Posted August 8, 2012
Is Guelph’s unelected Chief Administration Officer’ salary out of proportion with other senior unelected officials in other municipalities?
Ann Pappert, hired last fall to be the city’s CAO, brought her old $160,000 salary into the job. Within a few months it was increased to more than $190,000. The former CAO, Hans Loewig, was paid $202,000.
Now lets examine what the Region of York pays its unelected Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, Bill Fisch. He presides over a region composed of nine municipalities with nine councils.
In 2011, Bill Fisch was paid $207,654.
Does it make sense that the chief executive in charge of the region with a population of 1.1 million should be making only $17,000 more than the CAO of Guelph, population 122,000?
Guelph council approves all these executive salaries, usually on the advice of staff. Chief in charge of this process is the Executive Director of Human Resources, Mark Amorosi. He is the key senior staffer who handles all employment issues.
So why is Guelph paying senior management salaries that are in the same league with those of regional governments?
The Mayor Farbridge-dominated Guelph council has allowed five years of unwarranted salary creep by its senior managers and other staffers.
For example, would the individual running Cott Beverages expect be making close to the same salary as the person running Coca Cola?
The problem with awarding remuneration to city staff is that the arbitrators themselves are members of the city staff. Further, city council has rolled over at salary review time every year accepting the parity line from Mr. Amorosi and his staff supporters.
One can understand that parity is logical when comparing apples to apples, not apples to pumpkins.
It won’t change until the 2014 election. And if Mayor Farbridge and her supporters lose their grip on council, you can bet the farm that staff salaries will be throttled back even if it means reducing staff.
Of course this goes back to that perverted system of establishing next year’s tax increase. The staff requests an 8.5 per cent increase while council stickhandles around the issue, mumbling about a 3 per cent increase in taxes.
And with that, they defeated a motion by Coun. Cam Guthrie to keep working in August to do the city’s business, including discussing the 2013 budget.
The council mumbling was accompanied by the mournful wail of: “We’ve never done that before.”
Four councillors were ready to work. The other six attending, including the Mayor said no. Something to remember in 2014.
Creating a budget is a serious and frequently tough job. First, council should inform the staff that the budget figure available in 2012 is the maximum available for 2013.
Instead of accommodating the staff wish list, instruct them to look at ways to cut costs if they want to expense and justify new items.
The staff proposed a $15.5 million increase for 2013. Of that, $5.5 million was composed of staff increases in salaries, wages and benefits.
Now do you see the problem?
Harrumph! Apples and pumpkins, indeed.