As far as I can see it appears as if our City Manager (CAO) and Senior Financial Officer (SFO) are doing a reasonable job of tending to the business of running our town. Although, some have said that their bedside manner might need some tweaking. Once you see their salary scale you might need a compassionate hand to mop your brow as you recover from a heart attack.
This brings me to the question of compensation for these and other Dawson management positions. The bylaw defining the wage and benefit structure for these jobs defines the different management levels and salaries that was passed by council last November. http://cityofdawson.com/download/11-20_Mgmt_Empl_Bylaw.pdf
By my reckoning I can’t help but think that some of these radically increased wages from what they were a little over two years ago are much too rich for a small town like ours.
Being the highest position within the city the CAO top wage is $126,790. Next year (2013) it will be increased to$129,643.
In 2009 the CAO commanded a top salary of around $90,000
The Senior Financial Officer was around $50,000 to $60,000 and now commands over $100,000.
But wait, it gets better.
The bylaw also allows for a yearly sum of $3,200 as a kind of Isolated Post Allowance for family travel away from Dawson. It also allows for matching contributions to an RRSP of up to 8% of the annual salary. In this case, if fully drawn it would represent 10,371.44. These perks are available to all managers.
So, now we’re up to $143,214.44 annually for the top salary.
It still gets better. A town councilor told me that the CAO’s housing is provided rent free minus the utilities but probably is off the hook for property taxes and water and sewer. I think a conservative valuation of rent for this house could be $2,000 per month for a total of $24,000 annually.
Factoring in this amount brings the total wages and benefits package of the CAO to $167,214.44.
Is it just me or does this seem excessive for a town of 1400 and approximately 500 rate payers?
Let me be clear, although I’m not critiquing our current CAO or any other manager – although, God knows that if anyone deserves a raise it would be the Public Works Foreman – I am calling into question mayor and council’s judgement regarding the overall wage scale for managers for a small town like ours.
Could it be that the recent across the board increase on our property taxes is helping pay for these across the board salary raises?