The Strathcona Regional District paid out more than $5 million last year to its staff, directors

Strathcona Regional District’s top earners revealed

The regional district’s financial report reveals the top earners at the regional district in 2016

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.