Tbnewswatch Local News
Tuesday November 24 2015
7:11 PM EST
2014-03-26 at 13:54

The cost of council

By Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com

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."

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