City of Kelowna total payroll tops $70 million

The city paid out $70.8 million in total remuneration to its employees last year

Kelowna city hall on Water Street. —Image: Capital News file

The city of Kelowna’s annual payroll is now just under $71 million.

In 2017, the city saw it’s total payroll rise 4.7 per cent—or $3.2 million—to $70.8 million, the highest it has ever been according to a report from its human relations divisional director Stu Leatherdale.

According to Leatherdale, a large part of the increase was due to the overtime employees had to work as a result of the 131-day activation of the Emergency Operation Centre, prompted by the serious flooding and fires last year. That added $700,000 to the total.

In his report,Leatherdale said a number of city staff, including former city manager Ron Mattiussi, spent many hours in the EOC, well beyond their regular work day hours for the city.

As a result, there had to be payouts for vacation time that could not be taken and that added to the overall total.

Another large contributing factor—accounting for between one and two per cent of the increase—was wage hikes.

The city saw 24 more employees, including three managers, surpass the $75,000 per year mark in 2017, bringing the total to 380. Of that number 118 were managers, 111 were firefighters and 151 were lower level employees who are members of the union that represents city workers, CUPE.

Related story: And the top earner at Kelowna city hall is…

The biggest earner at the city last year was its top bureaucrat, former city manger Ron Mattiussi, who retired earlier this summer. In 2017 his total remuneration was 306,000, a $38,000 increase over what he earned in 2016.

Following him on the list was deputy city manager Joe Creron at $212,000, infrastructure divisional director Alan Newcombe at $194,000, airport manager Sam Samddar at $198,000 and corporate strategic services director Carla Weadon at $177,000.

The man who has now succeeded Mattiussi as city manger, former community planning and strategic investment divisional director Doug Gilchrist received $170,000 in total remuneration last year. That will increase as of this year with his appointment to the top job at city hall.

Meanwhile, in 2017, Mayor Colin Basran received $93,500, with one-third of that tax-free. His eight councillors received $33,000 each with one-third tax-free. The tax-free allowance will be eliminated for municipal politicians by Revenue Canada starting Jan. 1, 2019. But council recently voted itself a raise to cover the change because it argues the elimination of the tax-free perk amounts to a pay cut.

In addition to their pay, all council members, with the exception of Coun. Mohini Singh and Coun. Luke Stack, filled for expenses last year. The claims by councillors ranged between $2,040 and $4,848 and the mayor claimed $12,896 in expenses.

Council will receive the financial report for 2017 at its upcoming meeting on Monday.

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