating steelworkers about the political process and how they might get involved, with most of his communications work done in the evening after his son goes to bed.
West has also been a beneficiary of financial donations for his mayoralty campaign when the B.C. steelworkers office gave him a $25,000 donation towards his election campaign.
The funds were provided prior to rule changes preventing corporate and union donations in November, of 2017, and West said they were in keeping with all of the Election BC rules and guidelines.