'Nobody's going to Geneva,' White Rock mayor touts lower expenses

‘Nobody’s going to Geneva,’ White Rock mayor touts lower expenses

Expenses in for White Rock mayor, council and staffers

In his first full year leading the city, White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin claimed a third more in expenses than that claimed by his predecessor, Catherine Ferguson, in her last year at the helm.

According to a June 24 report from the city’s financial services director, Baldwin – who was elected mayor in November 2011 – claimed $9,831 in expenses last year. Ferguson claimed $6,960 in 2011, prior to Baldwin’s election in November, and just $3,248 in 2010, her last full year.

Baldwin told Peace Arch News the difference was likely due to Ferguson not being able to attend as many conferences.

Last year, those included the Federation of Canadian Municipalities in Saskatoon and the Union of BC Municipalities in Victoria, along with events “that I get invited to all the time, but cost a lot of money.”

“I don’t think it’s too high,” he said of the total charged to taxpayers. “If you compare it to, say, Dianne (Watts’) in Surrey, mine is not very high. We go to the same stuff pretty much, except she goes to China and whatnot.”

At the council meeting, Baldwin noted the combined expenses of all seven of the city’s politicians ($26,054) was less than that reported by some individual Surrey council members. Watts alone charged $28,724.

“Nobody’s going to Geneva,” Baldwin quipped, an apparent reference to Watts’ $2,807 trip to attend a mayors’ conference in Switzerland.

Baldwin’s remuneration for 2012 was $59,023. Couns. Al Campbell, Helen Fathers, Louise Hutchinson and Larry Robinson were each paid $28,689 (up from $27,568 in 2011); Coun. Grant Meyer was paid $28,200. Meyer attributed his lesser pay to changes in the deputy-mayor schedule.

Coun. Bill Lawrence – who won his seat in November’s byelection to replace the late Mary-Wade Anderson – earned $2,775; Anderson, who died in June 2012, earned $12,440.

Following Baldwin, Hutchinson claimed the next highest in expenses ($4,030). Fathers was next ($3,876); then Robinson ($3,424), Meyer ($2,327), Campbell ($1,821), Anderson ($720) and Lawrence ($25).

Remuneration to city staff last year totalled $9,065,491.

Highest-paid was the city’s director of financial services, Sandra Kurylo, who received $144,341, followed by fire Chief Phil Lemire ($134,226), city manager Dan Bottrill ($133,105) and director of development services Paul Stanton ($128,544).

(Totals for Kurylo, Lemire and Stanton include pay for unused vacation and banked time.)

Bottrill’s pay represents his first 9½ months with the city. He took over as city manager in mid-March of last year, following the sudden retirement of Peggy Clark, whose compensation had been a campaign issue for Baldwin. According to city documents, Clark received $185,760 in her last year as city manager.

Director of municipal operations Greg St. Louis – whose predecessor’s wages were also criticized by Baldwin – was not listed in the report, which included only remuneration greater than $75,000. St. Louis began working for the city July 30.

The staffer claiming the most in expenses for 2012 was Lemire, at $5,756, followed by web technician Ying Lin ($4,763); deputy fire Chief Bob Schlase ($3,909); and Kurylo ($3,710).

Figures were released as part of the city’s financial statement for the year ending Dec. 31, 2012.