Trash-talking councillor bags Downtown Development Board


Hot off the press Friday: public sector salary disclosures for 2014.

Now the city hall figures were released earlier this month and to recap, a total of 96 employees earned greater than $100,000, a more than 50% increase over the 2013 total of 62.

Breaking that number down, 33 members of the St. Thomas Police Service are now included, up from 16 in 2013.

Over at the fire department, 48 employees earned $100,000 or more in 2014 as compared to 32 the year previous.

And 15 city administrators exceed that figure, an increase of one over 2013.

Topping the earnings list at city hall was CAO Wendell Graves at $172,372 ($165,900 in 2013). John Dewancker, director of environmental services, earned $139,693 as compared to $132,309 the previous year and Graham Dart, director of human resources, had a salary of $127,839 in 2014 ($124,784).

At the county, a dozen employees are included with CAO Mark McDonald checking in at $185,446 ($181,981) and Director of Financial Services, Jim Bundschuh, earning $133,105 ($130,615).

Central Elgin counted four employees on the list. CAO Don Leitch earned $136,557 ($133,351) and Director of Physical Services Lloyd Perrin had a salary of $121,951 ($120,222).

In Malahide, CAO Michelle Casavecchia was paid $115,982 last year ($110,652) and three other employees topped the $100,000 mark.

A total of 19 individuals associated with St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital earned in excess of $100,000 last year although former CFO Malcolm Hopkins — $111,645 — was relieved of his duties.

As is normally the case, pathologist Fasahat Wasty led the way at $381,062 ($313,739). CEO Paul Collins remained steady at $205,569, and VP Nancy Whitmore earned $230,499, as was the case in 2013.

The health unit has three employees in the club with Executive Director Cynthia St. John earning $151,357 in 2014 as compared to $143,188 in 2013.

Sunshine Club membership at Family and Children’s Services of St. Thomas and Elgin is in to double digits with 11 employees listed. Executive Director Rod Potgieter came in at $165,243 ($150,551) and Director of Services Derrick Drouillard earned $133,078 ($123,047).

Five employees at the Central Community Health Centre earned more than $100,000, led by physician Mumtaz Alam at $253,047 ($189,816), physician Frank Warsh at $176,918 ($163,464) and Executive Director Judith Wiley, $112,672 ($111,504).

Executive Director Tom McCallum was the lone individual at Community Living Elgin to earn more than $100,000 at $103,610, the same as in the year previous.

downtown garbagejpgLast week we outlined the city study undertaken this past winter to determine what happens when you remove the 40 garbage cans from along Talbot St.

You should have had no difficulty predicting the outcome of this undertaking.

But, it gets better.

Earl Taylor, Downtown Development Board chairman, is not impressed at times with the job Green For Life — the city’s waste contractor — does with pickup of garbage bags from apartment residences along Talbot St.

“GFL has done a pretty poor job of, at times, picking up the garbage bags. I sent an email over to city hall about two weeks ago saying GFL had missed a bunch of bags down at the west end and would they (city staff) go and pick it up.

“I copied Joan Rymal and Mark Tinlin, who are council designates on our DDB committee,” Taylor continues. “And I got back a fairly nasty email from Joan saying why is the DDB even involved in this. It’s not your job to request the city go out and pick up garbage and we should stop doing that because it’s costing the city money.

“But our mandate at the DDB is to beautify and promote downtown. But if I see garbage bags around, that falls into our beautification program, so of course I’m going to email. It’s got to the point now where now our council rep on our committee is giving me shit for doing this work as well . . . we’re up against a wall.”

Uh, isn’t the city on the verge of rolling out its #stthomasproud campaign? And a member of council is directing the DDB to leave the garbage where it is because it’s costing money for city staff to pick it up.

Well then, suggest the city’s waste contractor to do its job.

Are we all working off the same page here?


At Monday’s special meeting of council, it’s push comes to shove with Part 2 of the capital budget and the 2015 city operating budget. As it stands, expect a 3.48% hike in the property tax levy.

Keep in mind, what hasn’t been factored in yet is the $500,000 dividend from Ascent — formerly St. Thomas Energy. That should knock down the levy a tad.

Of course, for a couple of years the utility was unable to pay that annual dividend. Surely that’s not the case this year?


St. Thomas Fire Chief Rob Broadbent

St. Thomas Fire Chief Rob Broadbent

Parity is a word often trotted out when comparing police and fire salaries.

So, you have to wonder why in 2014 the fire department racked up $410,024 in overtime ($257,671 was in the budget) and $274,818 is the line item for 2015.

On the police side of the ledger, $163,933 was accrued in overtime pay (down from the $174,000 in the budget). This year the department is budgeting $176,500.

Both are 24/7 operations yet there seems to be little in the way of overtime parity.


Aldermanic candidate Joan Rymal.

Aldermanic candidate Joan Rymal.

“How can we manage a 24/7 operation with no part-time help.”

Coun. Joan Rymal questioned St. Thomas Fire Chief Rob Broadbent on the $410,000 his department shelled out in overtime in 2014. Rymal noted every time a firefighter books off sick, his replacement books on at overtime rates.

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

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