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Mike Howell: Here’s how much Vancouver city council was paid in 2021

Kennedy Stewart earned $178,473, while Police Chief Adam Palmer collected $378,368
The 2021 earnings of Mayor Kennedy Stewart, city councillors and city employees are listed in the city’s Statement of Financial Information, which was released last week. File photo Dan Toulgoet

It cost taxpayers more than $1.1 million last year to pay for the salaries of Mayor Kennedy Stewart and the city’s 10 councillors.

The sum on its own may seem like a lot of cash.

But is it when compared to what other mayors and councillors are earning across the country?

Mayor Kennedy Stewart, for example, earned $178,473 last year.

In Edmonton, the mayor’s 2021 salary was $206,511 — most of that earned by Don Iveson who retired last year before a fall election that saw Amarjeet Sohi become the city’s new leader.

The new Calgary mayor, Jyoti Gondek, is to earn $203,795 this year.

Earnings of Vancouver’s 10 councillors in 2021 ranged from $89,886 (Jean Swanson) to $103,216 (Sarah Kirby-Yung), the difference related to number of times a councillor acted as deputy mayor or a duty councillor.

In Edmonton, councillors earned $116,672 last year. As of Jan. 1, 2022, a Calgary councillor was to earn $115,138 this year. Salaries for both Alberta cities are posted on their websites.

Statement of financial information

The earnings last year for Stewart and the 10 councillors are listed in the city’s annual Statement of Financial Information (SOFI), which was released last week.

It’s important to note their earnings don’t include any money the 11 politicians collected for their public work outside of city hall, including duties as directors for Metro Vancouver.

It’s also important to note Stewart and the 10 councillors got a 3.8 per cent raise to begin 2022, an annual increase as established by a previous council and based on an independent consultant’s report.

So this year Stewart’s annual salary is $185,594, while councillors will see a bump from $88,515 to $91,878, not including aforementioned duties as deputy mayor, duty councillor and Metro Vancouver director work.

For some perspective on the rate of the annual increases, when Gregor Robertson was mayor, he earned $168,065 in 2017. Adriane Carr, who remains on council, earned $87,784 that same year.

The SOFI report is a good read, by the way, if you want to understand more about the city’s finances, including how much it’s spending to fight climate change this year ($119.2 million) and other stuff like how much city manager Paul Mochrie earned ($332,616).

$378,638 for police chief

Vancouver’s police chief is typically the highest paid city employee, although Adam Palmer’s salary is not included in the document.

It’s a long story why his earnings are not listed — in fact, no cop salaries are included.

If memory serves, it has something to do with a challenge years ago by a police association — possibly West Vancouver police — about privacy.

Anyway, the VPD is usually pretty good about releasing the earnings of Palmer and his executives in the spirit of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

And that’s what they did last week, releasing data that shows Palmer earned $378,368 in 2021.

Howard Chow ($273,685) and Steve Rai ($260,703) were Palmer’s highest paid deputy chiefs.

Some other familiar names to regular readers (and their earnings) for 2021:

• Chief financial officer Patrice Impey, $303,535

• Fire Chief Karen Fry, $238,494

• General manager of engineering services Lon LaClaire, $284,145

• Planning director Theresa O’Donnell, $255,074

• General manager of arts, culture, community services Sandra Singh, $296,815

• Chief librarian Christina de Castell,$240,895

• Director of legal services Francie Connell, $302,735

• Deputy city manager Karen Levitt, $293,626

• Chief human resources officer, Andrew Naklicki, $242,836

Walter's exotic meats

There’s also a section in the SOFI report that shows what the city paid to suppliers.

I randomly selected 10 and had the city communications department explain why, for example, the city paid $8,856,467 last year to Suncor Energy Products Partnership.

Answer: Supply and delivery of fuel for the city’s fleet of vehicles.

The others:

• Trev Deeley Motorcycles ($1,376,469).

Motorcycle parts for VPD fleet maintenance

• Monaghan Golf Inc. ($1,792,437).

City-owned Fraserview Golf Course operator (driving range, pro shop, etc.)

• Walter's Exotic Meats Ltd. ($72,373).

Chicken and meat for the kitchen at Carnegie Centre.

• 101 West Holdings Ltd. ($1,104,219).

Lease for child care at Woodward’s building.

• Night Owl Bird Hospital ($26,368).

Veterinary care for Bloedel Conservatory birds

• Beijing Bookstore ($100,372). Total cost of books and magazines Vancouver library purchased from store.

• DS Tactical Ltd. ($1,067,318)

Uniforms and belt equipment for Vancouver police and Corporate Protective Services.

• Linkedin Ireland ($53,436)

Subscription to LinkedIn – corporate training for recruitment software program

• Raymond Poirier ($277,966)

Poirier operates the Second Beach and Third Beach concession stands. The funds cover staffing costs.

You can read the city’s Statement of Financial Information here.