Where can I apply for that $100K position?

Yesterday the Ontario Government released it’s list of individuals earning over $100,000: now nearly 34,000 people, and reportedly a 24% increase over last year. This might go some way towards why taxes always seem to go up while services go down. The Conservatives will just say they need to cut services that help the poor while the NDP will say more (tax) money is needed.

Ironically, the Ontario’s Public Sector Disclosure Act was passed presumably because public scrutiny would force public employees to rein in their pay demands.

Guess it didn’t work.

The Toronto Sun outlines the pay of some people in 1996, when it was first introduced, and this past year. Even factoring inflation and rises in the cost of living the increases in both salaries and those earning above the threshold are out of whack.

One explanation could be that with people now knowing what their co-workers, or their compatriots in other departments made, they actually increased their demands. And when year over year there didn’t appear to be the supposedly anticipated public outrage, they perhaps realised it was quite easy to get away with. Sure, there will be the flurry of critical articles that will be buried within a couple of days, or commentary from the odd blogger or taxpayers’ group, but for the most part, people don’t seem to get all that upset. Certainly not enough for anything to change. Perhaps with an estimated 300,000 people working for the provincial or municipal government or crown corporation in some capacity, some presumably with the hopes of promotion (and counting their dependent family members too) there may just be too many people whose insterests are more in line with keeping the salaries high or increasing them over those whose interests would be in restricting them.

Perhaps the Tories figured that all along when they introduced the Act. It would make them look good – fit with their image of looking after the taxpayer, fiscal scrutiny and so on, but meanwhile accomplishing the reverse of what was supposedly intended.

Here’s has a handy link to the list itself. Some of the salaries for some of the job titles seem reasonable. If someone doing a job is compensated similarly to how they would be in the private sector, fair enough. But a look through some of the job titles leads me to think that’s possibly not always the case.

For example, read through the list, and look at the number of jobs for Executive Director. Funny, I always understood that Executive Director was mostly an admin position requiring a college diploma. Now it can be hard work (I filled in briefly as one about eight years ago) and there’s a lot to juggle, but it does it warrent six figures? Especially if those six figures are paid for by the taxpayer. To see how compensation for this title compares to the non-profit sector in the US, I took a look at a website called Payscale.com. The median salary for an Executive Director in the US with more than twenty years experience was $73,000.

We’re always told that schools never have enough money. Kids are stuck out in drafty portables, after school programs are closed due to lack of funding, basic building maitenance is neglected. Perhaps the money might be well-deserved for the odd inner-city principal, but for managers and administrators?

Another area that is always supposedly underfunded is healthcare. Now running a hospital might be a very demanding, challenging job. But Dalton McGuinty runs the whole province on $147,000. Meanwhile, the Hospital for Sick Children chief executive earns $563,061.

Some of these jobs listed probably do demand a high level of skill and specialisation. Heck, there’s probably a few who are underpaid for what they do. But others might just be the right person’s brother-in-law or old college roommate.

Keep in mind, that this is only the salaries that pay over $100K and are required to be disclosed. It would be interesting to know the number of employees and their job descriptions in the $90K salary range and are kept under the threshold. It would also be one thing if the top paid officials were doing an excellent job. But that’s not always the case, as this article in the Toronto Star points out.

I encourage everyone to look at the list for themselves and the sometimes dubious job titles. And think about it the next time there’s a hospital fundraiser, or a rise in energy rates or cries that there’s not enough money to fix a crumbling school or improve hospital wait-times. Afterall, you and I are paying for them.

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