Not enough sunshine: Bradley wants all public salaries disclosed

As public bodies in Sarnia-Lambton release lists of civil servants making more than $100,000 there are renewed calls to change reporting of public salaries.

Since 1996, the province has required publicly funded agencies to release who is being paid more than $100,000. The lists are endless with some organizations issuing news releases or reports in public meetings.

In Sarnia, there are 117 people who made more than the $100,000 in 2012 including the city manager ($171,000), the police chief ($155,000) and the former fire chief ($136,000). The Lambton Kent District School Board has 128 people on the so-called Sunshine list including the director of education ($213,300). The St. Clair District Catholic School Board’s director of education leads the list of 63 there making $229,000 in 2012.

Bluewater Health had 42 people on the list including CEO Sue Denomy, who according to her publicly posted contract has a base salary of $294,000.

What she made officially in 2012 has been submitted to the provincial government which has yet to post the document.

In fact several public bodies contacted by Sarnia-Lambton This Week , including Lambton County and Lambton Shores, referred us to the Ministry of Finance website, but by press time, the information on individual organizations was not available.

Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley says if the province is looking for public accountability with it should not be releasing some salaries. “I’ve always believed that all public salaries should be public,” he says. Bradley has asked each provincial government since the act came into place to make all salaries public but has so far been refused.

“I don’t understand what is magic about the $100,000 anymore.”

Bradley adds if the figure was index by inflation, the public sector would be releasing salaries at about $140,000.

Recently Premier Kathleen Wynne talked about the possibility of indexing the Sunshine List to inflation but noted some people still think $100,000 is a high salary which should be reported.

She’s hasn’t said whether she’d support full disclosure.

For now Bradley says it is good for the current list to be made public. “It is good for the scrutinty for politicians and it is good to keep the salary costs on the way down,” he says.

-Heather Wright

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