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How top salaries compare among Kamloops, Okanagan cities

August 31, 2020 - 7:00 AM

As could easily be predicted, the mayor of the southern Interior’s largest city pulls in the highest salary.

Kelowna’s Mayor Colin Basran was paid $107,813 to make decisions on behalf of the city’s 127,380 residents (based on the 2016 census).

Kamloops Mayor Ken Christian pulled in $95,124 to govern his 90,280 residents. That works out to everyone in Kamloops paying $1.05 to their mayor while it was only 85 cents for Kelowna residents to do the same.

As population decreases, the per capita contribution per politician goes up with the next largest cities paying $2.17 to $2.29 per capita.

The region’s third largest city, Vernon with 40,116 residents, paid $88,909 for Mayor Victor Cumming.

Penticton, with 33,761 residents, paid $77,472 for Mayor John Vassilaki while the 32,655 residents of West Kelowna paid Mayor Gord Milsom $70,750.

That pattern didn’t quite hold true for city councillors with Kamloops councillors, at $38,049, out-earning Kelowna’s at $36,893. The other three cities followed in descending order with Vernon paying $33,000 per councillor, Penticton $25,685 and West Kelowna $23,770.

On a per capita basis, Kelowna’s councillors only cost 29 cents per person whereas Vernon’s came in at 82 cents.

All these figures are contained in the Statement of Financial Information each city in B.C. is required to publish yearly. 

The statements also list the names of all employees who earn more than $75,000.

Usually the top pay goes to the chief administrative officers (or in Kelowna’s case, city manager) but that doesn’t always hold true.

The top CAO pay went to Kamloops’s David Trawin at $286,137 while Doug Gilchrist in Kelowna earned $264,472.

Vernon’s Will Pearce made $219,868 while Penticton’s Donny van Dyk earned $176,200. van Dyk was hired in February. At the bottom of the pay scale was West Kelowna’s Paul Gipps. He didn’t start with that city until July so made a mere $104,696.

Between the three cities, 1,142 employees earned more than $75,000.

The total payroll for all employees in the five cities was $211.6 million.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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