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Top city bureaucrat out-earns province's

Big pay gap invalid comparison: Katz

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 5/7/2010 (3614 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The City of Winnipeg's top civil servant earned almost $81,000 more than his provincial counterpart in 2009 -- but Winnipeg's mayor says the comparison isn't valid.

Glen Laubenstein, Winnipeg's chief administrative officer, earned $232,164 in 2009, which was tops among all city employees, according to the city's annual disclosure of all salaries earned by public servants and politicians.

Glen Laubenstein, CAO of City of Winnipeg.

Glen Laubenstein, CAO of City of Winnipeg.

In contrast, provincial clerk of the executive council Paul Vogt -- the Government of Manitoba's top civil servant -- earned $151,283 in the fiscal year ending in March 2009.

Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz said it's unfair to compare Laubenstein to Vogt, whose position he described as more akin to that of city clerk Richard Kachur, who earned $154,077 in 2009.

Laubenstein's salary is entirely in line what chief administrators earn at other Canadian cities, Katz said.

"The CAO manages a billion-dollar organization and he's hired by council. I think the idea is to offer compensation that's competitive," said Katz, declining to get into specifics about what other cities actually pay their top civil servants.

In addition to Laubenstein, the city spent a total of $516,000 on salaries and other benefits earned by three deputy chief administrative officers: Phil Sheegl, Alex Robinson and Mike Ruta. The latter is also the city's chief financial officer.

Katz suggested the city must offer more compensation to senior civil servants because their jobs are difficult and are conducted in public, where they're open to media scrutiny.

"We're in the paper every single day, just because we're doing things," Katz said. "It's a much more difficult place to work, just because you're under the microscope every single day.

"I wish someone would do a comparison of how many lines of coverage the city gets compared to the province."

The mayor's own 2009 salary of $122,183, which includes a 33 per cent tax-free component, is less than most of the city's senior staffers, at least on paper. Katz said people typically tell him they believe his salary is too low -- and he agrees with them.

"I can't believe how little the mayor makes," the mayor said.

City councillors, meanwhile, earned between $65,836 and $81,238 in 2009, again with a 33 per cent tax exemption. The pay scale for councillors jumped eight per cent from 2008, when the range was $60,153 to $75,866.

That sort of wage increase is unconscionable when the private sector is freezing wages or even making cuts, charged Colin Craig of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

Katz, however, said the city's elected officials have more work to do than their federal or provincial counterparts.

"We're doing just fine," the mayor said.

bartley.kives @freepress.mb.ca

 

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