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Sunday, October 2, 2022
BABB: Falls council no ray of sunshine
LettertotheeditorFemale

How very interesting and informative the Sunshine List is — it’s not what one would immediately think of for light reading but it’s definitely something to satisfy curiosity.  

Imagine records in such depth — 22 years of data on 295,764 individuals with 1,149,164 records revealing $146.7 billion in salaries paid to workers in Ontario’s public sector who earn more than $100,000 annually.

It’s all available at, ontariosunshinelist.com — remarkable data.  

In 2017, Hydro One’s chief executive officer Mayo Schmidt reportedly received a $1.7 million raise, lifting his total compensation to $6.2 million at the former Crown corporation. It is mind boggling to me that he earns $20,808 a week in base salary.

This made me wonder how the provincial minimum wage increase for ordinary mortals could cause such a stir, when no one seems to think Schmidt’s compensation is beyond significant comment. 

When further curiosities aroused, I decided to check the salaries of my own city staff here in Niagara Falls.

One interesting revelation is the increase in salary of Niagara Falls Chief Administrative Officer Ken Todd.

From being director of corporate support services for the city of St. Catharines in 2008, with a salary of $126,614, to the present day acting as Niagara Falls CAO and receiving a salary of $209,798, Todd has done very well for himself, especially considering St. Catharines has a population of 133,113 — almost a third of Niagara's inhabitants — while Niagara Falls only has a population of 88,071.

That seems to be hefty compensation for a city the size of Niagara Falls, considering the CAO for St. Catharines receives a salary of $215, 321.

Since 2010, Todd has seen a salary increase of $52,355. None of the city’s other senior staff or directors come even close, with the next highest salary being $158,640. Todd must be doing an amazing job.

With my curiosity piqued, I did some math.

In 2017, the combined salaries for 10 senior staff members for Niagara Falls equals $1,543,301.

Then I remembered Dean Iorfida, the former Niagara Falls city clerk who was abruptly let go on April 26, 2017. Strangely, the list still shows s 12-month salary for Iorfida. It does not reveal the salary of his replacement Bill Matson.

Matson is not on the list because he had only been employed by the city for eight months, yet, unless he was working for free, the city was clearly paying for the services of two clerks in 2017, even though council members don’t know why Iorfida was let go.

Why is the city paying two clerks when one of them is no longer there?

It has been almost a year since Iorfida vacated his office and there are still no answers.

I am not complaining about Iorfida’s salary. Given the number of years he dedicated to the smooth running of the city, I believe he deserved every penny. He is missed by many.

However, given the nature of public reaction to sudden “departures” such as Iorfida’s, it strikes me as very unfortunate that the city did not immediately take steps to ensure no cloud hung over the record of a man I considered an exemplary member of staff.

If he was fired on reasonable grounds, why was he still being paid?

I’m left with a feeling of being “unsatisfied” about the current state of the city.

Furthermore, I’m left wondering whether there is equitable distribution of salaries in Niagara Falls when seeing the comparisons to other city staff members and senior staff of other larger municipalities.

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