RDN discloses new CAO’s contract, but Nanaimo city manager’s deal still secret

Regional District of Nanaimo wastes little time making Phyllis Carlyle's contract public, but Nanaimo's taxpayers still in the dark about Tracy Samra's pay
While Nanaimo taxpayers have been kept in the dark about their new city manager’s pay and perks, the regional district has published its new top manager’s employment contract even before she arrives.

Phylis Carlyle
RDN’s CAO Phyllis Carlyle

In response to a freedom of information request from News Nanaimo, the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) yesterday published the full employment contract  (PDF) for new Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Phyllis Carlyle, who will be taking at least a $12,000 salary hit to come to the Island.

A practicing lawyer with more than 26 years municipal experience, Ms. Carlyle will be paid a starting salary of $206,000 per year. She will be entitled to a $750 per month car allowance and nine weeks vacation, including one week in recognition of excessive overtime when she starts on October 11.

Public records show that Ms. Carlyle earned a base salary of $218,618 plus benefits worth $54,304 at the City of Richmond in 2015, where she was general manager of law and community safety.

The RDN’s prior CAO Paul Thorkelsson, who left to take the top job at the District of Saanich, earned $251,000 last year and $210,000 in 2014.

Ms. Carlyle’s five-year contract states that she can take part-time work with prior approval of the RDN board and is entitled to 12 months severance if she is terminated without cause within the first year.

RDN CAO contract exerpt

RDN more responsive than Nanaimo city hall

The disclosure of Ms. Carlyle’s contract came just 11 business days after we filed a freedom of information request for it with the RDN. That is less than half the time similar requests to the City of Nanaimo typically take.

A request News Nanaimo made for Nanaimo CAO Tracy Samra’s employment contract on August 30 has not even been acknowledged by the city. We asked for that information as well as details of Ms. Samra’s previous employment and severance from the city in 2013.

The public has never been given details of how much taxpayers are paying Ms. Samra, who has a law background but is not licensed to practice.

While pay details of other city staff who earned $75,000 or more in 2015 were published in June, Ms. Samra was not included because she joined the city in November and did not meet the reporting threshold.

News Nanaimo made the application for Ms. Samra’s current employment contract after sources claimed that council recently considered a request to increase her salary.

Last week, we published details of Ms. Samra’s expenses which showed that they are on track to be three to four times as much as her predecessor’s.

A copy of Ms. Carlyle’s employment contract is embedded below. The blacked out portions are personal address information redacted by the RDN under Section 22 of the BC Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.