Current Weather
13.1°C Cloudy 8 km/h
Full Forecast
Tbnewswatch Local News
Friday May 29 2015
10:24 PM EDT
2014-03-26 at 13:54

The cost of council
By Jamie Smith,

The city spent more than $1.6 million on remuneration and expenses for councillors and board appointees last year.

More than $1 million of that went to 62 city appointees for various boards.

The Tbaytel Municipal Services Board cost more than $260,000 in pay and expenses with two members, Chris McGinley and Gary Polonsky topping that list at more than $40,000 each.

All eight Tbaytel board appointees were more than $20,000. Only one non-Tbaytel appointee on the list, Thunder Bay Port Authority's Pritam Lamba at $23,000, broke that mark.

The next highest board for total pay and expenses was Thunder Bay Hydro's seven members at more than $73,000.

Factoring in what they collect from sitting on outside boards, city council's remuneration and expenses totaled more than $618,000.

That also includes fringe benefits like vision and dental. Mayor Keith Hobbs topped that list at $105,000, with more than $91,000 in remuneration.

Coun. Joe Virdiramo was next at $53,459, more than $44,500 of that in pay.

Hobbs said his base salary of $88,419 is much lower than other mayors in similar cities and he's kept his travel budget down. Being on council is a daily grind.

"It takes a lot of time from their families. The compensation has to be fair. You can't expect people to do this for free," he said.

But when he sees some board members making nearly as much as councillors, it might be time to look at remuneration.

"I think (some) of those are excessive," he said of board costs such as Thunder Bay Hydro.
'They're creeping up there."

Click here to submit a letter to the editor.

Click here to report a typo or error


We've improved our comment system.
karcat says:
There should be no councillors at large for this city , and there should be a limit on closed door meetings, I doubt any of the public knows what goes on in secret there, esp its the taxpayers money they are spending,ty
3/27/2014 7:08:21 PM
pub27 says:
Wait until you see the sunshine list.....apprentices made it....
3/27/2014 4:21:03 PM
spooner19 says:
I think there should be less people on council and i think things would run smoother having less. All you have now is several council members wasting time whining about every issue that comes up, reduce the number of people on council and will save some money also.
3/27/2014 3:36:26 PM
henryalbertluci says:
Board appointees make a ridiculous amount of money! Especially when you consider that they can sit on several boards and most of them are retired and collecting a pension or excuse me, pensions! Some of these "professional advisors" don't even live here any more...yet they sit on several boards and rake in hefty amounts of money. That is a real tax grab and sounds like a free for all. How many times do they need to actually be present for these advisory positions, and how much work do they actually do for a cool $40,000.00? I had to work my ass off every day for just a little more than half of that amount....something really needs to be done about this! RIDICULOUS!
3/27/2014 10:57:40 AM
Recommended 1 times.  1  Agree
Flag as Inappropriate
123franklin says:
I wouldn't mind their as long as they can reduce our property taxes. If they cant fire them. That is why we pay them.
3/27/2014 10:16:40 AM
grs says:
I kind of laugh at the people that complain about Hobbs, how he doesn't know anything about being mayor and how the mayor is overpaid.

So what kind of candidate do you expect to find for mayor if you pay them LESS than the $91,000? Someone with more knowledge?

Also, what does other income like pensions have to do with anything related to this story? If they've retired they've probably earned every penny of their pensions. If that's supposed to affect their current remuneration it would be like your employer saying 'well, you won the lottery this year so we don't have to pay you as much anymore'.
3/27/2014 8:50:11 AM
mystified says:
Well said.
This is the only comment that makes any sense. The rest are just bunch of chronic complainers and wannabe comedians.

Grow up Thunder Bay!
3/27/2014 9:23:17 AM
Surfer79 says:
Okay I am not disputing 100k is a nice chunk of money but Hobbs is getting paid 100k less than the city manager 50k, less than fire chief 45k less than police chief, 25k less than ambulance chief. Every other department head is making well over the 100k mark so stop this ranting against Hobbs.
You nor I have a clue what it's like being in his shoes.
3/27/2014 7:57:33 AM
bttnk says:
Great points about the comparable salaried positions. I have no problem with any of the compensation listed above.

I am a firm believer that in order to get quality individuals to serve on boards, they need to be well compensated. Whether each of the boards mentioned above has been successful in attracting proper talent and/or has a good process for filling board positions is anothe question for which I do not have an anwer.
3/27/2014 9:00:22 AM
Ozone says:
Also remember nearly all on council are retired and have teachers pensions McKinnon and Vidaramio or OMERS pensions Hobbs, Herbert or government pensions Angus or bomber pensions, Pugh,
Only gertuga and foulds work in the public sector.

Vote the lot out next election.
3/27/2014 7:51:06 AM
whatelseisnew says:
I think they are all over paid and unqualified...especially Hobbs! They all need to go because at the rate they are going this town will not only be in debt for the next 100 years it will be bankrupt!
3/27/2014 6:32:58 AM
Recommended 1 times.  1  Agree
Flag as Inappropriate
Watchful says:
105 thousand is a lot of money to even listen to that old cane shaker . Maybe if it payed for the bulldozer he should be driving to push the crap out of the way every time he opens his mouth
3/26/2014 10:31:26 PM
Recommended 1 times.  1  Agree
Flag as Inappropriate
livewire says:
What a waste of Tax Payers Taxes. Can't the council live off of their CPP & OAP and give the tax payers a break.
3/26/2014 7:04:48 PM
fastball says:
Basically, you want them to put in all those hours...for free?
Honestly, you couldn't pay me enough to listen to the crap spewing from some of these loonies - let alone volunteer out of the goodness of my heart.
Their pay represents a miniscule fraction of one percent of the city budget.
3/27/2014 11:17:50 AM
Kam River says:
No wonder the Mayor considered the $57,000 they wasted on the youth centre as no big deal.
With Mayor Keith Hobbs topped that list at $105,000 plus his gold plated city pension of another $100,000 know wonder his and his fellow councilors do not care about the 70 people still waiting for the city waterline to be unfrozen.
Time for them to go....
3/26/2014 6:32:25 PM
Recommended 1 times.  1  Agree
Flag as Inappropriate
fastball says:
A guy gets a pension for working a job for 30-odd years...and there's something wrong with that? That's something that should be held against him?
And getting paid for being a councilor has got WHAT EXACTLY to do with the physics of a pipe freezing or thawing?
3/27/2014 11:14:55 AM
canuckman55 says:
You realize it's fundamentally impossible to get a $100,000 pension given his earnings as a police officer right? I guarantee it's closer to half of that; probably 50-60k.
3/27/2014 3:37:20 PM
ou812 says:
I don't have a problem with the mayors salary. However these board appointee payouts are a little too much. Maybe it should be spread around a bit. Aren't some councillors on more than one committee?
3/26/2014 6:31:21 PM
Recommended 1 times.  1  Agree
Flag as Inappropriate
thecity says:
This seems like low pay. We are the only urban centre in our region, and I applaud council for doing their jobs for small amounts of money. If we disagree with what they do, at least judging by the small salaries, we can believe that they care.
3/26/2014 6:22:23 PM
Stephen says:

Those people on the boards appear to be well-compensated. I'm not sure exactly what it is they do.
Whenever there is a municipal election, all these names pop up for the hydro board, and I have no idea who the people are, and what they have done in the past. Perhaps it would be of some benefit if these murky shadows were made to campaign for their position, like the council and mayor. After all, we're paying them.
3/26/2014 6:11:07 PM
Recommended 1 times.  1  Agree
Flag as Inappropriate
unheard says:
Hobbs says "you cant expect them to do it for free"

True enough but it is supposed to be a position on honour not profit
So you guys have personal interests in being there then?
You are representing your community you do a good job, the community will profit, but you seem to want to profit from the community
3/26/2014 6:04:11 PM
sky high says:
A position of honour? The way a lot of you people threaten and insult him? Throw diatribes at Hobbs like he is just here as scapegoat for your own misery? This site published a comment that said he would be 'kicked to the curb'. Honour? What a joke. If the mayor has to put up with people on this site ripping on him when they don't know the first thing about politics or finance, then he is worth a lot more than he gets.
3/27/2014 12:59:17 PM
sky high says:
105 thousand is a nice chunk of change, but not worth it when you have to put up with a bunch of whiny caneshakers that follow your every move and criticize you whether you cut spending or increase it. And sorry tbnewswatch, but you're trolling to get these caneshakes excited. Yes, you're trolling now.
3/26/2014 4:06:31 PM
lori says:
I am sure I will be in the minority here, but I don't view that as a great deal of money to run this corporation.

If we wish to discuss the merits or ability of those running it, that is a different kettle of fish but that is not a lot of coin on a budget of $313 million. Now that is a total that is way way too high.
3/26/2014 2:49:42 PM
SomeGuy says:
It's 0.5% of the city budget, hardly out of line.

For context.


1. Susan Fennell, Brampton $213,727*; pop: 523,911

2. Naheed Nenshi, Calgary $201,839; pop: 1,096,833

3. Hazel McCallion, Mississauga $187,057*; pop: 713,443

4. Rob Ford, Toronto $172,803; pop: 2,615,060

5. Jim Watson, Ottawa $168,102; pop: 883,391

6. Gérald Tremblay, Montreal $156,128; pop: 1,649,519

7. Gregor Robertson, Vancouver $145,581; pop: 603,502

8. Stephen Mandel, Edmonton $135,694**; pop: 812,201

9. Sam Katz, Winnipeg $123,910***; pop: 663,617

* Includes Peel Region council pay
** Entitled to $158,813, but took a lower salary
*** 2011 salary; 2012 figure not available
3/26/2014 6:03:29 PM
Jack Frost says:
The city spent more than $1.6 million on remuneration and expenses for councillors and board appointees last year.

Mayor Keith Hobbs topped that list at $105,000, with more than $91,000 in remuneration.

Coun. Joe Virdiramo was next at $53,459, more than $44,500 of that in pay.


What a great bargain and money well spent !!

It's no wonder these guy's are always smiling.

TAX Dollars well spent again !!

LOL !!
3/26/2014 2:25:40 PM
Recommended 1 times.  1  Agree
Flag as Inappropriate
nvjgu says:
They cost the people of this town more than that due to there spending decision like the two poles at the waterfront.
3/26/2014 2:18:24 PM
Jon Powers says:
Onward! Upward! Build! Build!

Why has Thunder Bay City Council not posted "The Event Centre Committee" expenses yet?

Because Thunder Bay doesn't have an "Event Centre Committee".

Talk about closed door meetings?!

According to our Mayor Hobbs "The Event Centre" is the most important thing in our city's history.

Why No Committee?

He and Council have sold us out!?

Why no "Plebiscites Committee"?

Onward! Upward! Build! Build!

Opportunity Thunder Bay Slogan

Great Story + Posts to Follow!
3/26/2014 2:17:21 PM
SomeGuy says:
What Event Centre Committee are you talking about? And what does the Opportunity Thunder Bay have to to with this?

I think your trying to connect the dots when there isn't even any dots.
3/26/2014 5:59:55 PM
Tannoy says:
I think I see where we can make some serious cuts...
3/26/2014 2:17:17 PM
Recommended 1 times.  1  Agree
Flag as Inappropriate
Comments for this story are semi-moderated. Read our comment guideline.

Add a new comment.
You must log in to add comments.
Create a new account
Log In