Slim pickin’s in 2011 for city’s Sunshine Club


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An initial scan of the public sector salary disclosure for city hall employees seems to indicate restraint was in order in 2011.

A total of 39 city employees are ensconced in the Sunshine Club — those earning in excess of $100,000 — unchanged from 2010.

Topping the list is police chief Bill Lynch at $150, 976, but that’s a decrease of almost $7,000 from his previous salary reporting.

A close second is the city’s new CAO/clerk, Wendell Graves, checking in at $146,217. As city clerk only in 2010, Graves earned $126,338.

Elsewhere at city hall, salaries are little changed from the previous reporting. Tim Bridge in building maintenance joins the club for the first time with a salary of $101,483. Valleyview administrator Michael Carroll earned $107,975 in 2011, up just over $100. Graham Dart, director of human resources, checked in at $116,552, again barely $100 more than in 2010.

Same story for treasurer Bill Day, who took home $125,270 and ditto for John Dewancker, director of environmental services, who earned $127,438.

The Sunshine Club includes 17 members of the city’s fire department, up from a total of 16 in 2010. Fire chief Rob Broadbent earned $127,496, a healthy increase from $120,384 in 2010. However many members of the department saw their salaries remain in the same bracket as last reporting or drop, no doubt the result of less overtime.

For example, platoon chief Warren Scott saw his salary inch down to $113,264 from $116,467 previously.

It was a similar circumstance for deputy police chief Darryl Pinnell who took home $134,217 in 2011 as opposed to $136,537 a year earlier.

Eleven members of the city’s police service earned more than $100,000 last year, down from 13 in 2010.

As is the case every time we print these figures, there are complaints that membership in the Sunshine Club is misleading because the $100,000 entry level has remained static for many years and should be upped. What’s $100,000 in this day and age, they argue.

Tell that to the dedicated workers in this city who put in a long day on the job for not much more than minimum wage. See if they scoff at the insignificance of a hundred grand each and every year.

THE PLOT THICKENS

A report to be presented to council Monday adds a new twist to the police headquarters saga.

Authored by consulting engineers Thomas P. Rylett Ltd., the report notes the existing facility on St. Catherine Street “is crowded but in excellent condition, excepting the non-load bearing walls over the existing unheated garage.”

In other words, renovating the Colin McGregor Justice Building might just prove a viable short-term solution while council wrestles with the $19 million price tag of a new purpose-built headquarters.

The Rylett report advises it is possible to renovate the second floor of the existing building while police operations are maintained on the main floor. Further study is needed on the possibility of constructing a three-storey command centre north of the existing building. This steel frame building would be fully wired as a communication centre and would house the “hard police services” of prisoner cells and interrogation rooms, emergency generator, crime labs, case rooms and other services.

So, what is the status of a new police headquarters? CAO Graves recommends sending the whole enchillada back to the police building committee “to determine the next steps in the planning of a police building.”

Best guess is a temporary fix to the existing home of city police and in the meantime, the price tag of a new facility will climb past the $19 million mark.

MORE ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT

Last week in this corner we spotlighted Tara Smedbol, who argued St. Thomas needs to focus on developing cycling infrastructure and increase public transit options to increase its livability for residents.

That prompted an email response from “St. Thomas resident” who stressed the city has to undertake many improvements to make this community more habitable for residents.

“I would like to be able to take the city bus, but it doesn’t run late enough,” this reader noted.

“I know someone who depends on it to get to work and they’ve had problems with it not running on time, including cases where it’s come about 20 minutes early. I have lived in other cities and feel St. Thomas has the worst bus service I’ve come across.

“It costs more than $30 to take a taxi from Talbot Street to Fanshawe College and that’s one way. I don’t feel safe cycling on streets with traffic. St. Thomas needs many improvements to make it more livable.”

Perhaps Tara can check in on a regular basis with her feedback, especially input from any of our elected representatives.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“I don’t think people get into policing for the recognition. They get into this job because they want to help people and they’ve got a desire to do whatever it takes to help people in need.”

Const. Frank Boyes of the St. Thomas Police Service after being recognized Wednesday with three chief’s commendation awards for his life-saving efforts over the past year.

City Scope appears every Saturday in the Times-Journal. Questions and comments may be e-mailed to: mccallum@stthomastimesjournal.com.

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One thought on “Slim pickin’s in 2011 for city’s Sunshine Club

  1. Wow. Nice salaries… I wonder how they compare with other city mayors, etc. (such as Toronto!) and the premier’s wages?
    Pretty generous for a city that’s slipping and losing industry and the tax-base is probably like a leaky ship…?

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