City manager Ballem owns top salary at Vancouver city hall

Park board chair spent $4,054 on expenses

City manager Penny Ballem is once again the citys top earner after pulling in $334,002 in 2011, according to city financial statements released today.

Ballems earnings increased by $9,892 over her 2010 income, which was $324,110. She collected $313,577 in 2009.

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Her 2011 earnings and $2,931 in expenses are recorded in the citys Statement of Financial Information, a document that reveals salaries of all city employees, except for police officers, who earned more than $75,000 last year.

Ballems earnings would include any payouts of vacation, bonuses, overtime and any other money owed to her under the contract she agreed to when hired in December 2008.

Ballems earnings are comparable to compensation paid out to Edmontons city manager, Simon Farbrother, who earned $300,000 in 2010 and was eligible to earn a salary of up to $329,875 in 2011, according to information on the City of Edmontons website.

Edmonton has about 10,000 city workers and 1,530 police officers who work in a city of more than 800,000 people. Vancouver has similar numbers, although its population is closer to 600,000.

Historically, Police Chief Jim Chu, who oversees more than 1,300 officers, has been the second highest paid city employee in recent years. His earnings topped out at $311,562 in 2010.

The Courier made a request today to the VPD to release Chus earnings. A spokesman said he expected to release the information before Friday.

Ballem and Chu, for three years running, have been the only city employees to earn more than $300,000. Seven other city employees pulled in more than $200,000, including director of legal services Francie Connell ($255,402), general manager of financial services Patrice Impey ($249,914) and deputy city manager David McLellan ($245,865).

Fire Chief John McKearney earned $189,823, the citys chief librarian Sandra Singh collected $171,582 and park board manager Malcolm Bromley pulled in $216,989.

Senior members of the citys communications staff were also identified in the statements, including Wendy Stewart ($107,344) and Mairi Welman ($138,668).

Mayor Gregor Robertson earned $143,723 in 2011 while income for city councillors ranged from $1,916 for three new councillors elected in November to $65,974 for those re-elected.

The city payout for the mayor and councillors doesnt include income earned as directors on various boards, including Metro Vancouver.

Park board chairperson Constance Barnes stipend was $8,108 in 2011 and she spent $4,054 on expenses. Four new park board commissioners, also elected in November, earned $526 while four commissioners pulled in $7,451. Commissioner Sarah Blyth earned $7,977 and Aaron Jasper, the former chairperson, topped all earners at $9,837.

The total payout to city employees earning more than $75,000 in 2011 was $165,749,149. Employees earning under $75,000 accounted for a payout of $233,315,977. Thats a grand total of almost $400 million.

The figures in the citys financial statements, which list the surnames of all employees earning more than $75,000, do not include payouts to VPD officers or VPD staff.

The exclusion of the officers names and salaries is related to a court challenge. In the past, the VPD has released documents on its website revealing a list of officers who earned more than $75,000. But only some are named, including senior ranking officers, media liaison constables and all civilian staff.

mhowell@vancourier.com

Twitter: @Howellings

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