Always a controversial topic, the city and Elgin county this week released the salaries of employees earning in excess of $100,000 in 2015, as required by the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act of 1996.
For the city, 95 employees eared greater than $100,000, that’s one less than 2014. It’s the first decrease in many years.
Breaking down by sector, 31 members of the St. Thomas Police Service are included, down from 33 in 2014.
A total of 48 members of the St. Thomas Fire Department are on the list, the same number as 2014.
And in city administration, 16 staffers are listed, up one from 2014.
The top earner at city hall is Wendell Graves at $175,099 as compared to $172,372.48 the previous year.
Other notable salaries at city hall with 2014 figure in brackets:
Elizabeth Sebestyen, director of Ontario Works, $139,558 ($133,267)
Patrick Keenan, director of planning $129,911 ($127,839)
Graham Dart, director of human resources, 129,906 ($127,839)
David Aristone, city treasurer, $128,030 (new)
Ross Tucker, director of Parks & Recreation, $122,223 ($120,305)
Michael Carroll, Valleyview administrator, $120,256 ($118,332)
St. Thomas Police Chief Darryl Pinnell saw a small decrease in pay at $161,761 ($162,833), while Deputy Chief Jeff Driedger also dropped to $150,978 ($151,982).
Over at the firehall, Chief Rob Broadbent earned $138,792 down a tad ($139,777) and Deputy Fire Chief Ray Ormerod earned $127,886 down from ($126,069).
At the County of Elgin, CAO Mark McDonald received $198,250 ($185,446).
Jim Bundschuh, director of financial services earned ($133,105).
Rhonda Duffy, director of homes and senior services $134,383 ($126,998).
Michelle Harris, administrator at Elgin Manor and Bobier Villa, $129,229 ($126,998).
Brian Masschaele, director of community and cultural services, $129,229 ($122,110).
Clayton Watters, director of engineering services, $127,791 ($122,110).
As a footnote, McDonald advises County of Elgin employees received one extra pay period in 2015 as compared to 2014.
We’ll continue next week with salaries from the healthcare sector.
And for those who question inclusion of these salaries, it’s open and transparent democracy at work.
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GLIMMER OF HOPE
One week ago today, nearly 400 people lined up along Talbot St., and snaked around the corner down Hincks St. in the hopes of landing full-time employment at Presstran.
The faces of those in queue — some individuals arriving prior to 7 a.m., which meant at least a three-hour wait — harboured a blend of desperation, frustration and hope. Surely indicating they had been without gainful employment for many months, if not years.
Gord Hall of Employment Services Elgin, host of the Presstran job fair, indicated as many as 150 people could be hired over the next few months.
A fact confirmed by Michelle Sampson, HR department leader at Presstran. In fact the firm is looking to return its workforce to 2008 levels, somewhere around the 800 mark. Sampson said Formet will begin hiring in the next few weeks and the company will continue right through this year.
The encouraging news, according to Hall, is this job fair is but the first step.
“We’ll have another large employer hiring in the next few months as well,” noted Hall. “We don’t have numbers but we know they (Formet) are seeking a number of full-time permanent positions.”
And on March 19, Employment Services of Elgin will host job fair geared to smaller employers in the area.
“This is one we run every year that’s for a multitude of employers. We’ve got 14 smaller employers participating right now. We run that at the Seniors Centre from 9 a.m. to noon. We’re hoping to get at least 20 employers in.”
While the days of $35/hr jobs are surely a thing of the past, the prospect of well-paying, permanent jobs on the horizon is good news for a beleaguered St. Thomas workforce.
WAVING OFF THE PROFESSOR
Williams Funeral Home was packed to the gunnels last Sunday for an emotional sendoff to Ed McLachlan. Sure there were plenty of red, tear-laden eyes, but the sombre tone was lifted on numerous occasions through hearty laughter as Ed’s family, friends, martial arts students and a handful of politicos celebrated the accomplishments of this well-loved Sensei and accessibility advocate.
And a tip of the City Scope fedora to Al Hughson for conducting a service of remembrance befitting the Dundonian Professor.
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Although no one owns the view, is it up for sale to the highest bidder?”
A summer-only resident in Port Stanley, Candy Hayward was passionate in her message to representatives from Prespa and the Municipality of Central Elgin during an open house this past Tuesday to deal with a proposed nine-storey condominium project on William St. in the village.
City Scope appears Saturday in the Times-Journal. Questions and comments may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.Follow @ianscityscope