Critics question increase in City of Vancouver communications staff

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City of Vancouver communications staff balloons
WATCH: Critics say the communications department at the City of Vancouver has ballooned and are wondering whether taxpayers really need to be paying all those salaries. Rumina Daya reports – Mar 23, 2017

A big increase in the number of communications staff has critics slamming the City of Vancouver.

Since Vision Vancouver took office, 33 communications workers have been hired, including 12 managers and coordinators, and seven public engagement officers.

Twenty-one of them are costing the taxpayers $2.3 million. The salaries of the other 12 temporary communications staff are yet to be determined.

That’s a big jump from just seven workers and a $600,000 cost under former NPA mayor Sam Sullivan.

“It is really hard to justify why you would see such a massive increase, not only in the number people, but also the cost,” said Scott Henning with Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

But Vancouver City Manager Sadhu Johnston says he does not think the extra staff is a waste of taxpayers’ money.

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“It is not the case from our perspective, we have the number of people that we think we need,” said Johnston. “The media landscape has changed fundamentally in the last ten or fifteen years. We need to stay cutting-edge and on top of that, so that’s what we are trying to do.”

The 33 communications positions don’t include Mayor Gregor Robertson’s office, which sources tell Global News, has significantly increased the number of staff since Sullivan was mayor.

Robertson has not responded to interview requests from Global News.

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