Each June, media attention becomes fixed on the remuneration and expenses of local mayors and councils, perhaps the highest profile people in each municipality.
Sometimes, the mayoral remuneration can seem a bit of a shock. In 2017, Mayor Lois Jackson made $136,599.23, a number that is significantly higher than Delta councillors’ remuneration.
But it was by no means the highest amount paid in the City of Delta in 2017. In fact, Jackson’s six-figure income is only the 40th highest in the municipality.
Coming out on top is former-CAO/city manager (now mayoral candidate) George Harvie, with an salary of $316,318.47. Although he made nearly $70,000 more than the next highest paid Delta employee, his compensation is in line with the salaries of Surrey city manager Vincent Lalonde ($341,860.59) and Richmond CAO George Duncan ($312,051).
The five next highest paid employees were all directors of their respective departments. Director of engineering Steven Lan, director of parks, recreation and culture Ken Kunz, director of finance Karl Preuss, director of corporate services Sean McGill and former director of community planning and development Jeff Day all made around $250,000 a year.
City lawyer Gregory Vanstone, retired fire chief Dan Copeland and deputy director of planning (now director of community planning and development) Marcy Sangret were the only other employees to break the $200,000 mark.
Of the 39 people who made more money than the mayor, 13 are employees of the Delta Fire Department. These include deputy fire chiefs as well as battalion chiefs and captains.
Engineering department staff make up the next most populous group, with eight people making more than $138,000 a year.
Delta’s Statement of Financial Information, available through Delta’s finance department, outlines the salaries for the 364 people who make more than $75,000 a year. (Delta councillors make $63,177.03 in remuneration a year, which does not include expenses.)
In total, those 364 salaries add up to more than half of the total remuneration paid by the city in 2017: $40 million was paid to employees making more than $75,000 a year and $31 million was paid to employees making less than $75,000 a year.
Although there were many city employees who made more than the mayor, Jackson came out on top when it came to her expenses. In 2017, Jackson claimed $10,543.55 in expenses, the majority of which was incurred as part of a delegation to Ottawa and at the Union of BC Municipalities convention in late September..
The only employees whose expenses came close were Preuss, Copeland and Harvie, who claimed $8,760.88, $7,230.68 $6,774.30, respectively.
Although breakdowns of expenses were not available in the Statement of Financial Information, a Freedom of Information request showed that Harvie’s expenses were similar to Jackson’s. Much of his expenses were also incurred as part of the delegation to Ottawa, as well as about $700 for the UBCM and more than a $1,000 for membership renewals (e.g. Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators, Local Government Management Association of BC, etc.).