Monday, January 7, 2008

Follow the money

As an example of the fiscal prudence practised under London's recent administration, Ontario Ministry of Finance figures compiled by Jim Horne and reproduced here with his kind permission (PDF) reveal that the number of city staff earning $100,000 or more has undergone a "rapid expansion" from just 12 to 71 between 2000 and 2006. The "rapid expansion" in highly-paid employees is hardly just the result of inflationary pay increases for existing positions during this time; the number of top-level bureaucratic positions itself has been escalated, at the same time that many bureaucrats are receiving salary hikes far above the rate of inflation, as much as 40 per cent in one year in at least one case.

The charts shown below, created by Mr. Horne, show the direct costs to taxpayers of the city's $100K club in salaries and benefits between 1996 and 2006, with projections to 2010 based on 6-year and 3-year trends. As Mr. Horne notes, these costs do not reflect the concomitant demand for office space, support staff, office supplies, and expense allowances issued by high-ranking bureaucrats. It must be up to the taxpayer to determine whether he has been receiving a commensurate increase in service from the city during this time.

It is hardly surprising that city administration would push for expansion of the size and influence of their administrative territory, which in turn serves as a justification for extravagant salary increases. But it is a disappointment that the city's politicians have not during this time exercised any scrutiny or restraint over its administration's expectations for itself.

Fun fact: London's chief administrative officer Jeff Fielding was the 7th-highest paid municipal employee in Ontario last year. He has also recommended to council for at least two years running that it grant requests to departments that exceed budget targets.


Jake said...

I wonder which business school gave Mr. Fielding his MBA? The dean should be blushing redder than a stop sign. I wouldn't trust this guy to manage a Taco Bell much less a $800 million municipality.

He has led the charge for the call centre at City Hall, grants galore for organizations without business plans, waste on useless programs like Ambassador London. Likely will rubber stamp the current proposal to double councilor's expense accounts too.

Fielding is a classic example of a guy abusing his senior position. Council will never say no to a guy who is a "manager" as it acts a form of "political insurance". No matter how wasteful or ridiculous the proposal, council will side with him because having someone from management say something is good for the city automatically makes it so. If it turns out to be a mistake, they can always defend it to the public that "management said it was a good idea so it's not my fault" excuse as a political shield.

Anonymous said...

Watching it grown unchecked should be raising alarm bells. It really is shocking how stupid we are to allow ourselves to be taxed to the hilt to keep incompetents living in a style, that incompetents expect.

Anonymous said...

This disgusts me. Where is the board of control on this? Isn't this part of what they are supposed to watch and regulate??

Anonymous said...

Since Tommy runs board of control(and city) what makes you think the board wouuld do anything. Feilding is their right arm.
He knows whats buried deeper.

Anonymous said...

Read the whole article. You'll find it at this link