RDOS payroll up nearly 10 per cent in 2013

Regional district boss says job vacancies artificially depressed 2012 numbers, while new sewage treatment plant also required more help

RDOS board chairman Mark Pendergraft

RDOS board chairman Mark Pendergraft

Payroll for the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen grew nine per cent in just one year, according to the organization’s 2013 statement of financial information.

The annual list of payments to suppliers, employees and elected officials was released this month and shows total employee earnings was up over that timeframe by $455,450 to $5,107,461, while the number of people making over $75,000 increased from 14 to 17.

Chief administrative officer Bill Newell said via email that three vacancies would have artificially depressed the number of highly paid employees in 2012, while the district has also added five summer staff positions for trails and parks, plus a permanent job at the Okanagan Falls wastewater treatment plan.

Newell earned $144,661 in 2013, up from $130,893 in 2012, making him the top-paid RDOS employee.

Public works manager Doug French was the only other worker to eclipse six figures, as he collected $103,615.

Of the 17 people on the $75,000-plus list, building inspection services supervisor Laura Walton had the highest total expense claim at $3,988.

Meanwhile, the RDOS paid its elected officials a total of $404,297 in 2013, up from $398,746 the year prior.

Board chairman Mark Pendergraft, also the director for rural Osoyoos, topped the list with pay of $53,581. Naramata Director Karla Kozakevich was next at $31,731, followed by Angelique Wood, the director for rural Keremeos and Hedley, at $30,811.

Princeton Director Brad Hope had the highest total expense claim at $16,437, followed by Wood at $13,892.

Former board chairman and Penticton mayor Dan Ashton, who stepped down in April 2013 to prepare for his successful run for election as MLA, collected $15,897 and booked expenses totalling $12,474.