Taking aim at the compensation the city’s elected officials receive, mayoral candidate Evelyn Dutrisac has pledged to cap her salary and benefits to $150,000 per year.
“I thank the media for reporting council's expenses and salaries, as these expenses are paid by hard earned tax dollars. The public has the right to know what our politicians are being paid,” she said in a recent media release.
“Yes, council and management salaries are reported in public reports to council, and/or in the Ontario Sunshine List, but not everyone accesses these documents.”
Mayor Brian Bigger’s salary received some public attention last year after Sudbury.com published a story that outlined the fact his salary and benefits total had increased by 60 per cent in four years.
Bigger’s total salary and benefits increased from $143,347 in 2016 to $228,873 last year, putting his earnings in the same ballpark as Premier Doug Ford
In 2020, he took home a total of $228,873, including $180,448 in remuneration and $48,435 in fringe benefits, according to the city’s year-end report.
In this same timeframe, the total salaries and benefits Greater Sudbury’s 12 city councillors received increased from $739,490 to $908,778, which is a 22.89 per cent increase. City councillors earn around $50,000 so don’t make the Sunshine List.
Bigger took umbrage with the reporting of the day, clarifying that the increase didn’t affect his take-home pay too greatly, since a portion of city councillors’ take-home pay previously considered tax-exempt became taxable in 2019. That year’s increase was largely to make up the difference so that the mayor and city councillors’ take-home pay was unaffected by the tax change.
The discussion around compensation resulted in city council voting in favour of reviewing all manner of remuneration and ward boundaries next year.
“As a sign of my diehard determination to reduce the expenses at the corporation of Greater Sudbury, I commit today to cap my salary and benefits to $150,000 gross for each year
of my four-year term,” Dutrisac said in her media release.
“I also will come to Council in the first 100 days of office with a motion to review the (organizational) chart of the city, as should regularly be done, to ensure that no unnecessary layers of management or duplication of responsibilities exist in the corporation.”
In her media release, Dutrisac clarified that “this is not a witch hunt, but instead a public understanding to share openly with the city taxpayer how the city operates and to let them know that council, with staff, are listening.”
Management’s vehicle allowances would also be reviewed under a Dutrisac mayorship.
Although managers’ vehicle allowances haven’t come under public scrutiny of late, Ward 2 Coun. Michael Vagnini’s did earlier this year, when it came to light that he claimed $13,820 in mileage in 2021, which was approximately $10,000 greater than the next-closest city council and more than half the total claimed by all 12 members of council.