MANAGEMENT REVIEW SERIES: How do our managers stack up?

The News' compares city management salaries from three communities.

(Part three of the News’ series on city management. Part one here, part two here. Detailed salary database here.)

Comparisons are hard to do, especially when looking at salaries of our city’s top staffers, many of whom have more seniority than their counterparts.

While all municipal governments across B.C. have the same duties to their constituents, the way they organize them is vastly different. We chose five managerial positions that were standard across the surveyed municipalities.

But with the $50,000 management review budgeted for Port Alberni in 2015 and the often loud public opinions that our city management is overpaid, the time seemed ripe to take a look.

We used 2013 financial documents as those were the most recent figures available.

We found that compared to the similarly sized communities of Salmon Arm and Squamish (both of which were included in the 2011 management review), Port Alberni does not spend a disproportionately high amount of its revenue on upper management salaries.

We found that we pay the least per capita of the three cities for the head of our engineering and public works department, city engineer Guy Cicon.

He receives just $5.98 per capita while his counterparts in Salmon Arm and Squamish receive $6.04 and $7.68 respectively.

Parks, recreation and heritage director Scott Kenny requires a disclaimer—while he looks like he is paid above average for his duties, none of his counterparts has a wheelhouse as broad as his. In Salmon Arm, he was compared against a manager of parks and roads, while in Squamish he was compared against a director of recreation services. Neither of the two have as many responsibilities as Kenny, nor his seniority.

Overall, our per capita spending on these five managers was not excessive. At $32.33 per capita, we’re closer to Salmon Arm ($32.09) than we are to Squamish ($38.20).

Next week: The News compares Port Alberni to another former industrial town that’s made a successful transformation.

Editorial note: An error was made in the infographic above that stated that city manager Ken Watson earned three per cent, or $4,746 more than average. Upon redoing our math, we realized that he makes only $505 more than average, effectively zero per cent.

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