The number of Thunder Bay Fire and Rescue officials making more than $100,000 has jumped by more than 100 people, something the city’s manager is calling an anomaly.
The City of Thunder Bay released its portion of the provincial Sunshine List, also known as the Ontario Public Sector Salary Disclosure list, Thursday afternoon. The city made the decision to release the document before the March 31 deadline after learning that an internal copy had already been leaked to local media.
In 2011, 148 members of the fire department made the list or public sector workers making more than $100,000, a significant increase from the 30 that made the list in 2010.
City manager Tim Commisso said the increase is because of retroactive payments from an arbitration hearing that went back to 2003.
“It’s really just a function of the fact there was a significant back pay,” he said during an interview with tbnewswatch.com Thursday afternoon.
“As people move ahead in their salary grid, they get on the list and we expect that but I expect next year the list will be down significantly.”
The total number of city workers on the sunshine list is 244, up from 115 last year.
Thunder Bay Police Service added 13 more people to the list this year.
The list was supposed to be released on March 31 with all other public sectors in the province, but Commisso said he received a call from a media outlet Thursday inquiring about the city salaries.
He said while the leak is concerning, the information isn’t confidential and was going to be released to the public in a few weeks time.
“It really isn’t a confidential list but it’s intended to go to the province and then they distribute the list on March 31 when it’s with every other public sector organization,” said Commisso.
“It’s something I’ll follow up on.”
Some members of council now hope to find out who was responsible for the media leak.
In an email sent to the city’s communication department, which also went out to the city’s external media contact list, Coun. Aldo Ruberto questioned whether the city could learn more about who may have provided the information to media.
“Can we not trace the e-mails to find out who leaked the information?” Aldo asks in his message
Both Coun. Ken Boshcoff and Mayor Keith Hobbs later replied to Coun. Ruberto’s message to indicate that they both were looking for answers about the leak too.
”I asked this question too, Aldo,” Mayor Hobbs replied via email. “I would like to know as well.”