The Strathcona Regional District paid out more than $5 million to its staff and elected officials last year, according to the corporation’s annual financial report.
Of that amount, $1.03 million went towards labour and benefit costs, $4.9 million was compensation and $145,127 was expenses accumulated by both regional district directors and staff, typically for travel.
Elected directors received a combined $339,612 in remuneration or wages.
Electoral area directors earned more than municipal officials, with Area B Director Noba Anderson topping the list at $42,632 and accumulating $7,900 in expenses. Area C Director Jim Abram was the second highest earner with $41,582 in remuneration and $14,283 in expenses.
Area D Director Brenda Leigh received $39,808 in remuneration last year, while totaling $4,892 in expenses, with Area A Director Gerald Whalley rounding out the list of electoral directors with $38,466 in remuneration and $7,442 in expenses.
Among the municipal directors, Sayward Director John MacDonald, as chair of the board, was the highest earner at $37,182 in remuneration and $6,371 in expenses. Tahsis Director Jude Schooner pulled in the second highest amount at $18,390, with $5,184 in expenses, followed by Campbell River Director Michele Babchuk at $18,104, with zero expenses and Zeballos Director Julie Colborne with $17,354 in remuneration and $3,891 in expenses. Gold River Director Brad Unger was next on the list at $16,379 in remuneration and $2,013 in expenses. At the bottom of the list are Campbell River directors Ron Kerr ($16,270), Andy Adams ($16,204; $25 in expenses), Larry Samson ($15,744; $418 in expenses) and Charlie Cornfield ($15,072; $25 in expenses).
The largest payouts, though, belonged to regional district employees.
The top earner was Tom Yates, corporate services manager, who earned $119,140 in 2016 and accumulated $405 in expenses, followed by Dawn Christenson, financial services manager, who made $117,763 and had $3,772 in expenses, Dave Leitch, CAO, at $116,391 in remuneration and $6,849 in expenses. Ralda Hansen, community services manager, earned $106,827 while accumulating $4,175 in expenses while Jon Schmuland, information technology manager, made $91,793 and had $1,807 in expenses and Susan Bullock, programs manager at Strathcona Gardens, earned $86,084 and had $4,821 in expenses. Aniko Nelson, manager of planning and parks, brought in $79,507 in wages and tallied $4,052 in expenses while Victoria Smith, special projects manager, earned $77,791 in remuneration and accumulated $4,221 in expenses. Rounding out the list is Kelly Clark, senior accountant, at $77,501 in earnings and $2,494 in expenses.
The regional district also paid out $3.68 million combined to employees who made less than $75,000 annually in 2016 and paid the following to alternate directors who filled in for directors who were unable to attend meetings: Marlene Wright (Campbell River), $2,875; Cal Grunerud (Strathcona Gardens Commissioner), $1,500; Colleen Evans (Campbell River), $875; Dan MacKenzie (Area C), $745; Donnie Cox (Zeballos), $225; and Mary Lavelle (Area B), $205.
The regional district’s report of remuneration and expenses was released last week as part of the corporation’s annual audit findings.