Pitt Meadows councillors question parks and rec pay increases

The raises that Maple Ridge has been giving its administrative staff are too rich for its parks and recreation partner...

The raises that Maple Ridge has been giving its administrative staff are too rich for its parks and recreation partner, said some Pitt Meadows council members.

Coun. Janis Elkerton had asked for a report on staff pay increases for Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows parks and leisure services after complaints about of large raises.

From 2012 to 2014, wages of exempt staff rose almost 11 per cent, from $1.4 to $1.56 million for 12 positions.

Among the largest increases in total remuneration were two at more than 18 per cent, as manager of business operations Danielle Pope went from $89,000 to $105,000, and general manager Kelly Swift from $170,000 to $202,000. Director of parks and facilities David Boag had a 16 per cent increase, from $139,000 to $161,000.

“We have no control of what our other partner pays in terms of salaries,” noted Coun. Bruce Bell.

“We’re good for our 20 per cent, but it’s not a bottomless pit.”

Coun. Bill Dingwall, who managed human resources for the RCMP, cautioned council against “armchair opinions about salaries.” He said Metro Vancouver regional district is conducting a regional review of salaries that would provide better context, and concrete data.

Coun. David Murray asserted the increases are out of line, and said it doesn’t take a human resources expert to see that.

“Just look at the percentage increases – those costs are through the roof.”

The report from Maple Ridge, signed by Swift, notes that “conclusions about overall changes should not be reached without an understanding of the drivers behind the changes.”

The matter was referred to council’s business planning session, which is part of the budget process.

“It confirms what I knew was going on,” Elkerton said after the meeting.

She doesn’t buy the argument that some of the administrators deserve their wage increases because of added responsibility.

“You can have more responsibility, but there are only so many hours in a day.”

Mayor John Becker is reserving judgement, saying Pitt Meadows will need more information, and a better understanding of some retroactive increases that may have inflated the salary increases.

“Because the 2014 salaries reported are not representative of only the 2014 salaries, but also include the retroactive wages for 2012 and 2013, the true story is obscured,” said the report. “The reported salaries next year for 2015 will include a general wage increase, but when compared to 2014 will likely indicate a significant decrease.”

 

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