Where the Money Goes

Posted by: | November 6, 2009 | 6 Comments

In case you haven’t heard, UBC’s salary data has been released for the fiscal year ending March 2009 (available here, Excel sheet including 2008 data, compiled by UBC Insiders, available here). In accordance with the Financial Information Act of BC, this document includes a breakdown of all persons earning over $75,000 and lists both remuneration and expenses. Upon analysis of this and the 2008 data, some interesting observations can be made.

Note: When examining this data, it is important to remember that remuneration is not purely paid salary but also includes benefits and other forms of compensation.

One datum which immediately jumped out, upon scanning through all 3,261 names, was that former UBC President, Martha Piper received a whopping $359,127 in 07-08 and another $96,526 in 08-09. As her term as UBC’s President ended in June 2006, it is astounding to see such large amounts of compensation still being paid.

It may also be interesting to note that UBC’s net salary increase was 8.19% from 07-08 to 08-09.

More detailed analysis of raises and other salary data after the jump.


Probably the most interesting set of data we can examine is to look at the raises some of UBC’s more well known figures or departments received.

Knowing that UBC lost a significant amount of money on it’s investments last year, you might expect that the head staff at UBC IMANT (Investment Management Trust) Inc. would receive little to no increase in salary. It is therefore surprising to see that Philip Falls (President and CEO of UBC IMANT Inc) and Roger Polishak (Director, Manager Relations and Investment Operations) both received significant increases in remuneration.

It is also interesting to see how many other employees of UBC Finance received increased pay. A particularly interesting raise to look at is that of Terry Sumner, former VP Finance & Administration who retired in May 2008 only halfway through his term. Despite leaving only one month into the 08-09 fiscal year, Sumner received a whopping $422,800.00 in remuneration; a 46.57% increase over his 07-08 pay of $288,460.00. As UBC had at this point suffered losses to its investment portfolio, and had begun to encounter budgetary issues, it is alarming to see raises of this size being bestowed upon those responsible for managing finances.

Name Position 2008
% Increase
Ian Burgess Comptroller, UBC Finance $146,312 $176,482 20.62%
Andrew Glynn Director of Financial Reporting & Budgeting, UBC Finance $111,953 $138,689 23.88%
Trang Nguyen Associate Director, Budget Office, UBC Finance $79,355 $95,701 20.60%
Peter Smailes Treasurer, UBC Finance $127,256 $141,845 11.46%
Philip Falls President & CEO, UBC IMANT $297,711 $331,975 11.51%
Roger Polishak Director, Manager Relations & Investment Operations,
$153,349 $173,754 13.31%
2009 UBC Investment Income: ($188,903,000)

UBC Properties Trust Employees also fared on average quite well in the 2009 remuneration boost, with 10 employees receiving significant raises. Considering PT has a monopoly on all capital projects at UBC, it is rather alarming to see such high raises; especially considering the current ‘times of economic uncertainty’ and the difficulties many important projects are encountering in terms of finding appropriate funding. It also doesn’t help that UBC PT doesn’t have the best track record in recent years.

Name Position 2008
% Increase
Al Poettcker President & CEO $222,895 $256,679 15.16%
David Roche Development Manager $121,586 $153,936 26.61%
CFO & Vice President $206,991 $227,984 10.14%
Nancy Mann Director of Property Manager, VG Homes $84,104 $101,145 20.26%
Nick Maile Development Manager $137,056 $159,419 16.32%
Paul Young Director of Planning & Design $160,858 $185,575 15.37%
Rob Brown Vice President $179,106 $233,669 30.46%
Rob Wood Project Manager $86,396 $106,588 23.37%
Stephanie Glen Controller $96,676 $106,685 10.35%
Jas Sahota Vice President $176,274 $208,524 18.30%

As this article would be incomplete without examining the top UBC brass, a table is provided below with the salary data for all VPs (and AVP HR). Some interesting observations:

  1. While other media outlets may fixate on the high remuneration value for President Toope, it is interesting to note that his total compensation has reduced by over 1.5% since last year.
  2. It is interesting to note that Barbara Miles and Stephen Toope each claimed just in excess of $100,000 in expenses last year, though they were slightly overshadowed by Gavin Stuart, Dean of Medicine, coming in at $109,403 in expenses.
  3. It is comforting to note that most of UBC’s high-level administrators received relatively small raises (neglecting Owen and Farrar for reasons described below), with the exception of Lisa Castle, who received a 26% increase.
Name Position 2008
% Increase
Stephen Toope President $532,105 $523,134 -1.69%
Barbara Miles VP Development & Alumni Engagement N/A1 $244,084.00 N/A1
Stephen Owen VP External, Legal & Community Relations $157,2572 $256,732 63.26%2
Pierre Ouillet VP Finance, Resources & Operations N/A3 $122,5003 N/A3
David Farrar Provost & VP Academic $169,2274 $307,961 81.98%4
John Hepburn VP Research & International $264,309 $268,890 1.73%
Brian Sullivan VP Students $261,547 $270,129 3.28%
Lisa Castle AVP Human Resources $218,260 $276,340 26.61%
  1. Hired late in 2008, remuneration must be under $75,000 and not reported.
  2. Hired August 15, 2007, thus 2008 salary amount is incomplete and ‘raise’ is not accurate.
  3. Hired January 2009, thus 2009 salary amount is incomplete.
  4. Hired September 1, 2007, thus 2008 salary amount is incomplete and ‘raise’ is not accurate.


6 Comments so far

  1. Ead on November 7, 2009 8:51 am

    Andrew, I can’t speak about any of the other individuals listed, because many of them are above me in the chain of command, but one thing you might want to consider is that the remuneration of Dr. Piper and Mr. Sumner are probably inclusive of severance, and cash in lieu of accrued unused vacation time.

  2. Ashley on November 8, 2009 12:40 pm

    I also wish it were possible to know if these raises were all merit-based, or if they were for salary equity/best practices purposes.

  3. Jeana Si on November 8, 2009 7:37 pm

    Is there a similar breakdown for the salaries of AMS Executive? For the current year and previous years?

  4. Jocelyin Williams on November 9, 2009 5:24 pm

    It’s nice to notice how administrators get raises (or make over 500k) and students get funding cuts. At least we know who is important and who is not around here.

  5. Andrew Carne on November 10, 2009 10:00 am

    Yes, the pay for Dr. Piper and Mr. Sumner is likely severance pay. However, in the case of Dr. Piper, I find it hard to comprehend how said pay is almost $360,000 a full year after she retired, and almost $100,000 another year after. This seems a bit excessive to me for someone who retired, as opposed to someone who was let go with a severance package.

    With regards to wether these raises were merit-based or not, unfortunately there is no data available. We can only speculate based on what we know of the performance of high profile UBC employees.

    All salary changes for AMS executives should be documented in AMS Council minutes, as any changes are approved by that body.

  6. F. Hydrant on November 12, 2009 5:07 am

    It’s common for administrators from academic backgrounds to negotiate a paid leave for the end of their term, to allow their research and sanity to recover (and/or let them catch up on missed sabbatical). They’d be paid their original salary (or possibly the higher administrator one?) but excused from teaching and administrative tasks and generally paid from the budget that hired them as an administrator, not by their department. This would typically be one year off for a standard 5-year term, and often accumulates if they stay in admin. This is common at the Head/Dean/AVP levels, not sure about higher up.

    It would make somewhat less sense for someone who’s hired directly into an administrative position, with little to no research/teaching expected of them (and possibly without being appointed as a faculty member), particularly if there’s an expectation that they’ll serve out the rest of their useful academic life in the position. The fact that it requires contortions of logic does not mean that people won’t be able to negotiate it in, however, particularly if they’re negotiating against friends and colleagues. A dollar to a doughnut that’s what you’re looking at: Martha’s 9 years (?) would give her roughly two years of paid leave.

    Aside from base salary, AMS execs get food vouchers and possibly some other, more minor benefits. In principle, I think these are tracked, and they should be available in the Really Big Excel Spreadsheet, but I don’t recall seeing them reported.

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