BC Liberals

Adventures in not net zero land

Unprecedented readership of this article first posted March 4 causes me to bring it back to the top. I encourage people among the thousands of new readers to return and look through almost 1,500 articles published during the past three years.

Helping manage the BC government’s war on school teachers and public education is Deputy Minister of Education James Gorman. He is a long time senior bureaucrat.

Public accounts show his salary in fiscal 2006 was $164,085.  In fiscal 2011, it was $228,942, an increase of 40% in five years. During that period, Gorman’s expenses were $136,616.

Gorman looks positively frugal compared to his colleague Rick Davis. The Education Ministry’s Superintendent of Achievement incurred expenses of $432,234 from 2006 to 2011. Spending more than $6,000 a month on lunches and such can’t leave much time for business but Davis is consistent, if nothing else.

John Dyble, Premier Photo-Op’s Deputy Minister, has also done well in the land of not net zero. Public accounts show that Dyble’s salary rose from $161,455 in fiscal 2006 to $239,121 in 2011. That was a 48% gain in five years but, the good news for Dyble is that his salary was bumped again in March 2011. His new rate is $310,000, about double what he earned five years ago.

Graham Whitmarsh, DM in the Health Ministry, had his salary go to $259,531 in fiscal 2010, 42% more than he earned in 2008. Whitmarsh charged additional personal expenses of $168,410 in the last four years.

Keith Miller, ADM for the Education Ministry’s Resource Management division earned $106,172 in fiscal 2009 and $172,381 in 2011, a growth of 62%.

Renate Butterfield, ADM for Business, Technology & Online Services Division, saw her salary grow 42% from 2006 to 2011.

David Loukidelis, long a senior Liberal bureaucrat, got 11% this year, a raise that makes his salary 42% more than it was in 2006.

Cheryl Wenezenki-Yolland, DM Advanced Education, has enjoyed steady increases in each of the last few years, including 27% ($47,000) in 2012. Since 2006, her earnings are up 115%.

Lynda Tarras, Associate Deputy Minister in Finance, scored healthy increases each year, moving her salary up by $86,459 or 78% from 2006 to 2011.

Paul Straszak from the Solicitor General’s ministry got a $59,760 (42%) raise between 2007 and 2009.

Steve Munro, DM of Aboriginal Relations earned $180,605 in fiscal 2011 but his salary in 2012 is $225,000, a one year increase of 25%.

Valerie St. John, ADM, Technology Solutions had to make do with a 9% raise in 2011, a year of net-zero for non-mandarins.

Sarf Ahmed, ADM, Integrated Workplace Solutions took raises in 2010 and 2011 totalling 14%.

Brad Grundy, ADM/EFO, Corporate Services, did a little better, his 2011 raise was 29%.

Wes Shoemaker, DM of Agriculture, has had three straight years of non net zero, adding $54,385 (32%), making his 2011 salary $224,229.

Dana Hayden, Deputy Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation, scored 8% this year, a raise of almost $20,000.

Kim Henderson, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Labour, Citizens’ Services and Open Government got a raise of 6.5% in 2011, about $1,200 a month.

Stephen Brown, Deputy Minister, Children and Family Development, has a $2,000 a month raise in 2011, 13% in the Liberal government’s world of not net zero.

Don Fast, DM in the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, has gained 18% over the last three years.

Kim Henderson, DM of Labour, got a $1,200 a month bump in 2011. Her 2011 salary of $235,000 is 55% more than the Liberal government paid her in 2009.

Pierrette Maranda, Associate Deputy Minister, Intergovernmental Relations Secretariat, earns 23% more in the current year than she earned in fiscal 2011.

Peter Milburn, DM in the Ministry of Finance, has had a particularly pleasant ride. This year, his salary rose 7% to $250,000, double what he was paid in 2006. Milburn also does better than most when it comes to expense accounts. Over a number of years, he averaged $3,000 a month. While that is not in Rick Davis territory, it is still an amount that shows remarkable disdain for taxpayers.

There is no austerity among the policy makers in Victoria. Keep in mind that their pensions and ancillary benefits are extravagant compared with those of ordinary public servants. Pensions for senior staff today are particularly extraordinary in relation to pensions paid a generation ago. There are few constraints because, among the mandarins, one person’s gain quickly spreads to the rest. So, if the Finance Ministry decides that their Deputy Minister, Assistant Deputy Ministers and Associate Deputy Ministers are worth two, three or four hundred thousand a year, soon every ministry is paying like amounts.

Even cabinet ministers and MLA’s start to think they should be paid as much or more than those they supposedly direct. There is no one willing to say no.

Sign an online petition if you support fair negotiations with BC’s school teachers.

Categories: BC Liberals, Education

96 replies »

  1. Oh dear. Your grammar is atrocious. You know, if you're a resident of BC, and you'd like to improve your skills, there is public funding available for you to go back to school.


  2. Unless you have spent at least a month in a classroom – planning, teaching to all learning abilities, marking, extra-help, extra-curriculars – do not judge a teachers job.


  3. “Education Minister George Abbott is appealing to the leadership of the BC Teachers' Federation to give him a call…”

    If he wasn't doing this for purely political reasons, he would have simply picked up the phone and called her, in private. The fact that he didn't, and instead left a message with the media says all we need to know about his motives.


  4. Moi, je ne suis pas du bc et je ne connais pas l'historique des libéraux de Mme. Clark mais j'ai l'impression d'être dans une immense et malheureusement bien triste farce.

    It seems unreal to have to fight to defend kids! Shouldn't we all be fighting to protect them? Take that salary raise ( mainly an adjustment to the inflation rate) out of the equation and the teachers and more importantly the kids in bc are still losing on all accounts with bill 22. It is not only unfair and unreasonable to propose such Ideas but to try and imposed them by sheer force is showing the extend of the government lack of respect of teachers, parents and students.

    C'est une bien triste histoire!


  5. NEVER LET REALITY OR FACTS GET IN THE WAY OF GOOD PROPAGANDA!!! Well done! Go ahead, assume that they were doing the same job in 2006 as they are doing today and that there was no promotions involved. (i.e Loukidelis used to be the Privacy Commissioner, an independent officer of the Legislature, before being DM – different job, different pay) And certainly don't mention how individual teachers moved along the salary grid during the same time getting more money each year. AND, don't mention how these folks oversee budgets in the $100's of millions and staff of thousands.

    And don't publish how big Susan Lambert's salary is, her expenses or her raises.

    Nope – don't say those things.

    Just keep saying that if teachers get richer, then kids get better educated. If the BCTF was serious about kids, they'd take the wage demands off the table and focus on the real issues instead.


  6. The issue here is not what Susan Lambert is paid since taxpayers don't pay her or her expenses. The issue that you seemed to have missed or ignored involves hypocrisy, deception and misdirection. That is coming from the BC Liberal government.

    Nor did I write here that “richer” teachers would equal better education. You show the weakness of your own position when you invent “facts” that you then argue against. In logic, the technique is called attacking a straw man.

    That is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by replacing it with a superficially similar yet unequivalent proposition (the “straw man”), and refuting it, without ever having actually refuted the original position.

    Unfortunately, it's faulty, dumb thinking like yours that keeps bad government in place. You are too easily fooled.


  7. Google this:
    Schedules of detailed expenditure BC Ministry of Finance.

    The material is in reports for each fiscal year ending March 31.

    You can also read Appointment Letters at Deputy Ministers' Council for British Columbia.

    I don't make up data here and I have few private sources. Information comes almost entirely from the public domain.



  8. With regards to your last comment, if you look back at the history of the BCTF bargaining, you would see that there were numerous times during which teachers did take a zero salary increase in exchange for better learning conditions for the students. You would also see that this government ripped those improvements out with the passing of Bill 27/28. And after that was found illegal by the BC Supreme Court last year, the Liberal government when given one year to correct it came up with Bill 22 – a Bill that again removes those better learning conditions (and again illegally – just not taken to court yet since the Bill has not passed).

    So using your logic, since the government is taking away things from our collective agreement, we should be compensated monetarily.


  9. When the MLAs voted to give themselves raises, they stated that there is a need to retain the best and brightest people that they can. Apparently that doesn't apply to any of the teachers, nurses, government employees and others under contract with the province as their employer, however.


  10. So we are saying that it is bad that James Gorman gets an increase in pay of 40% in five years. Yet in my district a beginning teacher would get an increase of 42% between 2006 and now. In fact even with “net-zero” every teacher will still get an increase, except for those already at the top of their pay scale ($65,000 – $81,000).


  11. Are you serious?! That's hilarious. The ten year scale for beginning teachers is absolutely ludicrous to begin with. It's hardly a living wage–especially with student loan repayments that so many deal with in addition to the many years of lost income many have experienced as full time students. How very desperate. Clearly, Gorman is entitled to his entitlements and those who justify this are as out of touch with tax payers and students as he must be.


  12. Not only that but Gorman and friends don't have to strike to get a raise and the base salary that his % increase is based on is much larger yielding a larger dollar amount. His overall income also makes it very worthwhile to hire an accountant and take advantage of every tax loophole and foreign investment scheme going. If he was doing a GREAT job he MIGHT be worth it but not with the current state of the system. Tax payers deserve a refund and damages.


  13. In my district, a category 5 teacher (the most common) is maxed after 10 years. Teachers earning this have two university degrees. Category 7 is maxed out also after 10 years but these teachers have two batchelor degrees and a masters degree. Individuals continue to upgrade their education as they work, something in common with other professions.

    For the remainder of their careers, they have no possibility of increase, barring negotiated improvements. Typically, teachers make unreimbursed personal expenditures for classroom supplies and other teaching expenses and cannot even deduct these for tax purposes. Tradespeople get deductions for supplies and tools.

    BTW, working in the private sector, I have better fringe benefits than my teacher friend so its myth that educators are royally treated compared to the rest of society.


  14. As a District Principal, my husband “ran” five schools, 12 months of the year. The job was so demanding he was forced to take early retirement, thereby sacrificing much of the pension he had contributed to throughout his career. Make no mistakes folks, teachers are not “given” pensions. They contribute very heavily every month for what they get.


  15. What a bunch of smoke in mirrors. That description talks a lot about Superintendants and districts and Ministry but does not once mention collaboration with teachers. Unless you count “executive educators” which is a smokescreen for the guy who used to work in the Ministry of Transportation but got transferred.


  16. Do those expenses also attract the “best” lunches, hotels, limos, etc.? They seem INSANELY high. Just sickening.


  17. The thing that gets me the most…I went to high school with Gorman and his 3 siblings….his mother is a TEACHER!!! He, along with his siblibgs, were part of every extra-curricular club and took advantage of a public education system that served him well. I cannot believe he is a part of this idiocy.


  18. Great point! Not only is he a part of it, he is leading it! He is the chief tactician when it comes to applying neolIberal philosophy to public education. He and his siblings would not fare well in public schools today


  19. The sad part is that what exists in Victoria has been replicated many times over in every school district board office, hospital region, university, etc. Six figure non net zero 'leaders' are paid for their silence and manipulation, managing cuts and remaining aloof and removed from the reality students, patients, and citizens face as 'beneficiaries' of a failing system.


  20. How very sad that the best rebuttal you could come up with was an “ad hominem” attack on me. “Dumb thinking on my part”, really? The issues YOU seem to have missed – and continue to propogate – is the hypocrisy, deception and misdirection in YOUR position when you don't publish the full facts around how they got increases. Einstein said – “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.” Thanks for another example….


  21. Oh my, he did not say YOU were dumb (THAT would be ad hominem) but rather that your THINKING is dumb. Bureaucratic group think and ideological bias is hard to break free of once an individual succumbs but keep working at it. Education and discourse are the foundations of a functioning democracy.


  22. I stand by my response but you are welcome to ignore it and pretend the issue is about you. Continue being a self-important twit. It is your right and you are exercising it well.


  23. Read up on the tradespeople deductions for supplies and tools. It a really hard deductions to qualify and should not be in your argument… [remainder deleted because it discusses taxation inaccurately. Note to writer: get a better tax consultant.]


  24. I am a teacher. I spend my own money (hundreds of dollars a year) to buy things I need to teach and I cannot claim any of it on taxes. Reading this report makes me want to cry.


  25. It's such a dark day now that Abbott, Clark, Gorman and Davis have gotten their way by passing Bill 22. On top of all the extra costs that the public pays including the HST, now they are going to have to pay for all the extracurricular things the teachers won't do now–sports teams, drama, tutoring…. Working to contract and Bill 22 with its higher class sizes and any number of special education students means a whole lot less time for each student and no extras. The very things that Christy and other private school parents pay extra for are the very things that Bill 22 has stripped away for public school children. It's quite sickening but that's the way neoliberalism works.


  26. @ anonymous…teachers require 2 Bachelors Degrees which is 6 years of schooling not just an Arts degree as you say. Secondly, teachers contribute heavily to their own pensions. Thirdly, teachers do not have summers off because they aren't paid not to mention the fact that most teachers I know spend at LEAST 3 weeks prepping, getting classrooms ready, finding ways to make students feel special on the first day, buying resources out of pocket, reading past IEP's, reading through 60-90 student files to make sure they know how to service the needs of each student INDIVIDUALLY. This is something that is expected, there is no time given for it… Nevermind trying to find resources to use for the programs or being assigned to teach a second language when you don't know it because cutbacks have gotten rid of specialists and “a teacher is a teacher is a teacher.” that is how it plays out with budget constraints


  27. Thank you for taking the time to bring this information to peoples' attention. Someone's comment was that some of the people listed had a promotion rather than a raise. Is there a way to sort out this out?


  28. That is a diversion. Pay attention to the large picture. Hypocrisy of the senior personnel is obvious. Click on the name HOWARD WALDNER of Vancouver island Health Authority or click on NOT-NET-ZERO.

    Remember also that a teacher takes 10 years to reach maximum salary and then has no change for the remaining 20 years or so of a typical career, beyond that negotiated in the overall contract.


  29. So this is where all of our tax money is going. I was wondering, cause everyone knows we pay a great % of our salaries in taxes of all kinds. I couldn't understand why the government, with ALL OF OUR $ in their coffers can't afford to provide proper funding for Education and Health Care, to name only 2 Social services. Oh, that's right, they really want to privatise them so they won't have to pay anything to educate and keep people healthy. Hmm.

    I get so irate with their latest ads about education and teachers -they will use the $164,000,000 to hire more teachers and Special Ed Assistants – so… is that to replace ALL THE ONES THEY HAVE LAID OFF in the last five years? That sounds familiar. .. and now they want to dictate teachers Professional Days??? They DO remember that these are days that TEACHERS themselves added to the school year so that they would have an opportunity throughout the year to meet with other colleagues and grow as a profession? They were NOT PAID anything extra for these days but it was so long ago that many people have forgotten. So if they are now to dictate what teachers do are they going to pay teachers 5 extra days of salary to compensate? They are already pushing teachers to do their Professional Development in the summer with the carrot stick of being able to take these days “off” during the school year. How long do you thing having those days off will last? Yup -teachers will be forced to spend 5 days of their holiday time in the summer to do Professional development and will NOT get those days off during the school year. So, let's see… that's 5 days more that teachers have worked without extra pay for Professional Days they added to the school year and now potentially 5 days of required ProD in the summer without pay (that's holiday time). Seems to me to add up to 10 extra days that teachers are giving the government free of charge. that's a pretty good deal for the government, but oh wait.. there's more. With these ads the government is trying to convince the public that teachers don't really use their ProD days -they just take the days off!! So, the government's solution is to control the ProD days AND to control how teachers teach. have you listened to those ads? I know, I have had to start muting them out cause I get the urge to do bodily harm to my TV. You don't see the government showing ads about how many teachers take University courses during the summer (paid for by themselves) or during the school year to grow n their profession and yet they want to dictate ProD days? Are there ProD days for MLAs, cabinet ministers or premier? If so, who tells them what they have to study on those days? Hmm… lots of room for possibilities there. Maybe they could use some of those big expense accounts to fund ProD Days for themselves. There's a thought.

    One more thing about holiday time. I worked for 35 years as a teacher and got 3 weeks of paid holidays (REMEMBER PEOPLE, TEACHERS DON'T GET PAID IN THE SUMMER MONTHS. WE WORK FOR 10 MONTHS OF THE YEAR). Has there ever been a study on how long it takes other workers to get their 6 and 8 weeks of paid holidays ,,, and I'm not even talking about the people in government. Then there's the whole increments scale. How many people working in other areas have to work for 8 or 10 years to get to their maximum salary?

    Thanks for the opportunity to speak. I hope that a huge % of our BC voting population reads this.


  30. Just because the other companies are allowing their senior bureaucrats to slop at the trough, that does not justify to the public that they should just blindly accept that the practise is necessary to attract quality personnel? It is time for the public to draw a line in the sand and demand rollbacks of their wages and overstuffed pension plans. The public can only afford to support so much and the increases granted,as published by this site, are out of line and insanely bloated.
    The public is gets angry when they watch the CEOs of corporations getting massive numbers of stock options granted to CEOs for guilding a company through tough times(in other words the balance sheet is going down) ….yes that's right, they get a huge bonus for failing on top of their already bloated salary.
    You cannot claim to be fair to teachers when you appoint a mediator with a mandate to do nothing other than trade oranges for apples. I could actually live with that if the government would allow the public to appoint an independent board to set salaries for management.
    Can the government claim that they are interested in education for kids when they just throw money in a hat and then dispense it to pay bonuses and inflated raises to management?
    Do teachers deserve a raise…probably. Do kids deserve something better than government spinning the dollars into a public photo shoot when in fact the government has done nothing? There have been cuts to special needs kids….do these children deserve a quality of schooling too? What kind of quality person would lead by taking money allocated for special needs children and then hand it back under another name and claim that they are spending big to help kids education? The public is getting really tired of this juggling instead of doing something real.
    As a parent of a special needs student, I have the utmost respect for the teachers and have had to deal with government cuts to the point of feeling beaten up and ready to give up.


  31. The previous comment makes some good points.

    Does the following quote from Bill 22 say that the Government doesn't have to abide by a court ruling?

    “Retroactive effect

    24 Despite any decision of a court to the contrary made before or after the coming into force of this section, words, phrases, provisions and parts of provisions deleted, under section 8, from a collective agreement between the British Columbia Teachers' Federation and the British Columbia Public School Employers' Association must not for any purpose, including any suit or arbitration commenced or continued before or after the coming into force of this section, be considered part of that collective agreement on or after July 1, 2002.”

    If so, we should all be up in arms.


  32. Looking at the Northern Insight blogspot perspective, I would suggest that the first order of business would be to give them all a dose of their own medicine, issue their pinks slips once legislation similar to Bill 29 is passed effectively removing their rights so that they have no recourse and ability to take it before the courts. A complete misuse and waste of taxpayer monies. Your damn rights the successful beaurocrats need to punished. They're not working in our best interests. In my books, if you tell the public we are in a net zero environment, then it applies to everyone. A very classic example of taking much needed operational revenue and using it to line your pockets. Such a huge deficit since 2002 and these guys are writing themselves cheques? You're not making money. You're fired, You're gone, You're out of here. Sit down clowns. I would have them fired and deal with their court applications later and make it quick. I would think that any reasonable court would suggest that these Ministry individuals have looked at their budgets and said Hey, I've got room here to divert these funds over to a salary increase. Geeeezus Murphy this borders on being criminal.


  33. This might give you some idea of what the “Superintendent of Achievement” is. This was taken off the BC Gov site.

    When Can I Appeal to a Superintendent of Achievement?

    If an appeal to the board of education does not resolve your concerns, you may appeal to a superintendent of achievement, as long as the matter falls within the scope of the Appeals Regulation (PDF, 25KB) and relates to:

    Expulsion from an educational program;
    Suspension from an educational program;
    Suspension from an educational program where no other educational program is made available;
    Distributed learning required as part of a disciplinary matter;
    A decision not to provide a student with an IEP;
    Consultation about placement of a student with special needs and the provision of an Individual Education Plan (IEP);
    Bullying behaviors, including intimidation, harassment or threats of violence; or
    Exclusion due to a medical condition that endangers others.

    If the matter is not within the scope of the Appeal Regulation the superintendent of achievement has no jurisdiction.

    An appeal to a superintendent of achievement may be started only after a section 11 appeal to a board of education has been heard and a decision made.


  34. hmmmmm, this reminds me of the Socreds back in the early 90's (?). They knew that they were going down to defeat in the polls so they booster all their faithful beaurocrats salaries AND renewed their employment contracts for 4 more years…… The result?
    The NDP came into power and immediately fired all the top Socred beaurocratic bootlickers. This had the unfortunate consequence of the issuing of MASSIVE SEVERANCE packages to all those dismissed.

    Stay tuned, I'm sure that all these beaurocrats will have their employment contracts quietly renewed 6 months before the election writ is dropped.

    I would personally enjoy watching the NDP keep these weasels in their positions and grind them to do their jobs!


  35. It begins to look like it is time for a general strike with the end objective being the removal of the above listed from their positions this is outrageous egregious use of political power and needs to be ended summarily a GENERAL STRIKE may be the last best hope to end the political corruption. The question is one of ;Is there the will this wont end otherwise I don't think…
    The only solution may well be the organization of a GENERAL STRIKE with the objective of removing these corrupt parasites and those who have aided and abetted in this egregious act of theft from the public purse their positions altogether.reduced and cut .. Is there a public will to do this???


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