Constance Barnes got in touch last week.
The chairperson of the park board wasn't too happy to have me write how much she spent on expenses in 2011. A whopping $4,054, according to city documents. Half of her annual $8,108 stipend!
OK, as I learned, that's not exactly accurate.
First the background: As readers will recall, I wrote my annual story two weeks ago about who the city's top earners were in 2011. Every year, it's pretty much the same people-city manager Penny Ballem, followed by Police Chief Jim Chu.
The salaries and expenses of city employees are included in the city's annual Statement of Financial Information. For the record, salaries of police aren't in there but the department graciously discloses them to coincide with the city report.
The city documents also include park board commissioners' "stipends" and "expenses." But nowhere do the documents indicate expenses were allotted rather than spent. So that's why Barnes got in touch.
The number I quoted was an allotment, not what she spent. Barnes has since taken this up with the city to ensure her expenses are accurately captured in the documents.
OK, so how much did she spend?
"I have spent zero dollars for expenses," she replied in an email. "I bike everywhere, carry my Libre and loose green tea. So I guess I am a cheap date and frugal as my pops was. It's just the way I was raised, work hard with what you've got."
Some other questions popped up for me while perusing the city's financial documents, including why the city paid $6.9 million to the Workers' Compensation Board of B.C.
I assumed it was for premiums to cover the city's workforce but apparently it's more than that. Wendy Stewart of the city's communications department had an explanation. "The $6.9 million paid to WorkSafe B.C. is based on the city's payroll and is split approximately three ways: One third are premium fees, one third is pooled injury costs for all municipalities for claims three years and older, one third is for injury costs from the past three years."
But that got me thinking- how many city workers were injured on the job in 2011?
Stewart: "There were 358 time loss injuries ranging from trips, slips, strains and sprains to a brain injury that occurred during a work-related traffic accident. The shortest time loss was one day; the longest time loss accident is where the worker still remains off."
One other financial finding: The Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association sure got a whack of cash from the city-$2.2 million in grants. How come, and why was it so much more than other business improvement associations?
Stewart again: "In short, BIAs agree to a levy which is then assessed to member properties, collected by the city and returned to the BIAs for their programs. It's a flow through on our books. The DVBIA amount is significantly more because their assessment area is 90 blocks."
Now you know.