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Letting the sunshine in on public sector wages

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Woolwich and Wellesley townships contributed 14 members to a list of people on the public dime who earned more than $100,000 in 2019. Neighbouring townships such as Wilmot (six), Centre Wellington (13), Mapleton (four) and Perth East (four) were also represented in the report.

Across Ontario, the list – which includes doctors, nurses, teachers, police and firefighters in addition to civil servants – includes 166,997, up 10.4 per cent from 151,197 in 2018.

The provincially mandated salary information, known as the sunshine list, was released last week.

Topping the list for the fourth year in a row was the CEO of Ontario Power Generation (OPG), Jeffrey Lyash, who was paid $938,845 before leaving for a new position in the U.S. (He was paid $1,746,824.96 in 2018.) His successor, Kenneth Hartwick, pocketed $929,763.

Third on the list was Kevin Smith, the president and CEO of the University Health Network, who was paid $844,992. OPG vice-president of nuclear projects, Dietmar Reiner got $837,074. Rounding out the top five was the University of Toronto’s asset management corporation president, Daren Smith, who made $800,074.

In Woolwich, chief administrative officer David Brenneman was the highest paid of township employees, taking in $153,665.66. Director of finance/treasurer Richard Petherick received $118,738.80, as did director of recreation and facilities Ann McArthur and clerk Val Hummel. Director of infrastructure Jared Puppe received $111,150.16. Fire chief Dale Martin got $ $110,682.31, while chief building office David Heuchert received $102,676.23.

Woolwich’s list had three fewer names than the previous year due to the retirements of director of engineering and planning services Dan Kennaley, manager of planning John Scarfone and manager of engineering operations Barry Baldasaro. The salaries of the new hires won’t appear on the list until next year.

In Wellesley, chief administrative officer Rik Louwagie was paid $142,973.27. Director of public works Kevin Beggs received $105,326.74, as did chief building official Darryl Denny and director of planning Geoff Vanderbaaren. Clerk Grace Kosch made $105,376.13, the same amount paid to treasurer Theresa Bisch. New to the list, fire chief Paul Redman was paid $106,574.77.

The Region of Waterloo has 364 employees on the list, up from 357 the year before,  while the police contributed 689 names, up from 673 in 2018.

When first introduced in 1996, the list contained 4,319 names. Inflation is responsible for much of the increase: adjusted for inflation, $100,000 then is now the equivalent of about $153,000 today.

The average weekly wage for workers in Ontario was $1,045 at the end of 2018, which amounts to $54,340 per year.  That includes overtime pay, and assumes no weeks off, amounting to almost half of the sunshine list threshold.

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