Mayor balks at criticism of municipal salaries

Ernie Daykin says study, by consultants Ernst and Young, faulty.

Maple Ridge Mayor Ernie Daykin is siding with the Union of B.C. Municipalities in blasting a provincial study of municipal salaries.

The report, by consultants Ernst and Young, was conducted as part of the province’s core review, launched last year, and found unionized municipal workers received pay hikes totaling 38 per cent from 2001 to 2012 – twice as much as the 19-per-cent in raises for unionized provincial government staff.

Inflation over the same period was 23 per cent.

Daykin said the study is faulty because it used numbers without checking with municipalities. The municipal salaries included wages earned by B.C. Ferries employees and TransLink.

“That’s one of the flaws in the study.”

UBCM president Rhona Martin said the authors didn’t consult cities or unions and showed a “lack of objectivity” and relied heavily on provincial data and anti-tax lobby groups like the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

Maple Ridge finance general manager Paul Gill said it’s not a case of a workers receiving across- the-board wage hikes of 38 per cent.

Instead, that increase is a result of the effect of compounding pay increases, as well as the effect of new employees getting regular increases as they move through the pay grid.

A case in point is the dozens of new firefighters the city has hired.

“If somebody said our wage bill went up 38 per cent over 11 years, I would not be surprised,” Gill said. “To imply that somebody in the same job … without any changes, their numbers have gone up, I don’t think that’s a correct way of representing the issue.”

Municipalities also have to deal with high rates of growth. Maple Ridge’s population jumped from 63,000 in 2001 to 80,000 in 2013. To keep up, police and fire costs have more than tripled to more than $30 million annually.

According to a 2001 financial report, Maple Ridge’s general and administrative expenses rang in $5.4 million. Twelve years later, they were at $16.6 million.

In 2001, Maple Ridge had 233 full-time employees compared to 367 in 2013.

The district is also hauling in more cash, however.

In 2001, total general revenue was $71 million.

In 2014, the projection is for $151 million in general revenue.

Daykin also pointed out cities have keep up with pay raises awarded through arbitration and must pay for police and fire services, which increase with population growth.

Maple Ridge previously proposed that the municipal auditor general be enlisted to help cities determine policies for setting councillors’ salaries, but that was rejected by the UBCM.

Daykin welcomed provincial oversight of municipal operations.

“But we want the same lens put on their books.”

The provincial government can’t even manage its own legislative expenses, he added.

The report also notes several larger B.C. cities pay their chief administrators close to $230,000 a year, similar to the 2011 salary of an average provincial government deputy minister.

In 2013, Maple Ridge’s chief administrator Jim Rule, made just under $229,000.

The review of municipal pay levels ordered by the province recommends the government act to help rein in rapidly escalating wages among unionized civic workers and some administrators.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

During a scenic, but chilling ride on a sunny Saturday, Oct. 24 Ron Paley captured photos of the nearby mountains lightly covered with snow. (Special to The News)
SHARE: 26km bike ride nets mix of fall colours

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon

(Image by Ulrike Leone from Pixabay)
QUIZ: A celebration of colour

Fall in British Columbia is a time to enjoy a spectrum of vivid colours

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Mounties looking for teen boy ‘unlawfully at large’ from Riverview psychiatric hospital

Nolan Godron left the hospital, located at 2721 Lougheed Highway in Coquitlam, without consent on Saturday

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

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

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

BC Hydro map showing where power has been knocked out is dotted with over a dozen outages. (BC Hydro map screenshot)
Thousands without power in Lower Mainland on election day

One outage in Langley and Surrey is affecting over 4,000 customers

One dead after fiery crash near Agassiz

Agassiz RCMP report a 56-year-old man died Friday night

Most Read