The District of Sooke’s 10 highest-paid employees earned more than $1.3 million combined in 2018 – four of those workers were firefighters, publicly available records show.
Former chief administrative officer Teresa Sullivan was the highest paid district employee with pay of $176,611.81. Most of that money was in severance. She left her post on Feb. 14.
By salary alone, however, Sooke firefighters were the top moneymakers in the district, with assistant fire chief Matt Barney earning $145,899.,08 and Fire Chief Kenn Mount topping out at $141,370.57.
Each year municipalities are required to release a statement of financial information outlining remuneration and expenses of elected individuals as well as government employees paid more $75,000 a year.
”I’m concerned about the overtime because of firefighter burnout,” Mayor Maja Tait said.
Over the last two summers volunteer firefighters were called out to fight B.C. Interior wildfires at the request of the province, which put more pressure on career firefighters in Sooke, and contributed to overtime.
Sooke council has set service levels it expects from the fire department, which requires standardized shifts, Tait said.
Sooke Fire Rescue has six career firefighters and about 40 volunteers. Last year the fire department responded to 893 calls, down from 1,022 in 2017.
Twenty-two workers at the district pull in more than $75,000 annually, including firefighters, building inspectors, senior management and utility workers, some with significant overtime.
Members of Sooke council receive annual pay of $10,160.02, while Mayor Maja Tait’s remuneration is $20,320.56.
Council members are also entitled to claim expenses. Here are the amount of expenses they claimed in 2018:
•* Mayor Maja Tait, $2,904.56
•* Coun. Jeff Bateman, $285.72
•* Coun. Al Beddows, $285.72
• Coun. Bev Berger, $617.71
• Coun. Rick Kasper, $3,962.65
•* Coun. Ebony Logins, $6,647.57
•* Coun. Megan McMath, $285.72
• Coun, Brenda Parkinson, $4,722.53
• Coun. Kevin Pearson, $3,724.22
• Coun. Kerrie Reay, $428.00
•* Coun. Tony St-Pierre, $285.72
– •* denotes current council members