Is Princeton town council underpaid?

Staff salaries on par with other communities, but council a step behind peers

When it comes to paying the people who manage Princeton, the town appears on par with other BC municipalities of similar size.

When it comes to paying the people who govern the town, it could be said Princeton taxpayers are getting a bit of a deal.

Last week council released its 2014 Statement of Financial Information (SOFI), which includes the disclosure of remuneration and expenses for all elected officials as well as employees who earn more than $75,000.

In total last year Princeton taxpayers paid town council $54,141 and reimbursed council members $17,428 in expenses.  Mayor Frank Armitage was paid $20,958 and claimed expenses of $5,509.44.

Councillors Kim Maynard and Doug Pateman, who were returned to their seats in the October election by acclamation, were paid $10,478 each, and claimed expenses of $7,370 and $4,421  respectively. New councillors Rosemary Doughty and Jerome Tjerkstra earned $873 and neither submitted expenses.  Former councilors Jason Earle and Marilyn Harkness earned a respective $873 and $9,605.

By way of comparison the council for Invermere earns  $68,816, according to its 2013 SOFI, with the mayor earning $20,240, and each of four councilors each receiving $12,144. The council for the city of Enderby is paid $64,969 (2013), with the mayor receiving $15,642 and six councillors earning between $7,521 and $9,141 each.

Most recent census numbers put Princeton’s population at 2,742. Invermere has 2,955 residents and Enderby has 2,932.

In 2014 Princeton spent $1.169 million in salaries for employees, while Enderby’s labor costs are $1.043 million (2013) and payroll in Invermere is $1.610 million.

Five Princeton employees earned in excess of $75,000 in 2014.

Chief Administrative Officer Rick Zerr was the top town wage earner receiving $127,133. Zerr also claimed the most in expenses, at $8,983.  That compares to CAOs in Invermere and Enderby, who earn $148,357 and $100,459 respectively.

 

Princeton’s Chief Financial Officer Shirley McMahon earned $86,376.09 last year and claimed $2,246 in expenses.  Kevin Huey, Princeton’s Director of Parks and Infrastructure, earned $87,376 with $2,246 in expenses.  Ken Gibson, Public Works Foreman, took home $82,270 and Britt Fraser, water and wastewater operator, earned 79,578.