Integrity B.C. says the salaries of the City of Merritt's top earners are about average, but that doesn't make them right.
The City of Merritt recently released its 2011 Financial Statement, which lists six staffers earning more than $75,000 each—a combined total of $565,236 (excluding benefits) in remuneration and $18,967 in expenses.
Chief administrative officer Matt Noble was the top earner at $124,389 with $5,100 in expenses, followed by public works manager Shawn Boven ($96,177), fire chief Dave Tomkinson ($94,193), leisure services manager Larry Plotnikoff ($85,562), financial services manager Marlie Worrin ($85,309), and public works superintendent Darrell Finnigan ($79,603).
"The salaries are likely average for B.C., but that doesn't make them right," says Dermod Travis, executive director of Integrity B.C., a non-partisan government watchdog.
"Ultimately, all of the salaries are paid for by local ratepayers. When the median household income in Merritt is $44,280 (2005 figures), it's difficult to imagine that six-figure salaries will go over well. And they shouldn't in a community that has had zero-per cent population growth between 2000 and 2009 while municipal spending has increased by 34 per cent in the same period on a per capita, real growth basis (CFIB)."
The City paid out a total of $3.1 million to its employees in 2011. Remuneration to its top earners was similar to pay at the District of Hope and City of Revelstoke.