The City of Vancouver’s highest-paid employee last year was city manager Sadhu Johnston, who earned $350,003, representing about a raise of about three per cent — or $12,000 — over the previous year.
Vancouver’s latest financial update shows the city’s payroll, which makes up about a third of the city’s $1.4-billion operating budget, has grown faster than either the rate of inflation or population growth over the last 10 years.
The city’s annual financial statement, which will be before council next week, provides a look at the city’s finances, including the salaries of the municipality’s highest-paid city employees.
“The city’s financial position remains strong,” said a city news release, calling its credit ratings “among the best for Canadian municipalities.”
The city’s total payroll for last year came to about $520 million, with another $1.7 million in employee expenses. By comparison, that’s an increase of about 21 per cent over the payroll 10 years earlier, which was about $428 million after adjusting for inflation. During that same period, employee expenses have doubled, and the city’s population has grown by about 10 per cent.
Last month, staff delivered a report to Vancouver’s new mayor and council about compounded wage increases, showing that public-safety (fire and police) wages had grown almost 19 per cent above the consumer price index, a standard measure of inflation, while Canadian Union of Public Employee wages had grown 10 per cent above CPI.
That report attributed recent increases in staffing to union agreements, additional hiring to provide better service in the permit and licensing department, regularization of temporary staff and “increased capital plan activity to support renewal and growth.”
As usual, the highest earner last year was the city manager. As the city’s senior bureaucrat, city manager Sadhu Johnston oversees the city’s $1.4-billion annual operating budget and more than 7,000 employees. Last year Johnston’s salary was $350,003, representing a raise of about three per cent — or $12,000 — over the previous year.
Johnston’s salary, and those of other senior Vancouver staffers, are roughly in line with senior officials in other big Canadian cities.
Johnston’s salary is roughly double the mayor’s salary, which was listed at $178,376 for last year. Councillors’ remuneration for last year ranged between $91,703 and $115,997, with more going to those who filled additional duties such as deputy mayor.
Johnston’s predecessor in the city-manager role, Penny Ballem, earned $334,617 in 2014, her final full year on the job, which would be closer to $357,000 adjusted for inflation.
Some of the city’s other top earners last year included:
• Chief financial officer Patrice Impey ($295,360), who came to the city in 2009 after a career as a senior financial officer in the private sector.
• General manager of parks and recreation Malcolm Bromley ($292,884), who came to Vancouver in 2010 after almost three decades working for the City of Toronto.
• City solicitor Frances Connell ($292,388), who has spent two decades as the chief legal adviser for the mayor, council and senior city staff.
• Chief engineer Jerry Dobrovolny ($291,851), a 30-year veteran of Vancouver City Hall.
• Chief planner Gil Kelley ($287,680), who came to Vancouver in 2016 from San Francisco, where he served as director of citywide planning.
• General manager of development Kaye Krishna ($282,640), who left the city last month, heading to Victoria to take the position of deputy minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
• Bill Aujla, Vancouver’s former general manager of real estate, earned $243,946 last year but left his job at city hall last July to take a vice-president role wit the Aquilini Investment Group.
• Vancouver Fire Chief Darrell Reid, who took on the role in 2017, earned $249,380 last year.
Vancouver Police Department salaries aren’t included in the city’s annual financial statement, but the VPD provided executive remuneration and expenses statements on Wednesday upon request, showing Vancouver Police Chief Adam Palmer at the top with $358,573 in remuneration last year.
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