Winnipeg not immune to massive public service severance packages

Post by Daniel Fontaine in

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The Royal Canadian Mint in South Winnipeg can't print money fast enough to keep up with severance payouts in the Peg

Regular readers are aware of recent posts we've published regarding the lavish taxpayer funded travel itinerary of Councillor David 'Carbon' Cadman as well as the massive severance packages paid by the City of Vancouver.

Winnipeg, a city of about 600,000 people (similar to Vancouver proper) recently released data on the salaries paid to their public servants earned in 2008. Their city manager earns an annual salary of approximately $212,000. By comparison, Vancouver's city manager earns in excess of $300,000 to manage a city of the same population.

One of Winnipeg's top earners was former deputy police chief Menno Zacharias. He earned $286,753 in 2008. He topped the list due to a severance package he received which helped to bump up his overall salary:

The Winnipeg Free Press writes:

This year, the highest payout went to Mark Purdy, a Winnipeg Transit operations superintendent, who earned a $292,475 severance package. Former internal services director Luella Lee left the city with $198,590 in compensation, former city solicitor Ursula Goeres received a $174,158 goodbye cheque and Stenning received another $50,000 in 2008, on top of the $343,500 she earned when she left the city in September 2007.

The highest city salaries to non-retiring staff are earned by senior administrators, not politicians. Department heads earned anywhere from $119,000 to $155,000 in 2008, while Mayor Sam Katz took home $114,053 and the salary range for city councillors was $60,153 to $75,866. Politicians, however, receive a third of their salaries tax-free. 

According to the report, a total of 4,453 workers earned over $50,000 per annum working for the City of Winnipeg. Here are some other interesting facts compiled by the Free Press:

In 2008, the City of Winnipeg employed anywhere from 8,440 to 9,835 full-time, part-time, casual, temporary and seasonal employees. The city issued a total of 11,267 T-4 slips at the end of the year. Of those employees, 4,435 earned $50,000 or more -- the threshold for public disclosure under provincial law. Here are salaries for selected city employees:

Elected officials*

  • Mayor Sam Katz: $114,053
  • City councillors: $60,153 to $75,866, depending on duties

* Politicians' salaries include a 33 per cent tax-free component

Top administrators

  • Glen Laubenstein, chief administrative officer: $158,796*
  • Phil Sheegl, deputy CAO: $111,908**
  • Mike Ruta, chief financial officer/deputy CAO: $153,890
  • Alex Robinson, deputy CAO: $150,914

* Hired in April 2008. Annual salary approximately $212,000

** Hired in April 2008. Annual salary approximately: $180,000

Department heads

  • Barry MacBride, water and waste director: $155,231
  • Bill Larkin, public works director: $151,956*
  • Keith McCaskill, police chief: $148,325
  • Richard Kachur, city clerk: $143,929
  • Jim Brennan, fire paramedic chief: $137,347
  • Clive Wightman, community services director: $136,956
  • Nelson Karpa, city assessor: $136,493
  • Shannon Hunt, city auditor: $134,128*
  • Dave Wardrop, Winnipeg Transit director: $128,931
  • Joanne Ferrier, city treasurer: $127,489
  • Sherwood Armbruster, chief of mayoral staff: $125,197
  • Deepak Joshi, planning, property, development manager: $122,028
  • Linda Black, corporate support services director: $118,948

* Since retired

Public faces

  • Pam Sveinson, communications manager: $100,093
  • Gordon Glover, zoo director: $100,000
  • Kenny Boyce, film and special events manager: $93,711
  • Randy Hull, emergency preparedness co-ordinator: $93,611
  • Taz Stuart, city entomologist: $90,889
  • Const. Jacqui Chaput, police spokeswoman: $83,095
  • Ken Allen, city spokesman: $77,807
  • Brad Salyn, mayor's communications director: $76,843
  • Const. Jason Michalyshen, police spokesman: $75,708

Severance packages

  • Mark Purdy, former operations superintendent for Winnipeg Transit: $292,474
  • Menno Zacharias, former deputy police chief: $286,753
  • Luella Lee, former internal services director: $198,590
  • Ursula Goeres, former city solicitor: $174,158
  • Annitta Stenning, former chief administrative officer: $50,000*

* Stenning's 2008 payout is on top of the $343,500 severance/salary package she received in 2007, when she left the city

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