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CAO tops payroll at Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen

A total of 14 regional district employees earned over $75,000 in 2012, up from 11 the previous year

The number of high-paid regional district employees increased in 2012, although pay for top managers moved up only slightly.

A total of 14 employees of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen earned over $75,000 in 2012, up from 11 people the previous year.

Public-sector organizations are required to issue an annual statement of financial information that contains the names and pay for all employees who exceeded the $75,000 salary benchmark.

The RDOS board on Thursday accepted the 2012 edition without comment. Three of the new names on the $75,000-plus list this year are building inspectors.

Chief administrative officer Bill Newell remained the top-paid employee. He collected a salary of $130,893, up $583 from the previous year. Next was public works manager Doug French, who earned $101,728, a $2,753 bump from 2011.

Chief water distribution operator David Carlson took home $85,865, up $987 from a year earlier, while community services manager Mark Woods collected $85,431 in 2012, a decrease of $480 from 2011.

A freeze on management wages has been in place at the RDOS for several years, although the board re-examined the issue behind closed doors earlier this year.

Compensation for the board itself last year cost taxpayers $398,746, plus $73,769 in expenses.  That was up from $379,865 and $69,694, respectively, in 2011.

The highest paid among 18 directors and their alternates was Penticton representative and chair Dan Ashton, who collected $41,563 and billed $4,611 in expenses.

Vice-chair Mark Pendergraft, the director for rural Osoyoos, was next on the list with pay of $35,902, plus expenses of $10,585.

The highest expense claim belonged to Princeton Director Brad Hope, who billed $12,224, in addition to pay of $27,398, followed by Pendergraft, then rural Oliver Director Allan Patton at $9,997 in addition to remuneration of $28,360.

Ashton, who was elected as MLA last week, is on a leave of absence from his job as mayor of Penticton and chair of the RDOS.

His leave from the RDOS is good until June 7. He’s expected to formally resign after being sworn in as MLA in mid-June. Once his resignation is received, the RDOS board will elect a new chair and vice-chair.