Municipal payroll jumps almost 12 per cent in Olympic year 

Whistler staff making over $75,000 grows from 69 to 78 people, up from 61 in 2008


Pay for public servants at the Resort Municipality of Whistler jumped almost 12 per cent in 2010, the year in which the community hosted the Olympic Winter Games.

The municipality's Statements of Financial Information, which must be submitted to the provincial government by June 30 every year as per a requirement under the Financial Information Act, show that remuneration for public employees jumped about 12 per cent, to $22,692,407.03, in 2010 from $20,278,306.25 in 2009. The number of people making over $75,000 jumped from 69 to 78. That's up from 61 in 2008.

Remuneration, it should be said, doesn't just include salary. For various employees it could also include employee and employer portions of Employment Insurance and Canada Pension Plan contributions; health benefits and taxes deducted from a paycheque. The report does not take into account wages and expenses that were paid to the Resort Municipality of Whistler by the province for approved overtime that was incurred during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

The reason that so many remunerations appear above $75,000, said human resources manager Denise Wood, is that employees could have received additional pay for working overtime or getting a new certification that makes them more valuable as employees.

"I can't go into the rationale behind the numbers," she said in an interview. "They received some sort of additional pay that made them over the $75,000 mark where they weren't previously, or they possibly went up in a step.

"There's five steps in some of the position paydowns, perhaps going up a step might have made their salary over the $75,000."

The highest paid employee at the municipality in 2010 was James Godfrey, who retired in June of that year after serving as administrator and later executive director of Whistler's 2010 Games Office. He took home $322,971.89, an increase over remuneration of $239,499.46 in 2009.

Though she wouldn't explain precisely why Godfrey's pay went up so much, Wood said he could have been paid out for vacation time he didn't use. She flatly denied that Godfrey got a retirement bonus.

"There's no bonuses," Wood said. "The municipality doesn't pay out any bonuses at all, retiring or otherwise."

The next highest-paid employee was Administrator Bill Barratt, who took home $208,674.06 in remuneration. His salary went up from $201,106.58 in 2009. Beneath him was Jan Jansen, the municipality's general manager of resort experience, whose pay actually went down between 2009 and 2010, to $152,974.54 from $156,584.58.

Nine employees were welcomed to the $75,000 club this year; five of them were firefighters who previously weren't listed among the highest earning municipal employees.


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