NANAIMO — Expenses for two of the top figures in Nanaimo's political landscape marked the biggest changes in terms of spending in 2016.
According to the recently released statement of financial information, the greatest changes between 2015 and 2016 belonged to Mayor Bill McKay and Nanaimo's chief administrative officer (CAO) Tracy Samra.
McKay's expenses dropped by more than half, from more than $28,000 to roughly $9,500. He still led council in regards to expenditures. Mayor and council were working under a newly adopted spending policy, which capped certain expense claims and gave each member a set budget.
In her first year on the job, CAO Samra's expenses drastically increased over what was spent in 2015 and even over the last five years by the City's top employee.
According to the report, Samra claimed nearly $21,700 in expenses, up from the $3,700 spent by her predecessor Ted Swabey. The average expense claim for the top position at City Hall between 2011 and 2015 was a little more than $5,500.
The second highest expenses for a city employee belonged to deputy fire chief Karen Fry with slightly more than $13,200, followed closely by chief financial officer Victor Mema.
Samra was also the highest paid employee at City Hall, earning more than $223,400 last year. The five-year average salary for Nanaimo's city manager is $224,800.
Overall, the number of City Hall managers making more than $75,000 dropped by eight compared to 2015, while there were 16 more CUPE members earning that amount for a total of 260.
For their work with the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN), mayor Bill McKay earned $15,200 while other councillors earned roughly $14,500. Coun. Brennan and Fuller, listed as alternates, earned around $600.
RDN board chair Bill Veenhof led the field in salary and expenses, earning approximately $64,600 in 2016.
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