Taxpayers Fund Excessive Salaries

Header-image-Shalapata-2By Ian Shalapata

With the release of the current Ontario Sunshine List, a number of issues have been raised in the community with regard to excessive salaries. Beyond the pay levels themselves, the biggest question is value for money; are tax payers getting value for what they’re paying?

Do you ever wonder why your electricity bills seem higher than other jurisdictions? Taking in $1.5 million per annum is Thomas Mitchell, the Designated Chief Executive Officer for Ontario Power Generation. Is he worth it? That’s a question that needs more insight to be answered succinctly.

But, it is more of a concern that there are 7,633 employees at OPG who are earning over $100,000. Some of that, no doubt can be attributed to special projects and overtime, but there are still some questionable payments.

Does a painter need to be paid over the $100,000 list threshold? How about someone in the purchasing department? Or, does a training supervisor need to be paid almost $250,000?

The vast majority of the OPG listers are below $200K. There are 7,205 at OPG who make less than $200,000, 380 between $200K and $300K, and 48 in the upper stratosphere.

Even though four of the organizers of the PanAm Games made on average over $407,000, and is a huge argument against sporting event hosting, the upper echelons of the list are occupied by those in the health care sector. Not doctors or nurses, though there are one or two sprinkled close to the top, but most are administrators.

Here in Windsor, David Musyj is the president and chief executive officer of Windsor Regional Hospital. He’s currently advocating for a new, so-called mega-hospital to be built and the destruction of the two current hospitals and the regional cancer centre. WRH recently provided lay-off notices to 164 registered nurses in order to replace them with lower paid registered practical nurses.

At the City of Windsor, the highest paid civil servant is police chief Al Frederick. The top cop pulls in over $271,000 while both of his deputies take home slightly over $214K.

It is not so lucrative at Windsor Fire and Rescue. There, Chief Bruce Montone receives $151,000 while four of his underlings all make more than he does, including Assistant Chief David Hart at $190,000.

There is no surprise that Windsor CAO Helga Reidel tops the list of unelected officials at the city. She has been sitting at the pinnacle of pay in Windsor for a number of years now. The latest amount residents are paying her is almost $268,000, but I am sure quite a number would question whether she earned her stipend or not.

Reidel will be back on the list next year, but she has been shuffled to EnWin where her salary will not be reported, despite the fact it is funded by taxpayers.

Replacing Reidel as CAO will be Onorio Colucci, currently the Chief Financial Officer. Colucci made $196,056.44 according to the Sunshine List, plus an additional $7,561.20 in taxable benefits. A replacement for Colucci is now being sought and the pay range being offered begins at $160,739.19 and tops out at $195,379.98.

The mayor, Drew Dikens, pulled in over $113,000 and we know there hasn’t been any value for money in that expenditure.

Part of the duties for the new CFO will be to, “… ensur[e] the highest quality of service possible to the residents of the City of Windsor.” A review of the salary structure at the City should be a priority for the new hire.

Ian Shalapata can be heard at noon every Thursday co-hosting Talkin’ ‘Bout Windsor on CJAM 99.1 FM. Listen on demand to previous episodes or catch the discussion live and join in. It is also streamed online at CJAM.

About the Author

Ian Shalapata
Ian writes for and provides imagery to Square Media Group as well as accepting freelance photographic assignments. In addition, he has contributed to media organizations, sporting groups, and individuals across North America including the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, Chatham-Kent Sports Network, the Golf Association of Michigan, League 1 Ontario, as well as numerous colleges and universities in Canada and the United States. Email Ian Shalapata

3 Comments on "Taxpayers Fund Excessive Salaries"

  1. Doug Charles | 1 April 2016 at 06:15 |

    I question whether some of these over paid positions are even necessary. The recent addition of a sports tourism officer and economic development officer make it clear that some positions don’t have to have a useful function.

    I wonder how much the Communications Officer actually does considering they are now hiring a communications liason. We know their high salaries but we don’t actually know if they do much throughout the day.

  2. The fat cats always make the most money, its taxpayers money so they do not care, they just raise taxes or amenities to cover their salaries. There are no persons on that sunshine list that should be making the salaries that they are, value for dollar none. The new person taking over Colucci’s job will suggest to lower salaries, but they will give him a raise to keep quiet, and that will be the end of it.

  3. Marny beale | 28 March 2016 at 13:08 |

    And they still cannot find 2000.00 for the downtown market?

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