City payroll tops $70M

The City of Kelowna payroll has surpassed $70 million for the first time.

Figures released in the city's annual report show payroll for 2017 reached $70.8 million, a 4.7 per cent increase over the $67.6 million spent the previous year.

Stu Leatherdale, the city's HR and corporate performance divisional director, says several factors contributed to the increase. One of those was the $700,000 the city spent in overtime during the 131-day activation of the Emergency Operations Centre for floods and wildfires last year.

While the city did receive that money back from the province, Leatherdale says the domino effect of a lengthy operation of the EOC is not accounted for.

"What they won't reimburse us for is hours we spend during our regular day," he said.

"The effect that has is, for 131 days we had a ton of staff working in the EOC, getting behind on their regular work and, once the emergency is over, we're catching up."

Other factors included negotiated wage increases of between 1.5 and 2 per cent, an increase in general overtime, and the hiring of about 20 additional staff.

"We're a growing city with a lot of demand for services.... The thing we try to do is figure out the best way to deliver those services, whether it's with our staff or contracting with businesses in the community."

The city has 827 full-time employees and, as part of its financial disclosure, reports 380 employees took home more than $75,000 in 2017. That number includes 118 in management, 111 firefighters and 151 CUPE workers.

Forty per cent of those (153) earned more than $100,000, with nearly 65 per cent being firefighters.

Former city manager Ron Mattiussi pulled in the biggest paycheque at $306,000, an increase of $38,000 over his 2016 earnings.

The remainder of the top five earners includes:

  • Joe Creron, deputy city manager - $212,000
  • Alan Newcombe, infrastructure divisional director - $194,000
  • Sam Samaddar, airport manager - $189,000
  • Carla Weadon, corporate strategic services directional director - $177,000

Incoming city manager Doug Gilchrist pulled in $170,000, a salary that will increase with his new position.

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