How the public trough is drained by retiring senior staff

Posted March 31, 2015

The 2015 Sunshine List contains some revealing figures. For example, four senior staff members left city employment in 2014. Of that number, three were resignations while the remaining senior staffer’s departure is unknown and believed to be a case for termination.

Keep in mind that the figures are split in two, Salary and taxable benefits. In this case only the slary figures are used.

Let’s start with the resignation of former Police Chief, Bryan Larkin. whose last day spent as head of Guelph police services was August 31, 2014. He had accepted the job of chief of the Waterloo Regional Police Department. Presumably he went on the payroll in his new job, September 1.

The Sunshine list shows that Larkin was paid $181,930 by Guelph for his eight months working for the city in 2014.

By dividing $181,930 by 12, the former chief’s monthly rate was $15,160.

But he only worked for eight months and should have received $121,280 for his service. That indicates Mr. Larkin was overpaid by $60,650. At the same time, he was drawing his Waterloo chief’s salary for the remaining four months of 2014.

How did this happen? Even if it was a contractual issue, it should not have happened. The man gave notice two months notice ahead of leaving and there was no doubt he resigned. Larkin was chief for about three years. Was handing him a bonus of $60,650 represent some sort of pay back for promises made and pledges of support?

What kind of message does this send to the police rank and file and other city employees? What’s good for the goose isn’t good for the gander?

In addition, the former chief breached the Ontario Police Act by publicly supporting former Mayor Farbridge before he left his job. Draw your own conclusions.

But wait, there’s more.

Executive Director Janet Laird, longtime friend of the former mayor, resigned right after the election and left. She received $189,865 plus a taxable benefit of $6,271. She worked 10 months in 2014. That indicates her monthly salary was $15,822. That’s a total final pay of $158,220, a difference of $31,648.

Executive Director Derek McCaughan, also left, following the election, for reasons that are unclear. The List showed he received $180,824 plus $8,030 in taxable benefits. At that rate, his monthly salary was $15,068 so his final pay should have been $150,686 for the months served. That’s a difference of $30,138.

Those senior staff peers, who worked the 12 months, were reported as earning similar annual salaries as Ms. Laird and Mr. McCaughan. Deputy CAO Mark Amorosi earned $182,761; Deputy CAO Al Horsman, 182,761; Deputy CAO Derrick Thomson $173,720.

The fourth senior staffer who resigned, Chief Librarian, Kathleen Pope, received $141,271 plus taxable benefits of $577. Unfortunately, her departure date is unknown. She resigned to take on the Windsor public library system.

There may have been some minor statutory adjustments made by the financial department at city hall and police headquarters, prior to the four leaving. One may have been payment for unused sick leave or vacation. Why are employees paid twice just to show up when they retire or resign? That’s a question citizens should be asking,

If an employee does not use his or her sick leave allowance in a given year, then it should not be rolled over and accumulated. Former Guelph police Chief Rob Davis did just that when he retired receiving $42,000 because during his tour of duty he was rarely sick,

Regardless, how can the citizens understand that when you resign, you get paid for service after you leave? That’s what happened in the three cases above, they were paid for work they didn’t perform.

The Larkin case is the most serious. Theoretically, he made more money in 2014, for eight months work, than Chief Administrative Officer, Ann Pappert who worked the full 12 months.

Here is the comparison of the two key employees for the first eight months of the year.

Larkin received $181,930. Ms. Pappert received the equivalent of $146,438 in the eight months of 2014. That’s a difference of $35,492.

Is it any wonder why the people defeated the former mayor and some of her supporters with this kind of treatment of retiring senior officials? Is it part of the sense of entitlement that some senior staff appears to possess?

It is also about the growing concern of citizens that its civic staff costs are out of control particularly when compared to peer group municipalities. More on this later.

Mr. Larkin should return the four months pay he received after leaving the city’s employment August 31, 2014.

Citizens deserve to be told all of the details of these senior staff resignations.

 

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7 Comments

Filed under Between the Lines

7 responses to “How the public trough is drained by retiring senior staff

  1. Glen N. Tolhurst

    The practice of getting paid for unused sick days seems to be akin to having the insurance company give you back your household insurance premiums when you move because you did not burn down your house. Duh!!! Only in the civil service, Eh!

  2. geo

    Gerry if I’m beating a dead horse let me know but does the above situation make a Provincial audit of Guelph’s finances any more likely?

  3. Essie

    Math was never my best subject, but shouldn’t you divide the amount for Chief Larkin’s salary by 8 instead of 12? Isn’t the $181,930 what he actually received from the city for his 8 months of employment, not his total yearly salary? Therefore, no overpayment. Same for the other examples you mention?

    Quoting relevant paragraphs below:
    Let’s start with the resignation of former Police Chief, Bryan Larkin. whose last day spent as head of Guelph police services was August 31, 2014. He had accepted the job of chief of the Waterloo Regional Police Department. Presumably he went on the payroll in his new job, September 1.

    The Sunshine list shows that Larkin was paid $181,930 by Guelph for his eight months working for the city in 2014.

    By dividing $181,930 by 12, the former chief’s monthly rate was $15,160.

    But he only worked for eight months and should have received $121,280 for his service. That indicates Mr. Larkin was overpaid by $60,650.

    • Essie: Using your example that Larkin was paid $181,930 for eight months work, that amounts to $22,791 per month. To obtain his annual salary multiply $22,791 by 12 which equals $272,895. This would make Larkin the highest paid civic employee exceeding CAO Ann Pappert’s annual salary by $53,248. Based on Larkin’s previous years salary in which he worked the full 12 months, his 2014 salary exceeded those levels of annual pay for the eight months he was on the job. In my opinion the former chief was overpaid and the city financial officer should explain it to the citizens.
      But wait! There is no Chief Financial Officer currently on the payroll. The position was not filled when the senior staff was reorganized right after last October’s election and the former CFO is now in a new job with the title of Deputy Chief Administrative Officer. Now we have three deputy CAO’s who earned about the same as Larkin. Only they worked 12 months for it. Go Figure.

  4. Essie

    According to the 2013 Sunshine List, Larkin’s full year salary that year was $206,745. A long way from $272, 895, but I imagine his salary was higher in 2014 than 2013, so it would have been more than $181,930. Also, a contractual pay period of one year may not neatly align with a calendar year, so that might account for discrepancies.

    • Essie: In 2013, Larkin worked for 12 months. In 2014 he worked for eight months. Assuming your figure for Larkin’s salary in 2013 is correct, that means his monthly salary was $17,228. His monthly rate for the eight months he worked in 2014 was $22,791. Thats a comparative difference of $4,562 or 26 per cent per month occurring in one year. The question remains: Who authorized this excessive monthly increase? As an interesting sidebar, former mayor Karen Farbridge is succeeding Bryan Larkin as head of the 2015 United Way campaign.

  5. Essie

    Not really my figures – got them from the provincially published data. I agree that the figures don’t really add up using your calculation method – just suggesting that there might be more of a back story than the public numbers reveal – not necessarily a sinister one.

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