(Updated) The Mayor’s former Chief of Staff Mike Magee (now temporary lobbyist for the Mayor in Ottawa) saw a significant pay hike in 2015. Based on figures released in the City’s latest financial statement, Magee earned a total of $144,547 in 2015 and was reimbursed for $20,303 in expenses, up from his base salary of $106,465 and expenses of $4,979 in 2014, the civic election year. (That means an increase of over $38,000 and $15,000, respectively.) In April 2016, the City announced that Magee would fill a new advisory role to lobby the federal government.
Late last year, Mike Magee made headlines when it was revealed that he regularly deleted his emails as the City’s Chief of Staff (Mayor Gregor Robertson’s right-hand man, a powerful position as a public servant), an action that frustrated Freedom of Information inquiries (the story was first revealed by Bob Mackin, investigative journalist, in ‘No real excuse for deleting emails’: Vancouver City Hall secrets probed by privacy czar – Commissioner Denham looking at Vision Vancouver’s access to information practices, The Province, November 9, 2015).
Magee’s pay increase of $38,082 is documented below:
Another interesting piece of information that was recently released was Magee’s very sizable single contribution of $10,000 to Vision Vancouver on May 31, 2015, bringing his officially-reported personal donations to the ruling civic party to a total of $10,440 last year. Is it normal for a civil servant to make large donation to a political party, especially in a non-election year? What were the motives of that donation and its timing? What are the optics of Magee making a large donation in a year when he also received a big $38,082 pay hike? By contrast, in 2014, Magee donated ‘just’ $605 to the Vision party (see list at bottom).
Unreported in the media (as far as we know), Vision Vancouver filed not one, but two amendments to their 2014 general campaign disclosure with Elections BC. The most recent amendment document was quietly filed on April 12, 2016. During the 2014 civic election, Vision Vancouver declared spending a record $3,411,687.55 (mostly corporate and union donations) while running a deficit of over $400,000. The initial disclosure form filed by Vision was likely incomplete, as the donations to pay down the debt had not been released.
The new, amended disclosure form does include some donations from 2015, at least donations until the point that the debt was paid down. (It appears that the new totals don’t account for further office or administration expenses.) Vision will likely not release any further donation information until the 2018 election, as their 2014 election debt, at least on paper, is retired. The “dark money” between elections will probably continue to go undocumented, as the current legislation does not require the ongoing disclosure of money given to civic politicians or elector organizations (i.e., civic parties, where they exist) between elections (in contrast, legislation requires provincial political parties to file reports of donations even between elections).
Vision also ran up election debts in 2005 and 2008. City Councillor Geoff Meggs was Vision’s financial agent in 2005. Who is lending Vision the money to cover the election overruns (a friendly bank or credit union)?
An interesting article on Mike Magee was posted in 2011 providing a backgrounder to the Mayor’s former Chief of Staff:
The Secret World of Mike Magee (City Caucus, Mike Klassen, Feb 23, 2011)
For additional details on Magee’s new job, please see the following article:
Lineup change in Vancouver mayor’s office (Vancouver Sun, Matt Robinson, April 14, 2016)
To contrast with his large donation in 2015, here is a list of Magee’s publicly-reported donations to Vision Vancouver in 2014: