(Black Press Media/File)

(Black Press Media/File)

Highest earning Penticton city staffers made more during the pandemic

The city’s top 5 earners were paid a combined total of over $1 million in 2020

Despite laying off over 20 per cent of employees in 2020, the City of Penticton still saw their payroll expenditures grow during the pandemic stricken year.

City employees were hit with two rounds of lay-offs in March and April 2020 as the city responded to the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But many of those that were able to keep their jobs with the city in 2020 saw their earnings increase last year, as is shown in newly released financial information.

The city’s ‘Sunshine List’ — or list of employees who earned over $75,000 — grew from 126 staffers in 2019 to 141 in 2020. The 141 employees were paid a total of $15,183,763 with nearly half those earning six figure salaries.

The list was broken down in city council’s agenda package prior to their Tuesday, June 1 meeting.

READ MORE: City of Penticton lays off 20 per cent of remaining staff

The salaries of the mayor and council members were also included in the agenda, with mayor John Vassilaki earning $83,747 including expenses and each councillor being paid $27,514.

For comparison, Kelowna’s mayor Colin Basran was paid $107,813 in 2019 and Vernon’s mayor Victor Cumming made $93,394 in 2020.

Kelowna, Vernon and Penticton have the three highest paid mayors in the Okanagan/Similkameen.

Penticton’s total 2020 payroll including expenses added up to $25,533,681 with ‘Sunshine List’ members accounting for $15,183,763 of that total.

2020’s payroll was up slightly from the $25,217,406 spent in 2019.

Despite having a larger population, Vernon’s payroll in 2020 was slightly less than Penticton’s at $25,465,873.

Penticton councillors heard Tuesday that the increase in pay was in part due the high number of overtime hours some employees worked during the pandemic.

Sixty-five city employees earned six figure salaries in 2020, with three cracking the $200,000 mark including expenses.

Penticton’s chief administrative officer Donny van Dyk was the highest paid city employee in 2020, bringing in $250,066 including expenses.

Fire chief Larry Watkinson was the second highest earner at $203,542, chief financial officer Jim Bauer earned the third most at $200,795, infrastructure general manager Mitch Moroziuk made the fourth most at $195,906 and electric utility manager Shawn Filice rounds out the top five highest paid city employees at $168,750

Other high earners include city engineer Ian Chapman ($163,765), assistant fire chief Rob Trupp ($162,632), deputy fire chief Rob Trousdell ($168,196), public works manager Lennie Robson ($159,200), development services director Blake Laven ($156,504) and chief librarian Heather Buzzell ($94,331).

READ MORE: Penticton balances COVID-19 budget with staff cuts


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