Grey-Bruce MOH again region’s top earning public sector employee

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While his salary is down from the previous year, Grey-Bruce Medical Officer of Health Dr. Ian Arra is once again the highest paid public sector employee in Grey-Bruce for 2021.

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Arra topped the list locally with a salary of $514,572 last year, down from his 2020 salary of $631,510. In 2019, the year Arra took on the MOH’s job full time, his salary was $385,439.

On Friday, the Ontario government released its public sector salary disclosure – commonly known as the Sunshine List – which includes civil servants who earned $100,000 or more last year. The totals reflect salaries, bonuses, overtime pay and severances among other case-by-case variances.

Grey-Bruce board of health vice-chair Alan Barfoot said in a news release issued on Friday that 2021 was again an extraordinary year for the health unit.

In addressing Arra’s pay, the release said his salary reflects compensation including his annual salary and overtime pay for additional hours he was required to work last year, “the first full year of the COVID-19 pandemic that was marked by the declaration of a critical threshold of cases in the spring and roll out of an unprecedented vaccination program throughout the year.”

Last year, there were calls for an external review of the local health unit’s remuneration policies and corporate culture after the 2020 disclosure was released showing Arra as the highest-paid MOH in the province and among Ontario’s top 30 highest-earning public servants for the year.

The board of health rejected the assertion that an external review was warranted.

In responding to the calls for the review, the health unit called 2020 “an extraordinary year on many fronts.” Figures released by the board said the MOH’s base salary was based on 1,820 hours annually, and in 2020 Arra worked 1,412 overtime hours for a total of 3,232 working hours.

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Last spring the board expressed hope that all hours, including those of the MOH would normalize as the pandemic became more manageable and an associate MOH was hired.

In February 2021 the health unit hired Dr. Rim Zayed as a physician consultant, and said she was working through the process of becoming an AMOH in Ontario.

In the 2021 public sector salary disclosure, Zayed’s salary is listed at $201,283.

Friday’s release from the health unit said that MOH salaries are developed by the province’s Ministry of Health and negotiated by the Ontario Medical Association. It added that overtime payments were established by the board, applying the same formula used with other unionized or non-unionized employees.

The board made the decision to not exclude the MOH from overtime compensation that was provided by the province for all staff, the release added.

Barfoot said Arra played a leading role in the health unit’s response, “guiding a team through effective, highly coordinated communications, ultimately helping contain the spread of the virus and protecting vulnerable residents.”

“Our board is grateful for the work ethic and commitment he has brought during this difficult time.”

While the province allotted extra funding to cover added expenses related to the pandemic emergency, including overtime hours for health unit employees, it is anticipated overtime will return to normal levels as the emergency is declared over, the release added.

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According to this year’s salary disclosure, the highest paid MOH in the province was Public Health Sudbury and Districts MOH Penny Sutcliffe, who earned $800,726. Sutcliffe, who came in at ninth overall on the list, was the only local public health official in the top 30.

Lianne Catton, MOH of the Porcupine Health Unit in Northern Ontario earned $593,659 in 2021.

Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s Chief MOH earned $235,314 after taking on the role of the province’s top doctor in late June. Moore also earned $225,709 last year in his previous roll as MOH for the Kingston region.

Moore’s predecessor as Ontario’s CMOH, Dr. David Williams, earned $351,808 in 2021.

Along with Arra and Zayed, there were 25 others from the Grey Bruce Health Unit on this year’s list. There were 10 in total from the health unit on the list last year.

Meanwhile, the Bluewater District School Board had 569 people make over $100,000 in 2021, which was more than 400 more than reached the $100,000 threshold in 2020.

Over 92 per cent of the growth in the list this year was attributed to teachers now making over $100,000. Overall there were a total of more than 240,000 names on the list an increase of 38,536 over 2020. Publicly funded elementary and secondary school teachers earning six figures reached 65,581 last year, which was 35,606 more than in 2020.

At the Bluewater board, director of education Lori Wilder was on top of the list, making $257,002. Superintendents of education Lauren Penner Lipsett and Rob Cummings both made $185,002, Sheryl Elliott made $171,112, Andrea Tang made $170,742 and Keith Lefebvre made $170,534.

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The Bruce-Grey Catholic District School Board saw a smaller bump in people earning $100,000, up to 163 in 2021 compared to 149 in 2020. Director of education Gary O’Donnell earned $182,830, while former superintendent of education Karyn Bruneel, now the executive director of the Provincial and Demonstration Schools Branch of the Ministry of Education, earned $175,000.

There were 149 Grey Bruce Health Services employees on the list this year, which was down from 219 in 2020. CEO Gary Sims made $334,662 in 2021.

South Bruce Grey Health Centre had 47 employees make the list for 2021, with President and CEO Michael Barrett the top earner at $226,314. Hanover and District Hospital had 18 employees on the list, led by President and CEO Dana Howes, who earned $174,715.

South-East Grey Community Health Centre had 11 people on the list. Physicians Carolin Shepherd and Daniel Eickmeier led the way, earning $179,330 and $154,821 respectively. CEO Allan Madden made $151,008.

Overall, a total of 73 City of Owen Sound employees earned more than $100,000, led by Police Chief Craig Ambrose, who earned $193,010. Police Inspectors Jeffrey Fluney earned $177,932 and David Bishop earned $173,376. The police department had 34 people on the list.

Fire Chief Doug Barfoot, who retired last year, made $186,703. There were 22 members of the city’s fire department on the list.

Owen Sound city manager Tim Simmonds made $192,851, while director of community services Pam Coulter, former director of public works and engineering Dennis Kefalas and director of corporate services Kate Allan all earned $141,768.

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Grey County had 71 people on the list, which was topped by CAO Kim Wingrove at $212,433, followed by human resources manager Sandra Shipley at $159,344, director of paramedic services Kevin McNab at $154,029, director of legal services Michael Letourneau at $149,503, deputy CAO Randy Scherzer at $147,671, director of long-term care Jennifer Cornell at $143,385, and director of housing Anne Marie Shaw, director of social services Barbara Fedy and director of transportation Services Patrick Hoy, all at $143,755.

Bruce County had 57 people on the list, topped by former CAO Sandra Datars Bere at $199,888. Director and chief of paramedic services Steve Schaus, former director of transportation and environmental services Miguel Pelletier and director of workplace engagement services Susan Petrik all made $150,425. Director of human services Christine MacDonald earned $145,956, director of corporate services and county treasurer Edward Henley earned $145,760 and museum director and curator Cathy McGirr earned $141,821.

Hanover had 12 people on the list, led by Chief of Police Chris Knoll, who made $182,625, CAO Brian Tocheri who made $155,978 and Deputy Police Chief George Hebblethwaite who made $154,772.

West Grey had 17 people on the list, led by Police Chief Robert Martin ($168,308) and CAO Laura Johnston ($159,367).

Meaford paid six people over $100,000, including CAO Rob Armstrong ($165,764), and former treasurer and director of financial Services and infrastructure management Darcy Chapman ($156,451).

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The Blue Mountains had 20 people on the list, including CAO Shawn Everitt ($205,712), director of community services Ryan Gibbons ($143,101) director of finance and IT services Ruth Prince ($140,740) and director of planning and development services Nathan Westendorp ($140,736)

The lone person on the list from Chatsworth was CAO Patty Sinnamon ($133,664).

Georgian Bluffs had five people on the list, led by former CAO Al Meneses ($142,161).

Southgate had two people on the list, including CAO David Milliner ($136,742).

Grey Highlands had five people listed, led by CAO Karen Govan ($167,469).

Saugeen Shores had 29 people on the list, including Police Chief Kevin Zettel ($182,399), CAO Kara Van Myall ($176,053), and Police Inspector Jeremy Mighton ($149,911). Fire Chief and director of protective services Philip Eagleson, who took the chief’s job in Owen Sound last year, earned $129,899.

Kincardine had 10 people on the list, including former CAO Sharon Chambers ($162,321), acting CAO Roxana Baumann ($157,438) and director of infrastructure and development Adam Weishar ($144,668).

South Bruce Peninsula had eight people listed, led by CAO Bill Jones ($130,959).

There were four people from Brockton on the list, topped by CAO Sonya Watson ($170,651).

Huron-Kinloss had seven on the list, including CAO Maryrose Walden ($155,898).

Arran-Elderslie had three people listed, including Treasurer Tracey Neifer ($110,590)

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South Bruce CAO Leanne Martin was on the list, earning $137,125, while Northern Bruce Peninsula CAO Peggy Van Mierlo-West earned $134,841.

Bruce Grey Child and Family Services had 19 people listed, down from 21 in 2020. CEO Phyllis Lovell earned $198,144.

There were seven people from the Walkerton Clean Water Centre, led by CEO Brent Kuhnke ($215,343).

The Owen Sound Transportation Company had 12 people listed, led by chief engineer officer Zarir Cooper ($166,826). Former president and CEO Susan Schrempf made $142,531 last year.

Outgoing Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker made $131,058 in 2021.

Ontario Power Generation executives held the top four spots overall, with CEO Kenneth Hartwick earning the title of the highest with a salary of $1,628,246 in 2021.

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