Benefit payments in the hundreds of thousands to a few Richmond city employees in 2018 significantly bumped up their compensation, according to recently released financial documents.
The top salaried employee in Richmond, according to the Statement of Financial Information released in June, was the city’s chief administrative officer, George Duncan, who received $319,091 in base salary as well as $39,398 in benefits for a total of $358,489.
But an old policy allowing employees to bank vacation and other accumulated leave and cash out when they retire bumped the salary and benefits package of the manager of fleet and environmental programs, Suzanne Bycraft, by $235,702 bringing her total 2018 compensation to $370,428.
Tom Stewart, director of public works operations, also received a large benefit package, whereby his $167,040 salary was topped up by $186,796.
Peter Discusso, a project manager, received $134,604 in benefits on top of his salary of $115,183 and Aida Sayson received $154,969 in benefits on top of her salary of $122,052.
The policy was changed in 2005, but these employees were grandfathered in.
The top administrative officers in municipalities usually draw the highest salaries. However, Duncan’s salary and benefits package, at $358,489, topped that of Vancouver’s city manager, Sadhu Johnston, who received $350,003 in salary and benefits, despite Vancouver’s population being three times larger. Surrey’s city manager, Vincent Lalonde, received $393,803 in salary and benefits and the city manager of Burnaby, which is similar in population size to Richmond, received $300,708 in salary and benefits.
About 760 Richmond city employees earned more than $75,000 in 2018, according to the SOFI report.
City of Richmond top 10 earners in 2018:
Suzanne Bycraft: $370,428
Manager, Fleet and Environmental Programs
George Duncan: $358,489
Chief Administrative Officer
Tom Stewart: $353,836
Director, Public Works Operations
Roberto Gonzalez: $275,534
Aida Sayson: $277,021
Manager, Continuous Improvement
Andrew Nazareth: $270,167
General Manager, Finance and Corporate Services
Joe Erceg: $263,103
General Manager, Planning and Development
Peter Discusso: $249,787
Serena Lusk: $247,656
Manager, Community Services
Cecilia Achiam: $240,476
General Manager, Community Safety