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Vancouver police chief, city manager pull in $350,000 each

Police Chief Adam Palmer tops list at $358,573 in earnings
Police Chief Adam Palmer and city manager Sadhu Johnston earned more than $350,000 each last year. Photo Dan Toulgoet

Once again, your police chief and city manager are the best paid city employees.

That’s not really a surprise, since Police Chief Adam Palmer is in charge of a 1,300-plus member police force and responsible for the public safety of a population of more than 630,000 people.

He took in $358,573 last year, an increase of $2,740 over 2017.

City manager Sadhu Johnston is in charge of a workforce of more than 8,000 full-time employees and an annual city operating budget north of $1 billion.

He took in $350,003 last year, an increase of $12,089 over 2017.

Before some of you go into full outrage mode about their salaries, some context here: Ontario’s so-called “sunshine list” for the year 2016 showed then-Toronto city manager Peter Wallace pulled in $350,072 and Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders earned $332,511.

I tried to find out the salary of Edmonton Police Chief Dale McFee, whose first day was Feb. 1, but was told by the Edmonton Police Commission that it wouldn’t release that information, or tell me what his predecessor Rod Knecht earned before he left last year.

Something about “contractual obligations not to release those salaries.”

I know, ridiculous.

Anyway, the good people at city hall in Edmonton were able to tell me their city manager, Linda Cochrane, has a salary of $332,400 this year.

For some more context, a Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives report released in January 2018 revealed that Telus president and CEO Darren Entwistle earned $12,905,331 in total compensation in 2016, which is almost what a Courier reporter makes.

I joke.

I’m writing about money today because it’s that time of the year again when we find out how much the big hitters at city hall earned in 2018.

The city released Tuesday its annual Statement of Financial Information, which lists the surnames and first initial of all city employees who earned more than $75,000 last year. The total payout for employees in that earnings bracket was $284,337,808.

For employees earning less than $75,000 per year, the total payout was $236,020,243. Add both figures and you get a grand total of $520,358,051.

The payouts, by the way, include vacation pay, overtime and gratuity.

The city’s financial document indicates 16 people received severances in 2018. It doesn’t say who received severances, or how much. Regular readers will recall I’ve requested and received this information in previous years, but last year required a request under the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act.

You can read my tale of woe about this request, here and here.

Now to the money…

I scanned the list of employees in the document and picked out the names of people likely familiar to readers, including Fire Chief Darrell Reid, who earned $249,380 in 2018.

Park board general manager Malcolm Bromley is another name that would be familiar to many. He earned $292,884, almost as much as chief financial officer Patrice Impey, who collected $295,360 last year.

Others in the $200,000-plus club included chief engineer Jerry Dobrovolny ($291,851), director of planning Gil Kelley ($287,680), director of legal services Francie Connell ($292,388), chief technology officer Jessie Adcock ($216,056), general manager of arts, culture and community services Sandra Singh ($252,121) and director of financial initiatives Esther Lee ($204,997).

Bill Aujla, who was general manager of real estate and facilities management until he resigned last summer to join the Aquilini Group, left after earning $243,946. Kaye Krishna was the city’s general manager of development services, buildings and licensing before leaving this month to become deputy minister of municipal affairs and housing. Her earnings last year totalled $282,640.

Wendy Au also retired. She served as assistant city manager. Au earned $275,426.

Now to the politicians…

Gregor Robertson retired last year as mayor after earning $178,376.

Eight councillors from Robertson’s administration either retired or didn’t win re-election, with Tim Stevenson taking home the most at $115,997.

Others no longer on council are George Affleck ($91,259), Elizabeth Ball ($91,255), Hector Bremner ($80,101), Heather Deal ($106,498), Kerry Jang ($91,680), Raymond Louie ($106,673) and Andrea Reimer ($91,703).

The payouts vary in price because of time served, deputy and acting mayor duties, duty councillor duties and deferred remuneration payments.

The financial document isn’t all about earnings.

If you’re interested in reading about revenues, expenses and consolidated financial statements, it’s all there—as are the schedule of payments to suppliers of goods and services, including $2,247,875 to Vancouver Bike Share Inc., $19,579,667 to ECOMM 911 service and $77,759,537 to the Greater Vancouver Water District.

The full document is available here.