Regional district pays out millions in wages

The Strathcona Regional District paid $4.70 million to its employees and elected officials combined last year.

Of that total, $4.56 million was compensation while $141,771 was expenses accumulated by regional district directors and staff.

Elected directors received a combined $327,896 in remuneration.

As last year’s chair of the board, Area C Director Jim Abram was the highest earner, garnering $59,830 in remuneration and accruing $22,525 in expenses.

The regional district’s three other electoral area directors rounded out the top earners, with Area A Director Gerald Whalley earning $38,587 in remuneration, Area D Director Brenda Leigh receiving $38,322 and Area B Director Noba Anderson bringing in $36,751. Those directors, respectively, accumulated $6,572, $4,947 and $6,607 in expenses.

Among Campbell River directors, Andy Adams was the top earner, garnering $16,172 in compensation, followed by Ron Kerr who earned $15,980, Michele Babchuk with $15,447, Larry Samson with $15,072 and Charlie Cornfield making $14,958. Campbell River directors Colleen Evans and Marlene Wright made $875 and $2,750 respectively as alternates.

The only Campbell River director with expenses was Samson, with $314. Samson is the board’s appointee to the North Island 911 Corporation which meets in the Comox Valley.

Rounding out the list of directors is: Zeballos Director Julie Colborne with $18,484 in remuneration and $6,528 in expenses, Tahsis Director Jude Schooner with $18,108 in remuneration and $4,763 in expenses, Sayward Director and current Board Chair John MacDonald, who brought in $17,368 in remuneration and accrued $2,291 in expenses, and Gold River Director Brad Unger who earned $16,332 in remuneration and accumulated $2,388 in expenses.

The largest payouts, however, went to regional district staff.

Former CAO Russ Hotsenpiller was the top earner, taking home $149,260, followed by Dawn Christenson, financial services manager, who earned $115,459. Tom Yates, the regional district’s corporate services manager, earned $113,101 while Ralda Hansen, community services manager, made $104,921 and Yves Bienvenu, facility manager at Strathcona Gardens, made $93,912.

Susan Bullock, program manager at Strathcona Gardens, earned $82,420 while Lorne Parker, operations manager at Strathcona Gardens, made $82,361 and Sheila Van Nus earned $81,523.

Employees earning $75,000 or less were not identified by the regional district but earned a combined $3.41 million in remuneration. The regional district’s remuneration and expenses were released last week as part of the corporation’s annual audit findings.