Province pundit Michael Smyth slammed provincial court judges - bellyachers of the bench, he called them - for demanding richer packages of salaries and benefits. Maybe Smyth is grinding an old axe; maybe he prefers targets that don't answer back or don't buy him lunch.
Regardless, I'd like to introduce the columnist to a group in his own neighbourhood; a group that enjoys a free pass from media.
It is the British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (bcIMC), headed by Doug Pearce, the highest paid civil servant in BC with 2011 earnings of $1.063 million.
bcIMC manages $87 billion of investments for the province, mostly pension funds. Managing is a somewhat imprecise word here because bcIMC pays outside investment professionals and consultants more than $100 million for investment services. The company's overhead expenses, not including direct investment costs, amounted to $38 million in 2011. $29 million was for salaries and benefits, which means the average employee at bcIMC earns $166,000 a year.
The Washington State Investment Board fulfills a similar role in the neighbouring state. WSIB manages $62 billion of investments and its operating expenses, not including direct investment costs, amounted to $11 million. $9.5 million was for salaries and benefits.
In other words, the bcIMC manages funds worth 40% more than WSIB but incurs administrative costs 345% higher than the American agency. Much of that difference is caused by vastly different executive remuneration. Here is a comparison of the five top paid management people in 2011:
In previous articles, I referenced numerous examples of senior BC bureaucrats enjoying salary increases far above typical percentages garnered by average people in this province. No department or agency compares with bcIMC when it comes to lining the pockets of senior staff.
Between 2007 and 2011, a period where most public servants made very modest gains, these increases were awarded senior executives of bcIMC:
Doug Pearce, CEO 78%
Lincoln Webb, VP 233%
Bryan Thomson, VP 60%
Chuck Swanson, VP 69.0%
One of the common claims is that higher salaries are necessary to attract and retain staff. The above comparison suggests that is mere rationalization rooted in avarice. If retaining staff is such a key element of setting remuneration, why did bcIMC pay VP Chuck Swanson a 69% increase between 2007 and 2011, including 9% in 2011, his year of retirement.
One contributor to excessive wage costs at bcIMC is the large and hungry population of Vice Presidents. I suspect there are more VPs than office clerks. Here is the current list:
Bryan Thomson, VP, Equity Investments
Paul Flanagan, VP, Fixed Income
Dean Atkins, VP, Mortgages
Lincoln Webb, VP, Private Placements
Mary Garden, VP, Realo Estate
Daryl Jones, VP, Research and Risk Measurement
Lynn Hannah, VP, Consulting and Client Services
David Woodward, VP, Finance and Operations
Carol Iverson, VP Human Resources
Robert des Trois Maisons, VP, Legal Affairs and General Counsel
Gina Pala, VP, Information Technology
Shauna Lukaitis, VP, Trade Management and Compliance
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