By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Aug 9, 2014
$1.2 million: That is how much overall staff compensation increased at District of Squamish between 2012 and 2013.
An increase in wages, staff increments for better performance and hiring of four full-time employees (FTE) added $1.2 million to overall staff compensation at the District of Squamish.
The term Full Time Equivalent (FTE) equates to all full-time, part-time, seasonal, casual, and overtime hours as if they were combined together to represent full-time staff.
The population of Squamish is increasing, but the staff compensation has shown a remarkable rise since 2011, Statement of Financial Information shows.
Between 2011 and 2012, for example, overall compensation at DOS increased by nearly half a million dollars. Between in 2013, as the latest SOFI report shows, it’s an increase of $1.2 million.
The last time the overall compensation increased by almost half a million was in 2009, when municipal workers were paid almost half a million dollars more compared to 2008.
Between 2010 and 2011, a time of core service reviews, the overall compensation in fact dropped by $10,000.
But staff compensation has shown an upwards trend ever since 2011.
When asked about staff compensation, only two councillors returned comment.
Coun. Ron Sander said staff salaries are a ‘very difficult issue’ as most are based upon contractual obligations.
“My personal believe is that any management salary should be partially based on a bonus which is determined by measured performance,” he said.
“In reality we are obligated to follow the agreements and levels in place or pay severance to eliminate the contract.”
If Squamish added close to half a million to compensation between 2011 and 2012, the Resort Municipality of Whistler managed to trim nearly $1.2 million in staffing costs between those two years.
RMOW realigned the corporate structure and eliminated two departments that saw savings, Whistler Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden told the Question paper.
Contractual obligation and inflation all added to the salaries, but a recent document put out by the district suggests that public perception may be skewed when it comes to staff salaries.
According to this district document, population has increased by 16.22 per cent, while the staff has only increased by 5.84 per cent. As of now, there are 179.4 FTEs positions in Squamish.