Farbridge gang of eight blocks a motion revealing the number of city employees

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.

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11 Comments

Filed under Between the Lines

11 responses to “Farbridge gang of eight blocks a motion revealing the number of city employees

  1. Jeff

    There are so many mistakes in this post, you need do some fact checking. I’d start by actually reading the report you claim doesn’t have these staff numbers in it (because it does), and then you might want to look at the difference in title for Mr. Amorosi between 2008 and 2012 (it’s not the same nor should his salary be). He also isn’t the person in charge of personnel, compensation, contracts and numbers (he’s that person’s boss now). Also are you suggesting that the city hire people based on where they live? (because that is illegal)

  2. Paul:

    Jeff:
    I admire your loyalty to your bosses or is it stupidity? but lets look at the request made of Mr. Amorosi
    Very simply the question is How Many FTE positions are in the approved Budget for budget year – yyyy?
    The second question – given an answer to the above question is:-
    How many people do we have on the payroll – Full time, part-time. casual and contract? Next question is how does the salary expense compare to the budget, and if the answer is that it will take months of staff time to get the answer, then the answer is simple – FIRE THE IDIOT.
    The question is simply WHAT ARE THEY COVERING UP.
    I suggest that the GrassRootsGueph request of Municipal Affairs for an Audit is definitely in order. This City is badly served by the roll-in-the-trough
    bunch of free spenders!!

    Paul

  3. Jeff

    Paul: the information is already publicly available on their website. I’d suggest you do some research before believing anything you read on this blog. I’d also suggest if GRG is going through with forcing this unnecessary audit they let the tax payers know how much it cost them or pay it themselves.

    • Jeff: Your stout defense of the city’s handling of staff in its measurable convoluted way, echoes how our city management mangles and confuses basic information to blind the average taxpayer. That’s the basic argument. I just spent two hours going over the Human Resources 2012 report and it’s chockfull of interesting stats and data. It did identify the total number of employees (2,065) but failed to break out the 847 listed as “others”. That’s what Councillor Gloria Kovach was trying to get. This longtime councillor is no pushover when it comes to interpreting data and obviously smelled a rat when the overtime and absentee report was being examined by the audit committee.There will be more questions asked as this report is dissected, fasten your seat belt. In answer to your comment that it is illegal to tell employees where they must live, ask Ms. Pappert why she was paid $20,000 to move from Waterloo to Guelph. So many questions begging for straight answers. FYI The audit issue is just beginning and no one, including GRG, knows where it will end up or how much it will cost. Regardless this initiative by citizens will serve to inform taxpayers how their money has been and is spent.

      By the way, why did eight councillors vote to block this staff numbers information when it was available on the city website?

  4. geo

    When casting your vote for Mayor and Councillors in 2014 please keep in mind that this is what Her Royal Highness and Court want you to think transparency looks like..

    • Paul:

      Jeff:
      -kissing for the Mayor I hate to say it but you are an ass-kissing toadie of the Mayor! Which political plumb did she buy you off with?
      Lets talk facts:
      1. What was the staff Budget for 2012? Answer FTE’s – 1444.6
      2. How many on the payroll? 2065 including 847 People not on ege . This was the information that Coun Kovach asked for only to be shut down by the Mayor and her 7 cohorts! DISGUSTING? You bet. But unless people like you, assuming you are not on the Gravy Train are prepared to hear those concerns. Simple Question – Are you on the Mayor’s Gravy Train? A non reply will mean YES!.
      Jeff:
      You are in my opinion full; of shit.. I spent the afternoon looking for answers to simple questions – like:
      What is the approved FTE? (1444.6)
      How many hires on the payroll? – 2065!
      What is the breakout of the others? 847 Not explained and this was what Coun Kovack was asking before she got shutdown by the Mayor and her cabal of seven.
      Stay tuned and one of my financial friends will show how an Increase of over 8% is made to look like 2.37%. Unfortunately not even the 5 Councillors who do not agree with the Farbridge agenda understand how she does it. Time to leave this poorly run City.
      So Jeff, unless you can point me to where I can find the real information I will have to conclude the challenge is in your court”
      Jeff – Very Simply – PUT UP OR SHUTUP

  5. DAVID BIRTWISTLE

    On CTV KITCHENER 6:00 PM news today(06DEC13) the Mayor indicated that one of the reasons for the excessive tax increase was due to the EAB(Emerald Ash Borer) and termites.Now I’d like to know if these insects are the 11.5 additional staff positions approved in the 2014 budget?Really sad when the Mayor blames insects. david.birtwistle@sympatico.ca

  6. turningthecurve

    A request for the numbers went sideways in council when it was argued it should include “context”, which from the sound of it isn’t included in the usual reporting of this info anyways. It sure felt as though they were running away from providing the info. Not the right direction if council wanted to project transparency.

  7. DAVID BIRTWISTLE

    turningthecurve: “…council wanted to project transparency..” unfortunately it’s an opaque verbal transparency that never sees the written facts.Nice,transparent photo which I presume’s you? 🙂
    david.birtwistle@sympatico.ca

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