The Sunshine List 2015 – Public sector salary disclosure

Posted by on Mar 28, 2015 in Commentary, Local Politics, Politics |

The Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act, 1996 (the act) makes Ontario’s public sector more open and accountable to taxpayers. The act requires organizations that receive public funding from the Province of Ontario to disclose annually the names, positions, salaries and total taxable benefits of employees paid $100,000 or more in a calendar year.

The act applies to organizations such as the Government of Ontario, Crown Agencies, Municipalities, Hospitals, Boards of Public Health, School Boards, Universities, Colleges, Hydro One, Ontario Power Generation, and other public sector employers who receive a significant level of funding from the provincial government.

The Sunshine List 2015  (Disclosure for 2014) – Public sector salary disclosure for Municipalities and Services

 

The Sunshine List 2015  - Public sector salary disclosure for Municipalities and Services

The Sunshine List 2015 – Public sector salary disclosure for Municipalities and Services

 

Public sector salary disclosure – all sectors

Definitions:

Salary – The amount shown as “salary paid” in this compendium may not represent the employee’s annual rate of salary in the current year. The salary required to be made public under the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act, 1996 reflects the amount to be reported to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) on the employer’s T4 slip for the employee. The “T4 amounts” may include components that relate to a year prior to the current year. These may result, for example, from retroactive revisions to salary scales, from grievance payments or from vacation pay-outs upon exit from employment. Note also that the “T4 amounts” may exceed the employee’s annual rate of salary if the employee worked overtime during the year. The “T4 amounts” may be less than the annual rate of salary if the employee worked only part of a year.

In addition, remuneration paid in the form of per diems and/or retainers to an individual defined as an “employee” under the act are also subject to disclosure. These amounts are reportable, whether or not an information slip for CRA has been prepared/issued.

Taxable Benefits – The amount shown as taxable benefits is the amount shown on the T4 slip as prepared for the Canada Revenue Agency. These amounts can include free or subsidized housing, board and lodging, travel in a designated area, personal use of employer’s vehicle, interest-free and low-interest loans, other payments made on behalf of the employee such as relocation costs, employer contributions for basic life insurance, and tuition reimbursements. Travel and meal expenses incurred by the individual and reimbursed by the employer are not considered a taxable benefit.

“Sunshine Lists” – Public sector salary disclosure (previous years):

If you review the historical data in the respective Sunshine Lists, you will discover that Brighton’s CAO Frost received a 12.5% salary increase in 2011 and a total increase of 34% in the 5 year period from $107,694 in 2009 to $149,378 in 2014.

CAO_Gayle_Frost_salary_increases_2015_cpi

CPI = Consumer Price Index Inflation Rate

“Just one of many reasons why four people didn’t get re-elected and why we need to get a handle on escalating costs!” – Councillor Baker, March 2, 2015

 

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No News is Good News, Misleading News is Bad News

Posted by on Mar 8, 2015 in Commentary, Local Politics, Politics |

Recent “news” reports from Quinte News, “Frost contract under review” and 95.5 Hits FM “Brighton council will review its year old contract with Chief Administrative Officer Gayle Frost” [Edit 09/03/2015: 95.5 Hits FM deleted their Facebook post], raise some serious questions regarding the journalistic integrity and independence of these two local “news” outlets.

Before reading further, I would encourage readers to listen the audio recording from the March 5, 2015 Brighton Council meeting that was included in the report by 100.9 myFM titled, “Brighton Council will get in the “know” when it comes to employee contracts“. I attended the Council meeting and I can confirm that the report by myFM is an accurate account and this is corroborated by the audio recording.

However, as you can see from the following screenshot, the Quinte News reporter Ms. Joyce Cassin filed a completely different report that I find to be inaccurate and misleading. What is also concerning is the response from Quinte News once comments were submitted questioning the accuracy and content of the reporting. As you can see from the first comment, it is clear that the person identified as “St8 UP” was mislead by the article. The third and fourth comments from two residents that attended the Council meeting clearly contradicted what was reported and at this point Quinte News closed the comments. Even more concerning than the actual closing of the comments is the fact that they chose not to display the third comment by the person named “Jeannine“, thereby limiting the contradictory evidence.

After some discussion of this on social media, Quinte News re-opened the comments on the article and a member of the Quinte News team made a post attempting to defend the article by Ms. Cassin. The comment was made by Mr. John Spitters, but rather than reveal his identity, he chose to post the comment under the name “John“.

Quinte_News_Frost_contract_under_review

I have sent the following questions to Quinte News and at the time of the writing of this blog post I have not yet received a response:

1. Why did you close comments on your post? Is is because it was inaccurate and misleading and you were concerned that you would be called out?

 

2. Before closing the comments, there were comments made by a person called ‘John’. Why did Mr. John Spitters not identify himself as an employee of your company and a colleague of your reporter Ms. Cassin?

 

3. Why do you state that the contract with CAO Frost was signed a year ago, when in fact it was signed almost two years ago?

 

4. How was it determined “That left only Frost’s contract”? You don’t have to name the source, but you do have to state that it did not come from the meeting, otherwise you are just misleading the public.

Another inaccurate and misleading article was posted by 95.5 Hits FM “Brighton council will review its year old contract with Chief Administrative Officer Gayle Frost“.

955_Frost_Contract2

955_Frost_Contract1

I have sent the following questions to 95.5 Hits FM and at the time of the writing of this blog post I have not yet received a response:

1. You organization appears to be independent from Quinte News, but your headline includes the same inaccurate information as Quinte News. So, do you report the news independently, or do draw from a common “article pool”? If you have a reporter attend the meeting, why did they copy and paste information from another reporter at the meeting? If it was the other way around, perhaps you could confirm?

 

2. How was it determined “That left only Frost’s contract”? You don’t have to name the source, but you do have to state that it did not come from the meeting, otherwise you are just misleading the public.

 

3. Why do you state that the contract with CAO Frost was signed a year ago, when in fact it was signed almost two years ago?

 

4. You state, “which it was revealed at the meeting had been drawn up by the previous council to protect the CAO from harassment”. Since CAO Frost’s contract was NOT discussed at the meeting, how can you make the claim that it was, let alone the claims made in the quotation itself?

 

5. Are your reporters not trained to check the spelling of names when they reference them in their articles? FYI, you can find the correct spelling via the Brighton Municipal website at www.brighton.ca.

I would suggest that if recognized “news” outlets do not have reporters that are capable of writing independent articles that are based on fact, then they should not publish the articles submitted. Otherwise they are doing themselves, their advertisers and our community a disservice.

I don’t have any issue if these “news” outlets want to post opinion-based content, but they shouldn’t try to pass it off as “news“!

 

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