August 30th, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 35
Ratepayers Association disclose Access to Information results
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Pass Herald Reporter
At their monthly meeting on August 21, Ed Strembicki, President of the Ratepayers Association, disclosed the results of an Access to Information Request submitted on June 29 to the municipality requesting information on several subject matters.

The response, provided on July 28, replied in full to certain questions and in part to others.

The Association requested the total wages, salaries and benefits for all employees. The response included totals since 2014 and projected costs for 2018.

The report shows a steady increase in the total remuneration for management and employees over the years. In 2014, the remuneration for management was approximately $891,000 and $4,846,000 for employees. By 2017, that number jumped to $1,326,000 for management and $5,268,000 for employees.

The projected remuneration for 2018 is $1,432,000 for management and $5,359,000 for employees.

In 2014, management and employee went beyond what was approved for budget by approximately $80,000, while remuneration for 2015 and 2016 was below budget. The total remuneration for 2017 will not be available until the end of the year.

The Access to Information also requested the salary ranges for each level of management in the municipal structure. The response provided in-full the non-union salary as approved on November 3, 2015.
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The salary for directors was approved from $100,000 to $130,000, from $85,000 to $115,000 for managers, and $63,000 to $78,000 for out of scope employees, which includes project managers, the deputy chief and any other non-union supervisory positions.

The CAO position is excluded from the grid as it is negotiated through contract.

The request also asked for the annual wages and benefits for the former Director of Community Services Lyle Hannan who departed at the end of 2016, and for the current Manager of Community Services, Joey O’Brien.

The access to information request was not granted, as it was deemed an invasion of privacy.

The reason for this request, says Strembicki, was spurred by an article published in April 2017 in the Oliver Chronicle newspaper in which O’Brien is quoted as saying that he decided to take the position as Manager of Community Services in Crowsnest Pass for “a whole bucket load more money.”

The complete sentence reads, “A chance to live much closer to his family and “a whole bucket load more money” convinced ‘Snowy’ Joey O’Brien to leave his role as the operations manager at Baldy Mountain Resort.”
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Lastly, the Ratepayers Associated requested a copy of the organizational chart for 2017 and proposed for 2018, which is available publicly online, and the dates, times and agendas of Council management workshops, for which only the dates and times were provided.

Following the disclosure of the information presented in the Access to Information request, Strembicki noted, “the percentage of increases are a little bit exorbitant.”

“The reason we asked for this information isn’t so much to see what it’s costing us to run this community. The reason we asked for this is because Council felt that our management costs were flying,” says Oliver Strickland, board member with the Ratepayers Association and Vice Chair of the Economic Development Committee with the municipality. “The whole idea is to let the former CAO and future CAOs know that Council is the boss.”

Council only hires the CAO and the responsibility of hiring all other staff falls on the CAO, not on Council.

One audience member pointed out that the information is inadequate without statistics on how Crowsnest Pass compares to neighbouring communities of our population size, to which the Ratepayer’s Association responded that they would look into obtaining this information.

Strickland appealed to the audience that it is very important to attend Council meetings to be aware of which decisions are made and the reasoning behind them.

The next meeting is on September 21 at the Hillcrest Miner’s Club.
August 30th, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 35
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