Overtime salaries issue gets headlines

Post by Daniel Fontaine in

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The front page of today's Province newspaper covers a CityCaucus.com story

Our recent posting regarding an FOI we released relating to the remuneration paid to Vancouver Police Department (VPD) employees in 2008 has been getting some attention from the mainstream media. Over the weekend, the Vancouver Sun first ran a story on the data we released, while The Province newspaper ran a cover story today. In addition, CKNW Morning Show with host Philip Till also had us on to discuss the issue.

Our story from last week revealed that over 345 employees in the VPD now make over $100,000. Two of those "non-executive" employees now earn almost a quarter of a million dollars which places them in the top 5 category along with the Chief and Deputy Chief of police. The Premier makes $175K while the Mayor of Vancouver earns about $135K.

You can anticipate the marketing machinery of the VPD will begin working in earnest this week to help you see this issue from their point of view. We're fully expecting there will be some nasty editorials and blog entries suggesting CityCaucus.com just doesn't support our police. This couldn't be further from the truth.

We're on record as saying Jim Chu is likely the best police chief in the country, and that he is committed to reforming the police operations. However, he is only one man and changing a culture that has become accustomed to overtime pay will be a difficult task when sitting across the table from such a strong union. Even the VPD's own website credits the union for increasing budgets:

A progressive Vancouver Police Union has ensured that we remain ahead of the curve in terms of equipment, resources, salary and benefits.

We believe that police should be fairly compensated for the hard work they do, however, with crime rates in decline every budget increase that goes to the department should be properly scrutinized. Given this Vision majority on Council have all but given a blank cheque to the department, we feel it is important to shed light on where all that property tax and ticket fine revenue is actually going.

It was also reported by The Province that the VPD have now run out of money and must go back to Council to ask for a budget increase. Given Mayor Geoff Meggs' comments in newspaper today, you can expect the money will begin flowing soon without so much as a single tough question as to how it's all being spent.

In a curious twist, the attention brought to the salary issue may end up helping the VPD to recruit new officers enticed by the high compensation. The phones will be probably be ringing off the hook at VPD's human resources department.

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