Will Vancouver city managers be forced to give up 4% pay raise?

Post by Mike Klassen in ,


Are city managers prepared to dig a little deeper this Christmas season to help balance Vancouver's books?

An interesting bit of correspondence arrived in our inbox today which might be of interest to everyone watching Vancouver's budget proceedings. The email is from Scott Edwards who works in the Engineering Department. Edwards heads up VACMPS, the association that represents all the exempt management employees at City Hall. It was sent to all exempt staff in Vancouver asking them if they would be prepared to give up their scheduled 4% pay raise scheduled to take effect on January 1st. They've been asked to complete a short online survey prior to November 27th.

According to the internal memo, City Manager Penny Ballem brought up the subject on November 12th at a "Connecting the Dots" meeting. Here is a copy of the email:

Sent: Friday, November 20, 2009 12:34 PM
To: Staff Eligible for VACMPS (Police) - DL; Staff Eligible for VACMPS (Library) - DL; Staff Eligible for VACMPS - DL

Subject: VACMPS - Survey of Exempt Staff on 2010 Wages

At the "Connecting the Dots" meeting with the City Manager on November 12th, a discussion took place about the possibility of exempt staff foregoing all or a portion of the 2010 wage increase of 4% in order to mitigate the impact of reductions within the Operating budget.

We are asking you to complete the survey before November 27th by following the link noted below. As with previous surveys conducted by VACMPS, your responses will remain anonymous.

Should you have any questions please feel free to contact VACMPS via email.


Scott Edwards, P.Eng.
VACMPS, President.

There have been rumours swirling for months that managers were going to be asked to forgo their pay hike. That's because Paul Faoro, CUPE 15 has been recommending to Council that this tool be used as a means to balance the 2010 budget. There is no word yet on whether the civic unions are also preparing to postpone some, or all of their 4% pay increase also scheduled to take effect on January 1st.

As for the survey results, they are considered confidential. We're uncertain as to what the management association is prepared to do if their members indicate they don't want to give up their raise. Perhaps go on strike? This is going to get interesting, folks.

NEW: Check out our online poll on this subject


"Will Vancouver city managers be forced to give up 4% pay raise?"


Of course they should. We can recall the extra 5% they gave themselves after the strike to ensure we retain them all. It works out to 2.7 million in savings.
The City is not legally bound to give them a raise, so its a no brainer.

There was no extra 5% - managers gave up vacation days in exchange for salary.

City hall worker is right. We have up days and that raise was only for those being paid above paygrade 8 I believe. Exempt staff under that didn't get anything. I think all those being paid above payband 8 and equiv in the union should give up the raise. All admin positions are very low in the compensation scale...exempt and union.

everyone above a certain pay grade got 6% extra (23.5% over 5 years instead of 17.5% for union staff) to keep senior managers pay equity on par with other industies as there was already a mass exodus of staff. If i were them, I'd only take the pay cut if it also translates to all City staff, union and non-union...why pick on the group that kept the City running during the 13 week strike the unions voted to take? Ask Penny if she's taking a pay cut herself...

All exempt staff gave up 3 gratuity days and the supplementary vacation for 3% more pay.

Pay bands 9 and above got an extra 3% "market adjustment."

I agree with "Glad".

As a reward for their stellar support during the election the VPD got oodles of cash for more cops while the firefighter's union got a huge bump up to EXCEED Surrey's 6%+ raise. AND they got Roger's head on a platter, so toss in that money (MY money and other taxpayers money to solve a POLITICAL problem!!!) on top of that too.

Paul Faoro, that phony, yaps about "managers" as if they don't have families, groceries and mortgages to consider too. Having worked in the public service as a "manager" I didn't get to enjoy the the pleasures of OT --but I did put in many 12 hour days, evenings, weekends, etc. that were dedicated to the service of odious pols of all persuasions (and their fart-catchers and hangers-on, too).

Bah, humbug!

Mr Edwards fell for an old trick. As president of an employee group, the executive would have met and decided that this was not in the interests of its members and said no! No need for a survey and no backing out of a labour deal. If you ask the excluded staff to cut, ask the union staff the same question. The union is smarter and would have said no! Contrary to what is protrayed it is correct that the exluded staff "traded" benefits for more income so there is no extra pay for the rank and file of the excluded group. Those in higher brackets got the extra 3% for market "retention" this excluded many of the professional engineers who are responsible for making the City function on a daily basis and who pitched in when asked to help the City run during a strike that none of them felt was justified. Council and Penny should realize that just asking for the survey has dealt a blow to staff morale and good luck attracting young professionals. By the way the pay structure is not attractive for the rank and file but it is a good place to park until the economy improves. Oh well this doesn't matter as you can alway refresh your staff with new hires that gain their knowledge by making mistakes at the taxpayers expense. That doesn't seem to matter to this lot. Perhaps Mr Edward and his employee group will do the right thing!

Obviously some of you people don't seem to understand that the Union staff have a legally binding contract, whereas the exempt mangers don't. You can talk about making the job attractive to young professionals all you want (as if no one would want to do them should they miss out on this four percent?!?!), and blabber on about them having to pay their bills to (no, really?!?), but there are no legal obligations to give the exempt staff the extra 4%. In fact, they can be paid whatever the City wants to pay them.

As for the length of the 2007 Civic Strike, go ask your pal Sam Sullivan why it lasted that long. The Civic Unions where willing to settle for what the other municipal unions in the region got, but the city wasn't willing to give it to them. Everyone "in the know" knew the reason too, the city wanted to save as much money as possible (by not having to pay its employees or deliver money loosing services). I heard a rumour, in August of that year, that the strike would last until October at least due to budget reasons... and low and behold it did. So yeah, the City preferred to prolong the strike until it knew it wouldn't have to raise taxes too much so as to not offend the voters. Sam and the NPA thought this was a calculated risk that could've helped them in the 2008 election, obviously it backfired.

In any case, the Unions are smart. If they weren't willing to take a back seat then, they shouldn't have to now? Again keep in mind the legally binding union contract involved. There's been a hiring freeze, which has translated to a substantial reduction in staffing levels for the last year or so. Civic staff (especially the union staff) have had to do more with less people for quite a while now, all the while not getting paid more. This has been especially hard on the part-time/auxiliary staff who used to rely on replacement to be paid. Many of them have been effectively "let go" for quite some time.

Hey Some Person...who are you kidding?? Pull your head out of the box. Are you really naive to think that the strike was the fault of the Mayor? Perhaps you should do some research on how the decision making process works within the four walls at City Hall.

While you think that exempt staff "they can be paid whatever the City wants to pay them", that is totally incorrect. Exempt staff have to go through a ruthless process for justification of any type of pay raise and in fact, have to follow the unions as close as possible.

I think that the union has been so into themselves for so many years, you have no other way to think. There are a few exempt staff, during the strike who donated their OT to the strike fund.

Oh hey, I forgot about this.

You've got to be kidding me 'Who are you Kidding' to think that the strike wasn't the mayor's fault. Obviously the people of Vancouver disagreed with you, as they kicked him out. He consistently and continually lowered the tone of the debate and it was only when his handlers told him to shut up, was there any modicum of respect between the two sides.

As for the exempt staff, what you said about them having to go through a ruthless process to justify pay raises has absolutely nothing to do with what I just said. I said that the government can cut their wages if they want to. In fact what you said proves that they can be paid whatever the city decides to pay them. They aren't in a union, so they have no protection or legally binding reciprocal need on behalf of the city to say "gee, we're going to make sure you get the same raise as the union's" once their terms of employment contract runs out/needs to be renewed. When the economy is good and workers can go else where, the city has to consider making their wages competitive. Otherwise, workers, union or not are "over a barell" so to speak. With a union at least there's some protection against getting screwed, without one there isn't. And whether or not that's morally justifiable is irrelevant, it's simply the truth. So if the city wants to save money they ought to skip the raise they're giving to the exempt staff, save as many services as possible which will help them save their own asses in the 2011 municipal election.

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