City pays out $1.2 million in severance packages

Eleven City of Vancouver employees, including managers, engineers and security director received payouts

The City of Vancouver will have paid out $1.2 million in severance money to 11 employees by the end of this year, with almost half of it going to former city manager Penny Ballem.

The city paid out $680,296 of the $1.2 million last year, when all 11 employees either resigned, didn’t have their contracts renewed or left for reasons the city would not specifically disclose. Another $615,671 will be paid out this year to four of the 11 employees, including Ballem who received $222,638 last year and will collect $333,957 this year, for a total of $556,595 in severance.

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“There are a number of reasons for terminating an employment relationship, which can include: restructuring, fit with team, performance issues etc.,” said Tobin Postma, a city communications manager, in an email to the Courier. “Under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, we are prohibited from providing further personal information regarding each individual…”

Brenda Prosken, who resigned as the city’s general manager of community services, received $69,800 last year and will get another $168,441 this year for a total of $238,241.

The names of the 11 employees and the total of their severance packages were supplied to the Courier from the city. The city’s statement of financial information for 2015, which went before city council Tuesday, indicated 11 employees were given a severance but no further details were provided in the document.

Third behind Ballem and Prosken in total dollars collected – once the year ends – will be Gary Wilson, the city’s former corporate security manager, whose severance totals $115,962.

Another employee on the list is Carli Edwards, who was the city’s assistant director of inspection services until she resigned in December 2014 after she was caught renovating her house without a permit. Edwards collected $65,000 in 2015.

Here’s the full list of former employees, their titles and how much money they received in severance after leaving the city in 2015:

·       Carli Edwards, deputy chief building official, $65,000

·       Todd Ayotte, acting-director of civic theatres, $74,553

·       Wendy Stewart, manager of council operations,$84,772

·       Tejinder Sanghera, occupational health and safety superintendent, $7,509

·       Gary Wilson, manager of security services, $115,962

·       Brenda Prosken, general manager of community services, $238,241

·       Brent Dozzi, civil engineer, $66,685

·       Paul Boutin, project manager, $3,897

·       Murray Steer, manager of equipment services, $51,902

·       Penny Ballem, city manager,$556,595

·       Timothy Sansom, director of financial planning at park board, $30,849

The city paid out severances to 13 employees in 2014, six in 2013 and 15 in 2012. The payouts are not listed in the city’s statements of financial information for those years.

The statements provide details on the city’s revenues and spending and list the salaries of all city employees, except police officers, who earned more than $75,000 per year.

Prior to her contract not being renewed in September 2015, Ballem was the city’s top earner at $343,767. Her replacement, Sadhu Johnston, earned $285,232 last year and will earn $316,000 this year. Mayor Gregor Robertson earned $160,950 in 2015 and this year’s salary is pegged at $161,308.



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