Pay increases ‘out of line,’ according to Abbotsford councillor

Abbotsford's payroll increased by 8.4 per cent last year.

Thirty-one city employees saw their incomes increase by more than 10 per cent in 2011, costing taxpayers an additional $462,000.

Last week, the city released a list of employees who earned more than $75,000. Of those 211 people, 89 earned more than $100,000.

In total, Abbotsford’s employee payroll was more than $3.5 million higher in 2011 than in 2010.

That’s equivalent to a municipal tax hike of about 3.5 per cent.

The 2010 total payroll was $42.2 million. In 2011, it rose to $45.8 million – about 8.4 per cent.

Abbotsford Coun. Henry Braun said that figure is “not realistic.”

“We can’t afford this,” he said, adding the world financial system has changed. He called the increase “unsustainable” and “out of line.”

Unionized employees got a three per cent increase in 2011, and Braun said the overall figure should be closer to that level.

He pointed to the city’s 1.6 per cent increase in municipal taxes this year, noting it wouldn’t have covered last year’s earning increase.

“I still haven’t got my arms around how this happened,” he said, adding “you have to be a forensic accountant” to go over the city statements.

Braun said staff have to stop comparing wage brackets with other cities, like Surrey or Langley, which have residents with higher per household incomes.

“They have to be in line with our city,” Braun said. “There would be very few people who got raises, as a percentage, as what our employees got.”

Pat Soanes, general manager of finance and corporate services, said the 8.4 per cent overall increase was impacted by a previous oversight.

It was found that some taxable benefits were not being included in total staff earnings, she said. These included medical services payments, car allowances and some extended health benefits.

Soanes said that totalled about $800,000 paid on behalf of employees, which wasn’t reported in previous years.

“In reporting it in 2011, it makes 2011 numbers look considerably higher than the previous year.”

Soanes broke down the 8.4 per cent overall increase as follows:

Two per cent for the taxable benefits; three per cent for union contracts and non-union compensation; 1.7 per cent for length of service increases; 0.7 per cent for reclassification of positions (promotions); 0.5 per cent for overtime; and 0.5 per cent for retirement gratuity.

Income increases can be impacted by several factors, including salary increase, overtime, and buying out holidays.

Of the 211 names on the list, 80 were in the fire department and have the potential to earn overtime; six employees earned less than last year; and 33 were not on last year’s payroll, so no comparison could be made.

That left 92 employees on the list who received increases in 2011.

Of those, 24 saw their income rise by five per cent or less; 37 saw an increase ranging from 5.1 to 10 per cent; 21 earned between 10.1 and 15 per cent more; and 10 had hikes of more than 15 per cent.

Just Posted

Linnea Labbee outside the Chilliwack Law Courts on April 1, 2021 on day 16 of her trial in BC Supreme Court. Labbee was convicted April 12 for the fatal hit-and-run of 78-year-old Fourghozaman Firoozian on Dec. 1, 2016. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Sentencing hearing scheduled for 72-year-old Chilliwack woman found guilty in fatal hit-and-run

Crown will seek jail time for Linnea Labbee who struck and killed 78-year-old woman in 2016

Vera Stryjak (left) of Seattle and her mom Helen Serafimova of Abbotsford have benefited from the Archway Social Prescribing Program for Seniors. (Submitted photos)
Abbotsford program links vulnerable seniors to health supports

Archway Social Prescribing Program helps with community connections and more

Satwinder Bains of Abbotsford is the recipient of the 2021 aculty Service Excellence Award from University of the Fraser Valley. (UFV photo)
Satwinder Bains receives UFV Faculty Service Excellence Award

Bains has guided South Asian Studies Institute as director since 2006

The City of Abbotsford has prepared a draft Urban Forest Strategy that is now headed to public consulation.
Draft plan adopted for managing Abbotsford’s urban forests over next 25 years

Urban Forest Strategy now heads to public-consultation process

Country music star Chris Lane stops in Abbotsford next February. (Submitted)
Country music star Chris Lane coming to Abbotsford

Multi-platinum artist bringing ‘Fill Them Boots’ to Abbotsford Centre on Feb. 19, 2022

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Fire near Highway 97 C close to Merritt. (Facebook)
Wildfire burning near Highway 97C

The fire is an estimated nine hectares in size

Athena and Venus, ready to ride. (Zoe Ducklow - Sooke News Mirror)
Goggling double-dog motorcycle sidecar brings smiles to B.C. commuters

Athena and Venus are all teeth and smiles from their Harley-Davidson sidecar

Kimberly Bussiere and other laid-off employees of Casino Nanaimo have launched a class-action lawsuit against the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
B.C. casino workers laid off during pandemic launch class-action lawsuit

Notice of civil claim filed in Supreme Court of B.C. in Nanaimo against Great Canadian Gaming

A Photo from Sept. 2020, when First Nations and wild salmon advocates took to the streets in Campbell River to protest against open-pen fish farms in B.C.’s waters. On Dec. 17, federal fisheries minister Bernadette Jordan announced her decision to phase out 19 fish farms from Discovery Islands. Cermaq’s application to extend leases and transfer smolts was denied. (Marc Kitteringham/Campbell River Mirror)
Feds deny B.C.’s Discovery Island fish farm application to restock

Transfer of 1.5 million juvenile salmon, licence extension denied as farms phased out

John Kromhoff with some of the many birthday cards he received from ‘pretty near every place in the world’ after the family of the Langley centenarian let it be known that he wasn’t expecting many cards for his 100th birthday. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
Cards from all over the world flood in for B.C. man’s 100th birthday

An online invitation by his family produced a flood of cards to mark his 100th birthday

FILE – Nurse Iciar Bercian prepares a shot at a vaccine clinic for the homeless in Calgary, Alta., Wednesday, June 2, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
B.C. scientists to study effectiveness of COVID vaccines in people with HIV

People living with HIV often require higher doses of other vaccines

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read