Posted November 26, 2013
It started about a week ago when, during a meeting of the audit committee, Coun. Gloria Kovach asked Mark Amorosi, Executive Director of Corporate and Human Resources, the total number of city employees.
Attending the meeting was Mayor Karen Farbridge who immediately said the number was available in the Human Resources department’s annual report for 2012. The Mayor added that this was not a consideration for the audit committee. Translation: It’s none of your business.
Then Monday night during a council meeting, November 25, the Mayor gathered her seven cohorts and defeated a motion by Ms. Kovach to reveal the total employee numbers by an 8 to 5 vote.
Apparently the total number of employees is not broken down in the 2012 Human Resources annual report, as the mayor alleges. Adding to the effort to prevent Coun. Kovach’s motion from passing, was a comment by Human Resources chief, Mark Amorosi, that it would take staff months to pull all the figures together for the past four years.
But isn’t that his job to track all employees?
Why the sudden secrecy? The city traditionally reports the number of employees as Full Time Equivalent (FTE) in all its official financial reports. It does not breakout the various categories and status of employees.
Coun. Kovach wants to know the exact number of full-time employees, full-time part-time employees, part-time employees, contract workers, casual employees. In short, the total number of every employee and contract worker drawing a pay cheque from the city.
A breakdown of compensation, including salary and benefits is public information. For the council to deny this only makes the stakeholders wonder why this information is not available. What we do know is the total cost of employees to operate the city in 2012 is the biggest line item expense in the budget.
For example, let’s look at the employment record of Mark Amorosi, the man in charge of all city personnel
Mr. Amorosi joined the city staff in 2008 as Director of Human Resources. His salary that year was $147,801 and benefits were $858 for a total of $148,659.
Previous to that in 2006, Mr. Amorosi was employed by the City of Hamilton as Director of Employment/Client Services. His salary was $119,675 with benefits of $715 for a total of $120,390.
There is no record of his employment in 2007.
So joining the City of Guelph in 2008 Mr. Amorosi gained $28,269 or a 23.4 per cent increase.
In 2012, Mr. Amorosi earned $175,464 plus benefits of $6,396 for a total of $181,861
Since leaving employment in Hamilton, where he still keeps a home, Mr. Amorosi has experienced increases in salary of $55,889 or 46.7 per cent in five years.
Recapping, Mr. Amorosi’s salary has risen by 9.34 per cent per year since he arrived here five years ago. His benefits have climbed by $5,680 or 1,258.8 per cent.
It seems extraordinary that the person in charge of personnel, compensation, contracts and numbers, would achieve such compensation increases when the city population only grew by 5.8 per cent in the same period.
Of course the argument may be made that Mr. Amorosi’s added responsibilities would justify his increases. But those increases don’t come close to those given to city employees, covered by collective agreements and associations in the same period.
Is he a resident of Guelph and paying taxes here? Is the city paying his commuting costs from his home in Hamilton?
Why does this administration continue not to reveal the total numbers of city employees when it is common practice in other municipalities?
The man in charge of those numbers apparently is reluctant to tell elected city councillors the total number of city employees. And those councillors, who represent the people, have the right to know, as do the taxpayers.
And so does the audit committee.