The city signed six severance agreements last year and paid out between seven and 20 months of salary and benefits for each, according to 2020 statements released last week.
This compares to three such agreements in 2019, two in 2018 and one in 2017.
In contrast, the city of Vancouver signed a severance package last year and paid three months’ wages, according to its report.
Although annual reports do not provide details, four senior executives who left the city of Burnaby without explanation in 2020 still found themselves on the so-called ‘sunshine list’.
The city’s three top IT executives – CIO Shari Wallace and deputy directors John Cooke and Jacek Kaim – left in July. But their combined salary in 2020 was still $ 426,082.
Marie Ishikawa, a member of the city’s communications staff, said only that the city was “undergoing a departmental reorganization.”
Wallace said she was unable to comment due to the conditions of her release.
According to the organizational charts included in its five-year financial plans, the city appears to have cut the posts of deputy director of the IT department.
A March 2020 chart shows two assistants and an assistant deputy responding to Wallace, while a March 2021 chart included in the city’s most recent five-year plan shows only managers, senior executives, and a vacant deputy director position. deputy reporting to the new CIO Bashar Khawajah.
When the city laid off more than 1,500 unionized workers – but no managers – last April in response to massive revenue losses linked to COVID-19, Mayor Mike Hurley said the problem with the removal of managers was contracts requiring compensation, generally based on years of service.
“Sometimes that (severance pay) can be more expensive. … Most of the city’s managers have been here for a long time, ”Hurley said in April 2020.
Three months later, the IT management team was gone.
Wallace and his deputies weren’t the only senior executives to disappear from the city without an explanation last year.
When former Fire Chief Joe Robertson left town in late March after 30 years of service, the town declined to say even if he had retired, resigned or been fired.
But SOFI 2020 shows the city paid him $ 194,060 last year, suggesting he, like Wallace and his deputies, signed a deal that included compensation.
In Robertson’s case, however, the decision was clearly not a cost-cutting measure as compensation paid to chiefs and deputy chiefs of fire departments in 2020 was more than $ 200,000 higher than in 2020. 2019 – and current Fire Chief Chris Bowcock did more in the past year than Robertson once served as chief, according to earlier reports from SOFI.