Vancouver police chief Adam Palmer earned $493,932 in 2022

Top cop paid $493,932

Vancouver Police Chief Adam Palmer earned almost a half million dollars in 2022.

Palmer’s earnings totalled $493,932 last year, which was $115,564 more than he collected in 2021, according to information posted Tuesday to the Vancouver Police Department’s website.

The Vancouver Police Board, which announced in January that Palmer’s contract will be extended until 2025, explained Wednesday in an emailed statement that “the salary scale for a chief constable is a range.”

“The top of the range in 2022 was $380,746,” said Faye Wightman, vice-chairperson of the board. “The compensation reported reflects salary plus one-time payments that include retroactive payments as a result of pay scale adjustments and accumulated unused leave payouts.”

Palmer’s $493,932 in earnings suggest he was the highest paid leader of a municipal police department in Canada in 2022.

Last June, the Edmonton Police Commission released a public statement revealing the 2022 salary of Edmonton Police Chief Dale McFee was $340,000. That statement also included the 2021 salaries for chiefs in Toronto ($356,000), Calgary ($244,677 to $299,250) and Winnipeg ($291,834).

That same year, Palmer’s total earnings were $378,368.

The information from the Edmonton commission did not include performance bonuses, vacation pay or other money owed to the chiefs under the terms of their contracts, which are not often made public unless released under a Freedom of Information request.

In Edmonton, McFee’s contract is posted to the commission’s website, whereas Palmer’s is not available on the Vancouver board’s website. Details of his contract extension are also not posted on the site.

Contract extension

Media and the public learned of Palmer’s contract extension when Mayor Ken Sim broke the news Jan. 19 at a police board meeting at the Cambie Street precinct. Palmer’s contract was to expire in June.

“I feel personally, and I know I speak for the board, that we’re incredibly fortunate [to have you as chief],” said Sim, who doubles as chairperson of the police board.

“It’s been a very challenging time over these last couple of years for a whole host of issues…and the leadership that you’ve displayed for the VPD and the city has been absolutely amazing.”

Palmer, who was sworn in as chief May 2015, told Glacier Media in an interview two weeks later that he loves the profession and that “I’ve definitely got some good years left in me, and I’m not ready to retire yet.”

The city’s statement of financial information, which was released last week and lists names of employees who earned more than $75,000 per year, doesn’t include the salaries of Vancouver police officers.

A privacy ruling more than a decade ago is the reason.

Palmer’s earnings were obtained via a request under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, with the VPD posting the information Tuesday. The earnings of Palmer’s deputy chiefs Steve Rai ($383,044), Fiona Wilson ($321,662) and Howard Chow ($368,539) were also provided.

All three deputies also got contract extensions until September 2027.

Earlier this month, council approved an operating budget of $373.5 million for the Vancouver Police Department, which includes $8 million to begin hiring 100 officers. Approximately 20 per cent of the city’s operating budget is spent on police.

City manager earned $343,549

Historically, the chief of police in Vancouver has been the highest paid city employee, followed by the city manager, a position currently held by Paul Mochrie, who earned $343,549 last year, according to the city’s statement of financial information.

Other top earners in 2022 were:

  • Chief financial officer Patrice Impey, $309,456
  • Fire Chief Karen Fry, $263,828
  • General manager of engineering services Lon LaClaire, $293,356
  • Planning director Theresa O’Donnell, $281,185
  • General manager of arts, culture, community services Sandra Singh, $306,774
  • Chief librarian Christina de Castell, $267,662
  • Director of legal services Francie Connell, $308,056
  • Chief human resources officer, Andrew Naklicki, $251,361

Earnings for the mayor and councillors varied last year because some didn’t get re-elected and newcomers didn’t begin their jobs until late fall.

Rookie councillors Peter Meiszner, Brian Montague, Lenny Zhou and Mike Klassen all collected $10,552 last year. Sim, who defeated Kennedy Stewart, made $20,970 since elected Oct. 15. His salary this year is $199,143.

All 10 councillors will earn at least $98,585 this year. That salary does not include expense allowances or compensation related to board member work at Metro Vancouver.

Councillors also receive pay for duties as deputy mayor and duty councillor (monthly salary was $3,402 for both in 2022) and a monthly salary of $1,237 as acting mayor, according to 2022 compensation figures.

Council gets 7.3% pay raise

In the election, five politicians lost their seats — Stewart, Jean Swanson, Melissa De Genova, Colleen Hardwick and Michael Wiebe. All received in their final paycheques what the city calls “deferred remuneration.”

The amount of money was based on salary and time served.

The payouts were as follows:

  • Stewart, $13,717
  • De Genova, $19,567
  • Swanson, $6,791
  • Hardwick, $6,791
  • Wiebe, $6,791

Meanwhile, Sim and his new council received a 7.3 per cent pay raise to begin 2023.

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