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Sunshine list poor means of comparison

I’m emailing in response to the article wherein the Canadian Taxpayers Federation’s Ontario director, Candice Malcolm, grades the City of Guelph based on the growth in the number of employees on the annual sunshine list (Tribune, April 17).
I am disappointed that you would not have contacted the city for comment and to put the information in proper context.
The sunshine list is an exceedingly poor source for comparative data, and it cannot be relied on to reflect ‘growth’ of a public employer’s payroll or to reflect efforts any municipality may take to manage its compensation.
What is reported to the province annually is not employee salaries alone. What is required to be reported is any and all income received in a year, inclusive of items such as retroactive payments required under collective agreements, employment law, pay equity, etc. Therefore, by its very nature the list can fluctuate each year.
For each of the years 2010 to 2012, payments were made to specific groups of employees in Guelph related to collective agreements, etc. The following years those employees would not show again on the list.
Guelph city council has been financially responsible when it comes to staff compensation. For example, in our non-union group, the council-approved policy compensation is that Guelph non-union salaries are compared, based on sound criteria, with 18 other municipalities – single tier, upper tier (regional government) and lower tier cities.
Within this group, Guelph non-union salaries are set at the 55th percentile, meaning that 45% of the 18 cities pay more for non-union salaries than does Guelph – which is in the middle of the group.
Guelph is more than prepared to have comparative analysis between municipalities based on valid and reliable sources of data. The sunshine list is not one of those sources.
Interestingly in the taxpayers’ federation analysis, the City of Hamilton, for example, has received a B+. If you look at Hamilton’s data and search media coverage, the number of employees went down in the past couple of years – precisely because in one year there was a large increase in the number of employees on the list who received payments from collective agreement obligations; i.e., firefighters.
The next year, the list would have been reduced since those employees would not necessarily be on the list, unless some of them received enough payments other than base salary (e.g., overtime pay, recognition pay) to put them on the list.
The City of Hamilton cannot be recognized as having ‘reduced’ the list in any deliberate way. This further demonstrates that the sunshine list cannot be used for informative purposes.
Mark Amorosi, Executive Director
Corporate and Human Resources
City of Guelph

One Response to “Sunshine list poor means of comparison”

  1. bmcmulle says:

    The city could save easily 4 or 5 million a year if we get rid of all the grossly overpaid employee’s,like Mr. Amorosi,and post those jobs for 70k or so a year,there would be no shortage of capable and willing people to do these jobs.The CAO is a big concern for me at 214k per year.Her staff does the actual work,brings her the recommendations which she takes to council and then she advises council and oversee’s the projects.If we retain the staff who do the work and create 2 positions at 60 or 70k per year for an advisor to council and someone to oversee the projects.Even at 70k for each of these 2 positions we would save 74k per year.The CAO is not an elected official and should not have so much power or be the highest paid employee.We could also cancel all paid lunches for all public sector employees the next time contracts roll around and maybe start paying a little more to all the part time employee’s who right now get laid off frequently as cost saving measures while people like Amorosi and Pappert make 50 or 60 dollars a day for eating lunch.It is disgraceful the entitlement these people feel they have.

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