Late last night (September 15) the folks at CityHallWatch were kind enough to provide me with a dataset detailing the salaries of everyone (I think) employed by the City of Vancouver through 2013.
From Aanestad to Zupan, there are more than 7,500 names on this list.
The information was obtained through a freedom of information request that reportedly took nine months and the intervention of the province’s privacy commissioner to complete.
Three positions with the City of Vancouver paid between $300,000 and $350,000 in 2013. Those were fire chief (John McKearney), city manager (Penny Ballem), and director of legal services and solicitor general (Francie Connel). The FOI response excludes information related to the police department, but chief Jim Chu’s salary also falls within this bracket.
Positions four and five on the list obtained by CityHallWatch are held by Patrice Impey, general manager of financial services, and Sadhu Johnston, deputy city manager. They were paid $271,708 and $263,329, respectively.
Another seven city employees were paid between $200,000 and $300,000. Most of those titles included the phrase “general manager”. They were general managers of financial services, planning and development, engineering services, parks and recreation, community services, real estate and facilities, and human resources. The deputy city manager and the director of transportation also took home earnings exceeding $200,000.
Going down the line now, there were 49 employees who earned between $150,000 and $200,000, and 510 employees paid between $100,000 and $150,000.
Additional observations from a very quick skim of this data:
For a mid-sized city, Vancouver spends quite a bit on communications. More than $2.2 million went to spin doctors in 2013. You can read more about that here.
They don’t make a lot, but it was still interesting to learn that the city employs 13 “miniature railway conductors”. (The majority earned less than $30,000.)
I’m going to raise the possibly unpopular suggestion that we pay too many firefighters a little too much. In 2013, Vancouver’s fire chief, John McKearney, was the highest-paid employee in the city. His salary was $347,762 (that number was inflated by changes to earned time benefits and is expected to decrease in 2014). Working under him, I counted roughly (I was counting very quickly) 125 firefighters that took home six figures in 2013.
It’s no surprise, but city hall spends a ton on lawyers. More than 20 people holding the title of solicitor were paid more than $150,000.
The city spends quite a bit on tree pruning. Ten tree pruners earned more than $60,000 in 2013. Another eight were paid between $50,000 and $60,000.
Finally, there are quite a few conspicuous disparities between salaries that went to people holding very similar positions. When these documents inevitably find their way to the public, they’ll likely make for interesting chatter at 12th and Cambie.