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City of Trail staffing costs up 7.6% in 2021

The City of Trail paid just over seven and a half per cent more to employees and elected officials in 2021 than 2020, according to its annual statement of financial information.

The document, whose release was nearly six months behind schedule, shows the city’s total payroll including salaries, stipends, and expenses was $6.63 million in 2021, compared to $6.16 million the year before. The totals don’t include the library, which produces a separate statement.

The top earning employee in 2021 was chief administrator and chief financial officer David Perehudoff, who earned $217,473 plus $5,784 in expenses. Perehudoff left the city at the end of September of that year following a spat with then-councillor Robert Cacchioni, who was later found to have breached the city’s code of conduct. Perehudoff is now the chief financial officer and acting chief administrator in Warfield.

The city’s other top earners last year were corporate administrator Michelle McIsaac ($147,385 plus $784 in expenses), public works director Chris McIsaac ($123,905 plus $936 in expenses), and parks and recreation director Trisha Davison ($119,839 plus $3,297 in expenses).

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In 2020, Perehudoff was again the top earner at $273,879 plus $4,443 in expenses, followed by Chris McIsaac ($122,360 plus $190), Davison ($117,663 plus $1,543), utilities superintendent Craig Speers $111,182 plus $1,450) and deputy parks director/airport manager Robert Baker ($110,401 plus $6,603).

Overall 11 employees made over $100,000 in 2021 while 36 made more than $75,000. Total remuneration for the latter group was $3.44 million plus about $46,000 in expenses, while employees earning under $75,000 accounted for a combined payroll of $2.97 million and about $11,000 in expenses.

In 2020, 10 employees earned more than $100,000 while 30 were above the $75,000 threshold. The former collectively made $2.95 million in salary plus $43,000 in expenses while the latter made $2.98 million and were reimbursed for $23,000 in expenses.

On the elected officials side, mayor and council earned a combined $158,047 in 2021. Mayor Lisa Pasin was paid $40,337 and claimed $115 in expenses. Each councillor made $19,437 except Eleanor Gattafoni Robinson who was paid $18,525. None submitted any expense claims.

The previous year’s total was $153,979. Pasin was paid $39,562 plus $314 for expenses. Councillors were paid $19,062 each and a combined $643 in expenses, except for Gattafoni Robinson who made $18,150.

In March of this year, council approved a two per cent raise for itself, retroactive to Jan. 1, but reversed the decision before it took effect.

The financial statement is a legal requirement of all municipalities, regional districts, school districts, and other public bodies. They normally have to be filed by June 30 of each year, but Trail sought an extension due to a delay in completing its audited financial statements, which in turn was partly the result of Perehudoff’s departure.

In presenting the belated document to council this week, recently-hired city manager Colin McClure said it is “built on trying to provide transparency.”

“If you saw a councillor who had pay or a much larger expense budget than the rest, that would allow for an explanation,” he said. “There’s an understanding it’s going to be published and people are going to see what’s happening.

“I think [the report] provides value, although it can be uncomfortable for our employees to have their salaries reported out.”

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