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Windsor's police chief said the force's director of financial services was entitled to more than $400,000 last year in order to keep her salary similar to that of staff at Windsor City Hall.
Al Frederick made the comments at a police board meeting Friday after the annual Sunshine List revealed Rita Pennesi earned a $426,503.84 salary and $768.07 in taxable benefits — a one-time anomaly.
"She came in as a financial analyst from the City of Windsor and her pay scale was reviewed under pay equity legislation," Frederick explained. "As a result of that review, each year since 2009 she was given an increase of about $35,000 to be in alignment with people with similar skill sets and qualifications that would have at city hall."
Pennesi's salary was nearly double that of the chief, who took home $214,496.38 over the same period, with $11,463.65 in taxable benefits, and was more than $150,000 more than the next highest-earning city worker on the annual list of public sector employees who earn $100,000 or more.
Her wage for 2016 was also about four times the $103,848.76 with $723.76 in taxable benefits she made the previous year as the police's manager of the budget and financial services.
Pennesi began working for the City of Windsor as the director of administration for Parks and Recreation in 1992, and held the position for 11 years before moving to the Finance Department in 2004, according to her LinkedIn profile.
The city employee began working for Windsor police in 2009 as manager of finance and only became director of finance in October 2016.
Frederick maintained the money was an "equalization of her pay in relation to her job function, her skills and knowledge in respect of pay equity legislation."