Thursday, March 6, 2008

Haldimand "How Big is Your Wallet?"

This will interest a few of you out there that love crunching dollars, but I must warn you, you will need a very strong coffee for this read, as I find that we indeed pay our employees very well here in Haldimand County!

Each year Municipalities must disclose all employees that are paid over $100,000.00 a year. In 2005 Haldimand County had "4" employees over $100,000.00, and in 2006 "5" employees over $100,000.00. Now in 2007 Haldimand County jumped to "10" employees being paid over $100,000.00 a year, this amounts to a total of $1,139,629.00 paid out to "10" out of approximately "800" employees.

I stopped to do some errands and a few things came to me while I was out. Sometimes I start writing a story and when I stop for a bit, I think of what I have written and all of a sudden my direction changes. Well this is what happened to me today. I was simply going to do a story on the fact that we have "10" employees in Haldimand County that are paid over $1000,00.00 a year.

Here are a few things that came to mind. In the last "2" years Haldimand County has had a lot to deal with, it seems to be one thing after another. I remember being at a Council meeting in early 2006, when staff spoke of the challenges they face in hiring quality people, we don’t pay enough. So in some cases staff are being hired with "11" weeks paid holidays their first year of employment. Most of us can only dream of getting a perk like that!

We have been told more than once in the last "2" years Haldimand County has lost millions upon millions of dollars in direct relationship with the ongoing Native issues. The County recently applied for $56 million dollars in funding to try and make up for this shortfall. We are seeing businesses struggle to just stay afloat and businesses that just had no choice but to get out, some have gone bankrupt. We have seen development come to almost a complete stop, and I am sure for many in Dunnville, their hopes were high for employment at either Walmart or No Frills. We are now facing yet another increase in Water and Sewer rates, which will certainly hit many residents in Haldimand hard, especially those on a fixed income. This does not even reflect the increase amount of money that we are now putting out of our pockets for higher food prices, higher gas prices, and so on.

We have "6" Council Members that earn approximately $35,000.00 a year give or take a few dollars. Council members get a 2.5% increase each year the same as non-unionized employees. I have always believed that locally elected officials do not earn enough for what they do. Just imagine having to put up with people like myself, or receiving phone calls night and day, going to community events and the list goes on and on. So in comparison to what our General Manager of Corporate Services makes, there is a gap of about $116,000.00 dollars a year give or take a few dollars.

Now to stop beating around the bush as to where I am going with this, Karen General received about $28,723.28 more in 2007 than in 2006, and Hugh Hanly received about $27,109.68 more in 2007 than in 2006. Yes do read that again! When was the last time you received a raise over the cost of living, and that’s if you were even fortunate enough to get that! Now neither one of these individuals gives themselves a raise, it is voted on by "our" "elected council". There are people out there working there asses off making in a year what these people received in raises, this has got to make your head spin!

I am not saying that these individuals are not worth what they are paid, but in saying that the hard working residents of this County pay their wages. I am not saying that the County needs to start laying people off, or decreasing wages, but raises like this are just criminal, and irresponsible!

Here are the figures that Haldimand County released in 2006 and 2007 for Karen General and Hugh Hanly;

Karen General; (2006) Salary $122,454.26 (2007) Salary $151,177.54, this does not include the taxable benefits.

Hugh Hanly; (2006) Salary $103,959.12 (2007) Salary $131,068.80, this does not include taxable benefits.

Well according to the above figures it looks like Haldimand County is quite "wealthy". So I would ask you this. Do you think that our "elected officials" are being Fiscally Responsible?

One thing I can say is thank goodness for the "Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act", or we would never be privy to this information.

Here is the list of Haldimand County Employees that made over $100,000.00 in 2007.

Karen General Manager Corporate Services: Salary $151,177.54
Hugh Hanly Manger Community Services: Salary $131,068.80
Betty Mathews-Malone (not a full year): Salary $104,204.90
Bill Pearce CAO (not a full year): Salary $128,398.42
Jim Dover Manager Human Resources: Salary $102,243.97
Debra Jackson CEO Libraries: Salary $100,724.62
Wilma Koziello Manager IT: Salary $102,280.54
Janis Lankester Clerk: Salary $102,257.95
Daniel Robinson Fire Chief (not a full year): Salary $115,744.68
George Vanderwindt Manager Building: Salary $100,527.72

The above Salaries do not include taxable benefits.

Steve Miazga, General Manager of Planning left last year, his Salary was $112,858.30 in 2006. His replacement is not on the list above as he did not work the whole year in 2007, so there are actually "11" employees that make over $100,000.00 a year.

Now for the fiesta, our highest paid employee in Haldimand County of course is our CAO. Don Boyle came on board with Haldimand County in the fall of 2007. So if his salary is in line with the former CAO Bill Pearce, who earned $138,606.21 in Salary for the year 2006, plus expenses of $6,748.98, and if he had received an approximate 20% raise to keep in line with Karen General and Hugh Hanly, our new CAO makes approximately $166,3247.45 plus expenses. Not bad for a Municipality of about 42,000.


  1. Donna you must be wrong. I just can't believe that council would allow this to happen. This really really pisses me off.

    Please check your information again.

  2. Thanks for your comment.

    Believe me I checked at least six times to make sure I had the figures right.

    I took all this information directly off of the Haldimand County Website. There is a link directly to the site on the top left, you can check yourself. You can go back quite a few years, I went back to 2005. You will need to go to documents...then to reports as submitted to council...these reports are called Salary Disclosure...and most are in February of each year.

    I hope this helps you.

  3. I just read the Dunnville Chroncile. The editor writes a column,Our view most weeks. This week it is called Gorging at the Public Trough. He is talking about the Feds giving themselves a $4,600.00 pay hike as of April 1. He goes on to say this is obscene. I wonder what he will think of your information. I hope you send it to him.

  4. Have you checked with other municipalities on what there costs are for these positions?

  5. Thanks for your comments.

    Interesting, I also read the Chronicle. I sent the editor a letter, which was mainly my blog. He e-mailed me back and said that he would be putting my letter in the paper next week. He will condense it a bit as it is very long, but the point will be made.

    As far as salaries go, I have the comparable information for Corporate Services, which is Karen General. I had these from last year. The government site will not be updated for 2007 until the end of March 2008.

    Karen General 2006: $122,454.26
    Counterpart in Brant: $106,273.73
    Counterpart in Norfolk $110,532.51

    Both Brant and Norfolk have a bigger tax base than Haldimand County.

  6. With Haldimand's decline and estimated lose of revenue as a result of no economic growth and the continual tax burden placed on the residence of Haldimand, it would seem to me that we need to trim fat from Municipal spending. I don't mean services. Reduce staff - top down, we cannot afford to pay exorbitant wages when our tax base is being eroded. Planning department and anything to do with growth can be trimmed. Downsizing and revamping is common today. If manufacturing plant shut down; revamp; restucture, it would seem to me that this is an option that should be looked at by our council. They hold their positions to serve the public good, not the good of the staff. We should find it very easy to come up with hugh operating savings. A sharp knife is required.

  7. Thanks for your comment.

    Well said and so true. But as I have said in the past we must be "wealthy" here in Haldimand County.

  8. This made me sick to think that these staff members are being paid this much, where is all the money coming from? I agree with the last poster start trimming the fat. Unless the County is telling us all lies, I don't think we are that wealthy Donna!