Retroactive salary payments to firefighters created a spike in numbers in the 2015 report on Remuneration and Expenses going to Council on Monday. Retroactive salary payments cover the years 2012 through 2015. A similar spike occurred in 2013 when retroactive payments were made for the years 2010 and 2011.
Following several years of delays and overdue agreements that were common throughout the province, the City of Kelowna and the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) settled a seven-year agreement in June 2015. The result was retroactive payments for wage increases in 2012, 2013, 2014 and half of 2015 at a total cost of $2.1 million.
Wage increases followed provincially arbitrated settlements at 2.5 per cent increase per year over the life of the agreement which expires on Dec. 31 2019. “While local governments are not able to control these provincial wage settlements, the City and IAFF were able to agree on some new contract language that will help reduce costs for overtime, dispatch and administrative services,” said the City of Kelowna’s lead negotiator, Stu Leatherdale, Divisional Director of Human Resources & Corporate Performance, in a press release.
The Remuneration and Expenses report shows 156 City of Kelowna staff earned more than $100,000 of which 105 staff were firefighters. Management staff accounted for 50 of the positions paid at this level and 1 was a CUPE employee.
In addition to the retroactive pay there was an extra pay period in 2015 for all staff, which occurs once every 11 years.
“We thought it was important to issue a statement about the Remuneration and Expenses to provide context for this unusual increase,” said Leatherdale.