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Coquitlam had a record-high $110-million payroll during last year's pandemic

Despite the 800 civic layoffs during the pandemic, Coquitlam city managers saw big hikes to their base salaries.
Peter Steblin
Peter Steblin is the city manager for Coquitlam.

The cost to keep Coquitlam city hall — and its programs and services — afloat last year totalled more than $110 million, according to a report released today (Monday).

The Statement of Financial Information (SOFI), which came before the city’s council-in-committee and with no comment from elected officials, shows 40% of the income received by the city went to pay for its staff remuneration and expenses during 2020.

The municipality had a variety of workplace disruptions last year due to the pandemic layoffs, said Michelle Hunt, Coquitlam’s general manager of finance, lands and police.

But she noted that Coquitlam city hall ended the year with a “small savings” though it wasn’t as large as managers had expected because of the extra pay period last year.

According to the report, some 537 city employees earned more than $75,000; the Top 10 highest-paid employees last year were (their 2019 wages are in brackets):

• Peter Steblin, city manager: $340,646 ($318,789)

• Raul Allueva, deputy city manager: $277,883 ($249,350)

• Michelle Hunt, GM of finance, lands and police: $255,513 ($231,872, as GM of finance, technology and police services)

• Jim McIntyre, GM of planning and development: $243,421 ($230,381)

• Don Luymes, GM of parks, rec, culture and facilities: $228,744 ($114,726, new hire)

• Nicole Caulfield, GM of corporate services: $217,070 ($192,606, as director of human resources and corporate planning)

• Jim Ogloff, fire chief: $212,853 ($202,544)

• Gary Mulligan, assistant fire chief: $183,427 ($170,383)

• Jay Gilbert, director of intergov’t relations and legislative services: $183,306 ($166,128, as city clerk)

• Mark Zaborniak, manager of design and construction: $177,450 ($169,685)

By comparison, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made $365,200 last year, according to pm.gc.ca.

The Coquitlam SOFI document also notes there were four severance agreements last year, which represented between three and nine months of compensation — based on the value of the salary and benefits — to non-unionized workers.

Meanwhile, the $110-million payroll also includes $845,655 in salaries, taxable benefits and expenses for city council last year.

The base wage for a city councillor was $74,405 — up from $70,054 in 2019 — while the mayor’s was $186,644 — up from $175,436 in 2019; Mayor Richard Stewart also racked up $11,352 in bills in 2020 while the city councillors each claimed between $5,699 (Coun. Teri Towner) and $6,611 (Coun. Bonita Zarrillo).

In 2019, the city payroll was $92 million, and $87.7 million in 2018. 

As well, the SOFI reports that the city paid more than $200 million to suppliers for external goods and services, and $8.9 million in grants and contributions to the CERA Society, Coquitlam Festival Society, Coquitlam Heritage Society, Coquitlam Public Library, Coquitlam Search and Rescue, Evergreen Cultural Centre Society, Place des Arts, SD43, Share, Société Place Maillardville Society, United Scottish Cultural Society and Watershed Watch Salmon Society.