Piqued that the Sault's economic development agencies haven't divulged specific salaries of their top earners, Ward 3 councillor Matthew Shoemaker is pushing to make full disclosure a condition of city funding.
Eleven months ago, City Council voted to ask Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development (EDC) and the Innovation Centre to release names, positions, salaries and taxable benefits of individuals earning over $100,000.
EDC responded that it was in "full support" of the intent of the council resolution, but its chief executive officer Tom Dodds expressed concern that the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act appeared to prohibit the EDC from complying with the request if affected staffers don't consent to disclosure of their private information.
Salary information posted last year on the EDC website showed four positions in the $86,000 to $129,000 salary range, six positions in the $56,000-$86,000 range, four in the $49,000-$56,000 range and four in the $33,000-$49,000 range.
Dodds has disclosed that he's in the $100,000 club.
"My new motion removes the discretion of staff to have or not have salary disclosure in any new accountability agreement and makes it a mandatory clause/provision," Shoemaker tells SooToday.
"It's obvious that they are not following through with council's demand for salary disclosure."
Since 1996, Ontario has required all provincial ministries and municipalities to disclose names and salaries of all employees earning more than $100,000.
When the issue was debated at City Council last year, Ward 2 councillor Sandra Hollingsworth and her Ward 3 counterpart Judy Hupponen were opposed to salary disclosures, arguing that they're of interest only to coffee-shop gossipers.
"When I see this, I almost see it as if we are wearing the scarlet letter back in the good old 17th-18th Century days, when apparently if you were considered practising witchcraft, you were given a scarlet letter," Hollingsworth said.
The following is the full text of the new resolution Shoemaker wants presented to City Council:
Negotiations on new accountability agreements for economic development
Mover: Matthew Shoemaker
Seconder: Paul Christian
Whereas the City of Sault Ste. Marie gave notice of its intention to terminate its accountability agreements with two economic development agencies it funds; and
Whereas the city is negotiating a new accountability agreement with the two economic development agencies it funds or a new agency over the course of 2017; and
Whereas on May 16, 2016 council passed motions requesting salary disclosure of those making $100,000 per year or more from the two economic development agencies it funds; and
Whereas in 2017, salary disclosure of those making $100,000 per year or more was not provided to the City of Sault Ste. Marie by those agencies;
Now therefore be it resolved that staff include a mandatory provision for annual salary disclosure of those making $100,000 per year or more in any new accountability agreement with the existing economic development agencies, or any new economic development agency.