Thursday, June 30, 2016

New contract tips pay scale

by Wayne Moore -CASTANET Jun 30, 2016 / 5:00 am
The City of West Kelowna saw staff and management wages increase 12 per cent in 2015, compared with the previous year. While on the surface that seems exorbitant, much of that increase was eaten up by more than two years of retroactive pay to firefighters in the city. West Kelowna firefighters, members of the International Association of Firefighters, inked a new six-year contract in February of 2015. That deal called for a 2.5 per cent wage increase for the years 2013 through 2018. Because of the retroactive pay and overtime accrued throughout 2015, some firefighters saw their paycheque increase dramatically, in one instance, by as much as 70 per cent. In fact, 31 members of the West Kelowna Fire Department earned a gross salary above the $111,000 taken home by Fire Chief Jason Brolund. Brolund was on the job less than 11 months after taking over for outgoing chief Wayne Schnitzler in February of 2015. In all, 78 West Kelowna employees earned more than the $75,000 reporting threshold, 12 more than in 2014. Those 12 were for new positions, including one additional position in management, two firefighters, and nine union positions. According to the city, the union positions include some position reclassifications as well as some significant overtime requirements to maintain service levels. West Kelowna CAO Jim Zaffino remains the highest paid employee, pulling in just shy of $200,000 annually, an increase of less than four per cent over 2014. In all, West Kelowna paid out $14.965 million in wages, bonuses, taxable benefits and expenses.

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