Nine employees of the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) earned more than $75,000 in 2014.
According to the local government’s most recent Statement of Financial Information, Cheryl Anderson, Hans Berndorff, Gail Chapman, Janine Dougall, Deborah Jones-Middleton, Jason Llewellyn, Rory McKenzie, Corrine Swenson, and Richard Wainwright had combined wages and overtime totaling slightly more than $1.032 million for the year ended Dec. 31, 2014. Together they also received $29,948.21 in taxable benefits, and another $64,667.73 in reimbursed expenses.
The combined earnings of the nine employees in question represented nearly 41 per cent of the total remuneration of $2,541,925.48 paid to all regional district employees in 2014. The earnings of employees who received less than $75,000 from the regional district last year amounted to $1,509,576.32.
Chapman, the regional district’s Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) was the local government’s highest paid employee last year. Chapman received $207,044.65 in wages and overtime in 2014, taxable benefits valued at $3,552.80, and another $4,170.26 in reimbursed expenses.
Three employees – Berndorff, Dougall, and Llewellyn – all earned more than $100,000 last year. Berdorff, the RDBN’s financial administrator, was paid $138,812.48, received taxable benefits totaling $2,752.28, and had reimbursed expenses totaling $7,374.18. Llewellyn, director of planning for the regional district, earned $113,954.97 in wages and overtime compensation, along with $3,533.76 in taxable benefits. Reimbursed expenses added another $5,046.80 to his remuneration.
During the same period, Dougall (the regional district’s director of environmental services), had wage and overtime earnings of $107,184.21 in 2014, received taxable benefits valued at $3,179.80, and had reimbursed expenses of $7,728.55.
Anderson, McKenzie, Swenson, and Wainwright earned comparable incomes from the regional district last year.
Anderson, the local government’s manager of administrative services, earned $97,005.04 in wages and overtime compensation, taxable benefits totaling $3,751.38, and expense claims amounting $3,202.76. McKenzie, who serves as the RDBN’s field operations supervisor, received wage and overtime remuneration of $93,880.97, along with $3,383.41 in taxable benefits, and $16,796.52 for expenses incurred while on regional district business.
Chief Building Inspector Wainwright’s wage and overtime remuneration and taxable benefits ($94,639.49 and $3,414.70, respectively) were more in 2014 than McKenzie’s, but his expense claims were 43 per cent lower ($9,585.27).
Rounding out the list of regional district employees earning more than $75,000 in 2014 was Jones-Middleton, who serves as RDBN protective services manager. Jones-Middleton received $86,548.21 in wage and overtime pay, had taxable benefits totaling $3,082.16, and was given another $4,443.50 in expense money.
A number of factors combined to make last year’s regional district remuneration figures higher than what might normally be expected. Chapman noted that in 2014, regional district employees put in a total of 1,001.17 of overtime dealing with emergency situations.
“Last year was an extraordinary year for us,” said Chapman. “We operated the Emergency Operations Centre for 92 days. We had to deal with the Dome Creek cattle liner roll-over, the Cheslaslie, Chuchi, and China Nose wildfires, the Decker Lake train derailment, and the Takysie blue-green algae outbreak.”
Chapman pointed out that the base salaries of the nine employees reported as earning more than $75,000 in 2014 were, in general, lower than the amounts reported in the regional district’s 2014 statements.
Figures supplied by the regional district’s CAO suggest that the nine employees in question earned a combined $115,693 in overtime pay last year. Chapman’s reported 2014 earnings of $207,044.56 were $48,962.65 higher than her base salary of $158,082, while the $138,812.48 paid to Berndorff last year was $23,957.48 more than his base salary of $114,855.
Even without overtime pay, all nine employees listed in the regional district’s 2014 SOFI would still have earned in excess of $75,000 last year.
Chapman added that RDBN base remuneration rates are actually lower than those of other comparably-sized regional districts.
“RDBN salary ranges are five to 10 per cent less than that of the comparable RDs,” she said. “RDBN staffing levels are lower in comparison to the comparable RDs.”
The Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako provides 68 services to residents living in 77,000 square kilometres of Northern BC. It employs more than 50 people.
B.C.’s Financial Information Act requires that all public sector corporations in B.C. – including its municipalities and regional districts – file annual Statements of Financial Information.