Changing job titles and covering two positions at the same time account for some double-digit salary increases for Qualicum Beach town managers, says the deputy chief administrative officer.
Interestingly, the person who received the highest amount remuneration from the town in 2014 was Mark Brown at $155,424. The town announced Brown’s retirement in October of 2013.
With the list of remuneration and expenses for staff making more than $75,000 a year released as part of the required Annual Municipal Report, The NEWS received some complaints from resident Tony Wilde, who tabulated figures to show that some non-union employees received increases of as much as 15 and 25 per cent in recent single years.
But deputy CAO John Marsh said those increases were due to some change in the individual’s employment situation like changing job titles, covering two jobs for a time, or being paid out for vacation time they didn’t have time to take.
“We have lost a number of senior staff in the last couple years,” Marsh said. For example, Marsh pointed to the fact he took on the role of acting CAO while the town looked for a replacement for Mark Brown.
Marsh also pointed to situations like the promotion of Heather Svensen from deputy to corporate administrator and the elimination of the deputy position, meaning that while her salary increased by around $20,000, the town actually saved $60,000 a year.
He said similarly Bob Weir and Luke Sales’ remuneration increased substantially because in both cases their roles changed considerably and other positions were eliminated.
Marsh said that the total amount paid in management salaries is in fact down $250,000 from what it was in 2011 through the elimination of three exempt, or management, positions.
The release of the figures comes at a time when the town and its union employees are negotiating a new deal. The last contract expired in 2013 and union members voted 94 per cent in favour of strike action in May.
Marsh said the remuneration of exempt (non-unionized) town staff is pegged to the Victoria Consumer Price Index, or inflation rates. Inflation has risen 8.17 per cent since 2010, according to the Bank of Canada. Here’s a look at what the top-five (by salary) senior town staff made in 2014, with 2010 salaries in brackets (not including expenses): CFO John Marsh, $147,167 ($119,623); Engineer Bob Weir, $127,509 ($102,656); Planning director Luke Sales, $109,982 ($77,975); Corporate administrator Heather Svensen, $105,540 ($75,766); Fire chief Darryl Kohse, $99,642 ($88,306).