Always room for one more in this club

The city’s most exclusive club saw its membership increase by four in 2013. We’re talking about the Sunshine Club at city hall — those employees who earned $100,000 or more under public sector salary disclosure.
Mind you, it was a modest increase from 58 select members in 2012 to 62 this past year.
A far cry from the door-crashing rush in 2012 when the rolls swelled to 58 from 39 in 2011.
Breaking the numbers down, in 2013 city administration counted 14 in the Sunshine Club, up from 13 the year previous.
The police department enrolment actually declined by one — from 17 to 16.
At the fire halls, the ranks increased to 32 in 2013 from 28 in 2012. That means the fire department membership is greater than the police and city administration combined.
Concentrating on administration salaries only, the top wage-earner last year was CAO Wendell Graves at $165,900, which is actually down from a year ago at $166,315.
John Dewancker, director of environmental services is next in line at $134,123 ($132,309 in 2012).
Soon-to-depart treasurer Bill Day earned $131,878 ($130,141) and director of human resources Graham Dart was paid $124,784 ($121,089).
Director of planning Pat Keenan checked in at $122,695 ($121,089) and director of parks and recreation Ross Tucker earned $115,509 ($105,030).
Next comes Michael Carroll, Valleyview administrator, $113,682 ($112,204) and chief librarian Rudi Denham, $113,575 ($113,276).
Director of nursing Joyce Gonyou salaried in at $112,984 ($109,648) while water/wastewater supervisor Cyril McCready earned $104,220 and Elizabeth Sebestyen, housing administrator, sits at $101,513 ($107,586).
Manager of engineering Brian Clement checked in at $101,168 ($103,215).
Two newcomers in 2013: Tim Bridge, lead hand building maintenance, $101,555 and Valleyview environmental supervisor Mark Minor at $101,390.
We’ll have a full breakdown of salaries in the coming weeks.

First day on the job Tuesday for the city’s new waste contractor, Green For Life, appeared to go without a hitch. Noticed a pickup monitoring activities in the city’s southeast sector as the fluorescent green trucks hit the streets for the first time.
That will allow Ald. Mark Cosens, chairman of the environmental services committee, and staff to concentrate their efforts on the city’s proposed transfer station to replace the now-closed Bush Line transfer facility.
But are we to believe Ald. Cosens when he says the city only found out about the closing 30 days ago?
Really? Did he and staff not anticipate last July such might be the case when they dumped BFI Canada.
In fact at the July 15, 2013 council meeting, the city’s waste management coordinator, Michelle Shannon, advised council the city was assuming the transfer station would close and staff were undertaking a feasibility study for a city-owned recycling station.
So why the last-minute scramble to unveil an alternative plan that involves a trip to London to dispose of bulky items not picked up at the curb?
And, does the city really want to be in the waste management business?
Something doesn’t smell right here.


Janice Kinnaird, the embattled executive director of The Caring Cupboard, did not pass muster in her probationary period and was released from her contract this past week.
Will that settle things down at the Talbot St. food bank or was Kinnaird in a no-win situation?
Her less-than-empathetic handling of many individuals reliant on the food bank certainly left a lot to be desired.
In a conversation last month with board chairman Ward Houghton, he stressed “She (Janice) could lose her job if she doesn’t comply with the board regulations (to gather the proper items of identification). She puts herself at risk for not complying with what we have mandated.”
So was the seemingly cold, uncaring front Janice’s coping mechanism that allowed her to abide by board policy?
Just a thought.
To avoid a repeat of this unfortunate turn of events at The Caring Cupboard, would it not be possible to have an individual who, in the past, has availed themselves of the services of the food bank sit on the board of directors?

Two months after the flag dropped and less than a half-dozen candidates have filed their nomination papers.
In the mayoral race, Heather Jackson was fast out of the gate but expect at least one other challenger to step forward once things settle down with the transfer station and the police headquarters.
On the aldermanic side, four hopefuls have announced their intention to run.
Linda Stevenson hopes third time is lucky for her. The former school trustee was first runner-up in 2010 with 3,294 votes, less than 400 behind Ald. Tom Johnston.
Joan Rymal is taking a second shot at success. The former Manager of Nursing Services in London was far back in the field last election with 1,945 votes.
Independent contractor Ron Fugard and Jacqueline De Leebeck are also in the running.
Of those on council, Ald. Gord Campbell is not expected to seek re-election and the hot rumor has Ald. Jeff Kohler seeking the Tory nomination when Elgin-Middlesex-London MP Joe Preston announces in June he will not participate in the 2015 federal vote.

“My students already career plan. When they grow up they want to be Cinderella, race car drivers or Batman.”
A wonderful observation via Twitter from teacher Stephanie Scott, responding to an online story announcing career planning will begin in kindergarten under a new policy that will be rolled out in Ontario schools this fall.

City Scope appears Saturday in the Times-Journal. Questions and comments may be emailed to

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