Every taxpayer in Saanich should be steamed with revelations about ‘golden parachutes’ paid to all retiring union, non-union, sworn and civilian police staff.

“For generations, working for the public sector gave you job security, a quality working environment, and a good wage with benefits,” says Stan Bartlett, chair of Grumpy Taxpayer$ of Greater Victoria.

“Now, if you work for the taxpayer and retire, it’s like winning a $100,000 lottery.”

A report (link below) by Chief Constable Robert Downie to Saanich council this week said the average payout to a retiree in retirement allowances and accrued leave during the period 2017 to 2020 will be $93,646 based on 2017 pay rates. The payouts are over and above annual pensions negotiated by the Saanich Police Association and the Saanich Police Board and are largely unknown to the public.

Most taxpayers simply aren’t familiar with the contractual concepts of ‘retirement allowances, accrued sick time gratuities, retirement gratuities, and retirement bonuses,’ says Bartlett.

“What matters here is transparency,” says Bartlett.”Is this list of benefits complete? Has Saanich council adequately made provision in its annual budgets for future payouts?”

The report projected that seven anticipated retirements in 2018 could add up to more than $756,000 in combined retirement allowances and accrued leave payments. Combined retirement allowances and accrued leave payments could add up to more than $557,000 in 2020 with five expected retirements.

Downie said policies have been in place since 2014 that will prevent any accumulation of [accrued] leave beyond what the policy allows in the future.

But Downie does not indicate if accrued leave – banked annual leave accumulated during a career – was paid out at current and consequently higher salary. It appears unused sick leave is paid out at current salary as a bonus to a maximum of 50 per cent and 520 hours.

The report was ordered by Mayor Richard Atwell following public outrage about the retirement payouts and re-hiring of Chief Downie by the Saanich Police Board.

Downie was paid $378,790 in combined retirement allowance and accrued time following his retirement on July 31, only to be rehired as a contractor for two years (plus an option year), with an annual salary of about $222,711 plus benefits, vacation, leaves of absence and expense reimbursements.


Impact of Saanich Police Retirement Projections, Report from Chief Constable Downie to Saanich Council, Oct. 18, 2017.

Saanich’s top cop says his contract is rare, Saanich News, Oct. 25, 2017.


Grumpy Taxpayer$ is a non-profit, unaffiliated, non-partisan, citizen’s advocacy group dedicated to lower taxes, less waste, and more accountable municipal government. DONATE & JOIN US?