Three City of New Westminster employees topped the $200,000 mark in 2018.
The city’s recently released statement of financial information (SOFI) lists the 268 employees earning $75,000 or more in 2018. Those employees had remuneration of nearly $29 million and city business expenses of $370,463, for a total of $29,190,814.
According to the report, city employees earning less than $75,000, excluding sworn police officers, were paid just over $26 million in remuneration and had expenses of $180,741.
All totalled, the City of New Westminster spent more than $55.8 million on employees’ wages and expenses in 2018. That compares to $54.9 million the previous year.
Of the employees named in this year’s report, three made more than $200,000 in combined remuneration and expenses, 19 earned $150,000 to $199,999, 42 were paid $125,000 to $149,999, and 97 made $100,000 to $124,999. In addition, 107 employees made the list by earning more than $75,000, but not breaking the $100,000 mark.
Lisa Spitale, the city’s chief administrative officer, once again took the top spot on the list, having remuneration of $226,559. That’s less than the $230,267 she earned in 2017.
Also topping the $200,000 mark in remuneration were Dean Gibson, director of parks and recreation, at $202,661, and fire chief Tim Armstrong at $201,603.
Rounding out the list of the Top 10 highest paid employees in 2018 (remuneration only) are: John Hatch, deputy fire chief – $192,354; Richard Fong, director of human resources – $187,238; Rod Carle, general manager of the electric utility – $186,750; Jim Lowrie, director of engineering – $185,673; Colleen Ponzini, acting chief financial officer (who was recently promoted to director of finance) – $170,930; Erin Williams, firefighter – $164,596; and Pierre Gaudreault, manager of the electrical utility – $163,880.
In April, council approved a motion by Coun. Patrick Johnstone to ask the Union of B.C. Municipalities to support amendments to the Financial Information Act that would permit local governments to report salaries and expenses in the SOFI report by job title instead of employee name.
“I don’t think that creates a respectful workplace,” he said when putting forward his motion. “I think it creates a situation where we are opening up our employees for harassment.”
Johnstone believes the annual report serves a purpose of providing transparency in how the city spends money, but he thinks the same objective can be achieved by listing employees by their job title, i.e. Planner 2.
“We have a lot of people who are not executives, people who work in the planning department, people who work in engineering – $75,000 is not an executive wage anymore,” he said. “When this act was created, and the schedule said $75,000 was the cut-off, it was kind of the cut-off between executive wages and union wages, essentially.”