'Sunshine list' reveals salaries of city staff

One city council has opened its salary data to the market with the release of a so-called ‘sunshine list’, which reveals just how much its execs are earning. But some say it's not enough.

'Sunshine list' reveals salaries of city staff
The City of Calgary has published a revealing ‘sunshine list’ containing details of the salaries it pays its employees, though some argue detail is lacking.

The new data shows Calgary’s city manager Jeff Fielding earns the highest salary, up to a maximum of $350,000 annually, or a minimum of $265,000.

Fielding is flanked by a band of general managers of departments such as transportation, community services and protective services, and planning, development and assessment, which can earn a maximum of $306,000.

Some higher paid roles – the city manager, general managers and directors –also have variable incentives of up to 10% of their annual take-home salary.

Meanwhile, a City Links worker – who is employed to help seniors survive in their own homes - can earn as little as $29,120. A community shuttle operator – the next-lowest fully-trained role - earns just over $45,000.

In 2014 the Calgary City Council voted to adopt the compensation disclosure list, which it will publish annually to improve financial transparency.

However, the list is already being attacked for only containing position titles and salary ranges, rather than containing names and actual salaries.

Calgary defends this on privacy grounds. “The compensation disclosure list provides transparency while respecting the privacy and security of its employees,” the 2015 Compensation Disclosure List reads.

City manager Jeff Fielding told CBC News the city compares its salaries to other public and private competitors to ensure it is not overpaying staff.

"We're benchmarking against not only our market here in Calgary, which includes private sector companies, but we're also looking at other organizations that are local government and other levels of government to ensure that, again, we're not leading, but we're in a situation where we're competitive," Fielding said in an interview with  CBC News.

Some council members are already pushing for more detail next year, with arguments that it cannot truly be called a ‘sunshine list’ at all. Other public lists reveal actual names and salaries over a certain salary level.

The data shows a total of 18.8% of the city’s 13,000-strong workforce earns over $100,000, while 3% of full-timers earn between $25,000 and $50,000.

The vast bulk of the city’s workers – or 71.1% who are full-time - earn between $50,000 and $100,000, while a 7.1% are part-time.

The report details the extent to which the HR team plays a role in the administration of the compensation programs of the workforce.

“Some responsibilities include developing policy, designing and maintaining systems, conducting market surveys, designing salary structures, classifying jobs, and providing recommendations and advice to management,” it says.

However, the city says there are different approvers for the eventual salary levels depending on the position and the type of pay increase.

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