Tag Archives: salaries

Mark Amorosi’s flimsy explanation why senior managers were awarded those huge increases

By Gerry Barker

Posted March 31, 2016

Well, if anyone should know the answer to the burning question of why and how the top three senior managers received huge salary increases in 2015, it would be one of the beneficiaries, Mark Amorosi.

Mr. Amorosi sent his explanation to Coun. Mike Salisbury two hours after guelphspeaks broke the story of the excessive increases that CAO Ann Pappert, and DCAO Derrick Thomson also received.

Amorosi, in his multi-responsibility Corporate Services job, is gatekeeper in charge of how much and who receives pay and benefit increases, including his own. He has that job following the so-called reorganization of senior management in November 2014. Then Chief Financial Officer, Al Horsman, was shifted to environmental services, planning and engineering to fill in the vacancy left by Janet Laird’s retirement.

Up steps Mark Amorosi to take over finance among his corporate services responsibilities including human Resources, legal department and clerk’s operations.

It was Amorosi who hired a general manager of finance, Katrina Power, to replace Horsman. That lasted unto March last year when Janice Sheehy was hired to be General Manager of Finance and Treasurer. Ms. Sheehy resigned this month to move on to the Region of Peel.

Today, there is no senior manager of finance, except Mark Amorosi. His track record as financial overseer has been fraught with missteps and confusion. But he found the time to help himself with a base salary increase of $33,279 from December 2013 to March 25, 2015.

In November 2014, Amorosi along with Horsman, and Thomson, were named Deputy Chief Administrative Officers (DCAO). They each received identical increases of $6,361. Then four months later they received the monster increases. It was never revealed to the public because it was discussed in closed sessions of council.

The underlying reason is the rule that no councillor can reveal any discussion held in closed session or be faced with answering to the integrity commissioner who has now departed. This means that a subject of interest raised in closed session cannot be discussed with the councillor’s constituency.

These closed sessions raise a bar for public disclosure that, in effect, the public’s business becomes secret, self-serving and dictatorial.

This is management by denial. It is a throwback to the way Karen Farbridge ran her city and controlled the supportive caucus. The trouble began following the 2010 civic election when people starting asking questions about the Farbridge administration and its frequent use of secret meetings denying the pubic access to most of the city’s business.

Here is a copy of an email sent to Coun. Mike Salisbury Monday morning by Mark Amorosi after the news of the senior management salary increases was published by guelphspeaks.ca.

“1. The Sunshine List includes base pay and other payments made in a year eg retro payments, pay adjustments, overtime (if eligible).”

Question: He fails to mention the top-up taxable benefits received by all three recipients of the excessive increases. What are pay adjustments and what is the basis for awarding it? Why did we have to wait a year to discover the truth about senior management compensation?

“2. Ann’s (Pappert) number is base pay plus council approved increase for performance. There was a significant retro payment because in the past year of the last term there was no notification to human resources to process any increase.”

Question: Who judged her performance in the run up of the 2015 budget to justify an increase of $37,591? Was this discussion also held behind closed doors and on what justification? Ms. Pappert is a public employee and the public has the right to know how such an increase was approved. There is a strong feeling among the citizens that Ms. Pappert’s performance was affected by making such misleading statements regarding the Urbacon lawsuit and its affect on property taxes.

“3. For the dcao’s are numbers reflect base pay plus performance increase and a change in pay for two reasons. At the time of the reorg a market review was done for our level of job as it had been more than two years since a market review was done (council approved process). Second given the increase in our responsibilities a five percent increase was applied (council approved non-union compensation policy).”

Question: How do they compare a salary review over two years for a job that didn’t exist until created in November 2014? The first salary increase was 3.61 per cent for DCAO’s, not five per cent as you state, why would you quote the wrong percentage? Do you think it’s fair to conduct a market survey to justify your personal salary wish list? Every city is different and continually to base senior management pay structure on what the other DCAO’s are receiving, is misleading and self-serving.

Mr. Amorosi, you tell a councillor that guelphspeaks’ report on the senior management salary increases is contrary to your explanation above. Please, explain to the citizens what you mean when you say that guelphspeaks got it wrong.

It is now obvious that salary negotiations between senior staff and council should by determined by an independent official third party of citizens whose recommendations would go to council and be made public … before any increase is awarded.

The Amorosi explanation is bureaucratic bafflergab to defend the indefensible.

It’s time to loose the surly bonds of Guelph and take the magic elsewhere.

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Are Guelph’s civic workers paid too much?

It’s the dirty little secret that no one wants to talk about: Why are Guelph’s top 25 civic staff managers receiving the highest salaries among eight comparably-sized cities? These figures are not the latest but the trend is ever upward and onward.

City                   Average pay                   Average pay                      Average pay             Population

Top 5 managers            Top 10 managers             Top 25 managers

Guelph            $168,081.20                     $167,994.18                   $142,088.59               116,000

Belleville          $132,224.99                    $124,764.77                     $115,428.50                50,000

Sarnia               $122,461.48                    $127,897.70                    $117,048.56              100,000

Brantford          $219,777.38                   $146,830.29                     $129,967.36                 90,000

Kingston           $144,815.95                   $139,517.87                      $124,795.43               109,000

Thunder Bay    $123,580.15                    $138,576.26                     $121,083.77               122,000

Sudbury             $181,000.88                  $160,685.89                      $137,116.54                157,857

Barrie                 $166,240.02                   $154,992.39                      $133,693.17               177,000

Source: Province of Ontario

Brantford pays its top five managers an average of $219,777 to lead the group. Isn’t that where Guelph’s CAO, the retiring Hans Loewig, was previously employed?

When Human Resources Director, Mark Amorosi, recommended to council that the new Chief Administration Officer should be paid at the 60 percentile level, one should consider that his recommendation is self serving. Council rejected the proposal and settled for 55 percentile. The agreed level allows the headhunter to offer a salary and benefits package that would be higher than that paid by similar-sized cities.

An independent body appointed by council should oversee the hiring of senior managers. Otherwise the perpetual increases in pay and benefits for senior city staff will continue to escalate.

The fact that more than 289 fulltime equivalent employees were added to staff from 2006 to 2009, only reinforces the danger of uncontrolled staff growth. The staff count rose 8.1 per cent annually in the same period, far exceeding Guelph’s population growth.

Note: the official 2010 audited financial statements for the city have yet to be released.

Guelph’s civic staff salary and benefits totaled $139,400,000 of the 2009 budget of $157,300,000 or 88.6 per cent. Staff costs rose by 47.2 per cent in three-years.

One must be cautious about allowing the fox among the chickens.

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