Firefighters, foremen take up list of highest paid city staff

Firefighters and public works’ foremen are among the highest paid city employees, not including managers.

Firefighters and public works’ foremen are among the highest paid city employees, not including managers, according to information released by the city’s finance department.

The list of employees earning more than $75,000, which is required to be made public if asked, shows seven firefighters and three foremen on the list. The lowest paid firefighter earned just over $87,000 last year; the highest paid just made just under $104,000.

The utilities foremen and two electrical foremen also made the list. Their names were withheld for privacy reasons.

Councillor Phil Welock, who’s portfolio includes both the fire department and public works, said the high wages were due to overtime incurred while responding to calls.

“We’re providing all these services out on the highway, answering all the calls in town, we’re going to have overtime costs,” he told the Times Review.

Spending by the fire department was the subject of criticism during budget deliberations. The department has been asked to cut down on its overtime, Welock said, but he said there was also a need for more volunteers to respond to calls.

He said there was very little compensation from the province for when the department responds to highway rescue calls and noted the Golden fire department was no longer providing that service.

He said public works and the fire department have volunteered for an operational review.

John Guenther, the Director of Planning is the highest paid city employee, earning a salary of $111,737.51.

The city also released the renumeration and expenses of city councillors. Tony Scarcella, who has been highly outspoken advocate of slashing the budget at city hall filed the most expenses amongst coucnillors in 2011.

Scarcella claimed $3,099.19 in expenses last year, while former councillors Antoinette Halberstadt and Peter Frew filed the smallest expense claims, at $348.16 and $1,343.68 respectively.

Couns. Chris Johnston, Phil Welock and Steve Bender filed $2,618.59, $2,343.72 and $2,806.44 in expenses respectively. New councillors Linda Nixon and Gary Starling had no recorded expenses.

Councillors earned $11,250 last year; that number was raised to $14,000 this year.

Mayor David Raven filed $7,782.27 in expenses, on top of his $22,500 salary. His salary was increased to $28,000.