Sunday, June 17, 2012

Nanaimo Daily Accurate?

Total City Hall Remuneration $44,945,868.48
Not $28,200,000.00 As Reported
176 Employees Earn Over $75,000

Once again it would appear as if the Nanaimo Daily News (aka Nanaimo Daily Snooze) is trying to paint city hall in a more favourable light on the wage front.

Their recent front page story claims that "The total paid to all employees at city hall was $28.2 million" when in fact the total paid to all employees at city hall is nearly $45,000,000.00. The article then goes on to suggest that it is firefighters who are the ones responsible for the over $100,000.00 club making up 24 of the 53 positions in the elite $100,000.00 crowd. It is a common ploy when the spending of tax dollars is questioned, that the taxpayer is asked how much of their safety they are willing to sacrifice for the sake of tax dollars. They did not ask the taxpayers if they should fix up the old annex for $4 million or spend $16 million on a new one, did they?

No one seems to notice that city hall staffing has not shrunk even though we are miles away from the boom days when extra staffing was necessary. The Daily does raise one good point in their opinion piece in the same issue, "are taxpayers getting what they are paying for with these high wages?". It might be hard to compare considering that the top paying job in the city of Nanaimo was awarded without going to competition!

By limiting the comparison to only the city employees earning in excess of $100,000 it sounds as if only 53 employees are in the 'well paid' category when in fact the total remuneration paid to all employees earning over $75,000.00 totaled $16,771,657.75. The total number of city hall employees earning in excess of $75,000.00 is 176 people and a great many of them are in the $80,000 and $90,000 club.

When you consider the median household income in the city of Nanaimo is in the area of $44,000.00 you have to wonder if we can really afford all this high priced help. You might also wonder if we really need all this high priced help.

No Need For A Spin Doctor At City Hall

Once again the local fourth estate demonstrates their ability to keep Nanaimo residents in the dark when it comes to what is going on at city hall. It sure sounds better to say all of city hall is run on a $28.2 million payroll, and by implication about 50% of that is for firefighters, when in fact the number is $45,000,000.00 (not sure if that includes the taxpayer contribution to the pension plan) and that is made up of 176 employees earning over $75,000.00.

Of the 176 employees earning in excess of $75,000, 76 are identified as being associated with firefighting. I think a case could well be made that the fire service in the city of Nanaimo is somewhat bloated, but does come under the umbrella of 'public safety' and we all know we are not willing to risk our safety. The IAFF is also well aware of that fact, which is why FF wage settlements are usually two times the cost of living index. They also seem to have an awful lot of officers in their brigade as well. Not sure if there are as many chiefs as indians (no offence) but they sure seem to be top heavy, like much of the work force paid by the public.

(Did I mention the local Daily collected $111,442.65 from the city last year.)


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