Expanded Disclosure for Employee Compensation (including overtime, severance, etc.)

I’m supporting Councillor Gillingham’s Motion enabling disclosure on how public funds are being spent:  SEE MOTION.

The Motion, which is being brought forward at the July 13th meeting of City Council by Councillor Gillingham and seconded by myself, is calling for an expansion of compensation disclosure breakdowns for all City Staff. This would change the current practice of disclosing only TOTAL compensation to instead providing specific details such regular pay, overtime pay, special duty pay, vacation pay, sick-leave cash-out, bonuses, severance, allowances, benefits, vacation and any other compensation as defined under The Public Sector Compensation Disclosure Act.

The Motion also calls for:

  • Employment contract details to be disclosed at the time of signing for those employees under written contract with the City of Winnipeg.
  • The Province of Manitoba to amend The Public Sector Compensation Disclosure Act as necessary to support public disclosure.

All Councillor compensation, ward allowances, and detailed spending is currently available to the public. I support the fact that the citizens of Winnipeg should have the right to know how public funds are being spent, including how public employees are being compensated.

This Motion will be automatically referred to the Executive Policy Committee. Councillor Gillingham and I hope it will be quickly adopted and brought back to City Council this autumn for approval by the end of 2016.

My thanks to the Winnipeg Free Press for reporting on this issue.

Privatization could cut overtime: councillor

Total overtime in 2014 equivalent of 285 full-time jobs

All options, including privatization of Transit, are on the table in the face of staggering overtime costs that have seen one mechanic earn nearly as much as his top boss, a councillor said Sunday.

“If overtime is a consistent issue in a department, solutions need to be found. All solutions should be looked at,” Coun. Scott Gillingham said.

He didn’t rule out privatization.

“If in a situation like that, if a private contractor was utilized, it could perhaps be, a potential option to look at, a fixed-price contract.”

An internal report shows city employees are working more overtime.

Overtime hours in several departments rose steadily from 2010 to 2014. Civic staff worked 390,654 overtime hours in 2010.

By 2014, that number grew to 592,780 overtime hours.

Police were at the top of the list for most overtime in 2014, taking up 33 per cent of all civic overtime at 192,031.82 hours.

Public works employees took up 23 per cent (136,878.44 hours) of overtime, Transit employees took up 17 per cent (87,469.74) and firefighters and paramedics were at 12 per cent (37,336 hours). The report said the total overtime in 2014 was the equivalent of 285 full-time employees.

Last week, the Free Press reported a mechanic was the second-highest Transit wage earner in 2015, next to Transit director Dave Wardrop.

Some Transit mechanics and staff doubled their salaries in 2014 and 2015 due to a staff shortage and ongoing issues with diesel bus engines, according to the union that represents them.

Gillingham said the heavy reliance on overtime isn’t sustainable.

‘The whole place is being run on overtime’

John Callahan, president of Amagamated Transit Union Local 1505 said Winnipeg Transit has sent the trouble-plagued buses to a local Cummins subsidiary for repairs, but its own maintenance staff has been involved in trying to fix the vehicles — and that’s behind the large amount of overtime emplyees have been forced to work.

You may have a systematic problem that needs to be addressed.Todd MacKay, Canadian Taxpayers Federation

“The whole place is being run on overtime, and it shouldn’t be,” Callahan said last week.

Transit’s overtime bill in 2015 totalled $4.3 million, of which work related to the Cummins engines was five per cent, about $214,000.

Cummins-related overtime in 2014 accounted for 6.5 per cent of the department’s OT costs.

Transit’s overtime costs in 2014 were 11 per cent higher than those in 2013; and the 2015 OT bill was 17 per cent higher than in 2013.

“I can’t blame them,” Callahan said of the mechanics and other unionized staff taking home big cheques courtesy of overtime. Transit has always been short-staffed, he said.

“Everyone is over-taxed in the maintenance area,” Callahan said.

“You’re always going to have some overtime. Things are going to go wrong, things don’t always happen on schedule so you’re going to have some overtime,” said Todd MacKay, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation’s prairie director.

“If you’re seeing more overtime or you see overtime going up consistently over time, then it’s not just an incidental situation where something went wrong. You may have a systematic problem that needs to be addressed.”

Councillor calls for compensation breakdown

Gillingham introduced a motion at the July 13 council meeting that calls for a component breakdown of the source of the compensation for all city employees who make more than $50,000 a year.

He said the figures would be be disclosed in an annual report, adding the report currently only includes an overall compensation number.

“My motion calls for a breakdown of that compensation so that regular pay, overtime pay, vacation pay, sick-leave pay, sick-leave cash-out — all of those sources of compensation would be itemized,” said the member of the finance committee.

The proposal was referred to executive policy committee, which doesn’t meet again until September.

Gillingham said it’s “understandable” overtime was used to get the Transit buses running again.

“However, when you look at the amount of overtime that many of the employees put in, it is cause for the department and for city council to take a look to determine if other methods are needed to address the issue,” he said.

Police officers sick from fatigue

The Winnipeg Police Service’s 2015 fourth-quarter financial report states regular overtime increased by 12.91 per cent because of specialty units working overtime on specific projects and investigations.

That amount of overtime is creating mental-health issues with our members, and stress and anxiety.-Maurice Sabourin, president of the Winnipeg Police Association

Maurice Sabourin, president of the Winnipeg Police Association, said on Saturday morning alone there were 350 calls for service.

“No doubt a lot of members were held over to deal with the high volume of calls. Even though the statistics are showing that crime is on the decrease, it’s not very representative of what you have,” Sabourin said.

He said police received 300,000 calls for service last year, an increase of 35 per cent since 2010. They’re already 10,000 calls ahead from this time last year. he added.

Increasing overtime is not just hurting the city’s budget, it’s also affecting officers, Sabourin said.

“We would say that we need more police officers on the street because that amount of overtime is creating mental-health issues with our members, and stress and anxiety.

“When they’re working around the clock, it’s very difficult for them to get the proper rest that they need,” he said.

“We’ve had members booking off sick because of fatigue. You can’t operate on two hours’ sleep and expect to come back in and work another full shift. It wouldn’t be safe for them, and it’s not safe for the public.”

— with files from Aldo Santin, Bailey Hildebrand-Russel



Twitter link:  https://janicelukes.ca/?p=6524