Kelowna defends salary structure
Jul 26, 2012 / 2:18 pm
Comments made by BC Finance Minister, Kevin Falcon, are not sitting well with Kelowna City Hall.
Falcon told reporters he's 'frustrated' at what he calls 'spiraling municipal wages and benefits.'
He claims over the past five years municipal wage levels have risen more than 20%.
Falcon says those types of increases, at a time when the rest of the world is tightening its fiscal belt, are not sustainable.
Since 2008, wages paid out by the City of Kelowna have risen by about 17.5% from 49.2M in 2008 to $57.8M in 2011.
Acting City Manager, Doug Gilchrist, says he believes the wage and benefits package provided by the city is indeed sustainable.
Gilchrist says he feels the city is quite responsible when it comes to wages.
"I think you have to consider wages as part of your whole financial package and whether or not you are creating a sustainable financial package for your citizens. We have managed here, I think, to keep taxes relatively low," says Gilchrist.
"Council has responded well to the economy in the previous years with a low tax increase and I think they are probably committed to try and continue to achieve that at least until the economy improves."
In terms of wages, Gilchrist says the city is well positioned to attract top talent in comparison with other private sector areas.
"We do go through cycles no different than with private industry where, at times, it is very hard to attract people from private industry of from government agencies and we do have to be competitive," adds Gilchrist.
"At times when the economy is slow people do look to government jobs for a certain level of security. With that said we do pride ourselves in trying to keep an efficient workforce in place."
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