June 16, 2016 - 8:30 AM
VERNON - An increase in the amount of money being spent on staff salaries at the City of Vernon is being defended by the mayor.
According to figures in a draft annual report for 2015, the city spent more than $22 million on salaries for city employees, including members of the Vernon Fire Department. It's close to $1 million more than was spent in 2014.
Vernon Mayor Akbal Mund says staff deserve the salaries they receive and does not believe the expenditures are out of line.
He attributes the $1-million jump in part to rising benefits costs, which are out of the city’s control, as well as the hiring of a few new employees. He says the new employee positions were paid for with revenues generated by the city, and are not downloaded onto the taxpayer.
The highest paid city employee is chief administrative officer Will Pearce, who took home roughly $184,000.
Wages and expense reimbursements have also been revealed for mayor and council. Mayor Mund took home the largest salary of more than $75,000, plus roughly $4,500 in expenses, followed by Coun. Juliette Cunningham, with a wage of almost $25,000 plus nearly $5,000 in expenses.
Councillors Scott Anderson, Catherine Lord, Dalvir Nahal, Brian Quiring and Bob Spiers all took home between roughly $22,000 to $24,000, plus expenses.
“I think council is getting paid a lot less than they should for what they do,” Mund says of his colleagues.
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