EASTERN ONTARIO – The region’s top doctor leads the 2020 Sunshine List. The Ontario government released it’s annual report on public employees who earn more than $100,000 per year on March 19th.
The list includes provincial and municipal government employees, school boards, health units, hospitals, and other provincial agencies.
Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, medical officer of health for the Eastern Ontario Health Unit is the region’s top paid government official for 2020. Roumeliotis has spearheaded the regional response to the COVID-19 pandemic and earned $357,436 in 2020, a 5.71 per cent increase over the previous year. Roumeliotis is one of 36 people at the EOHU on the Sunshine List, which includes 11 nurses. The health unit reported a combined salary of over $4.5 million plus taxable benefits for its employees on the list.
Four people made the Sunshine List at the Municipality of South Dundas including one former employee.
Chief Administrative Officer Shannon Geraghty earned $142,113, a 3.34 per cent increase from 2019. Director of Fire and Emergency Services Cameron Morehouse earned $106,566, a 4.03 per cent increase from 2019. And Treasurer Sarah McMillan earned $103,604. Don J.W. Lewis, who was the director of planning and bylaw, and the chief building official for South Dundas until the summer of 2019, received $112,961 in 2020. Both McMillan and Lewis have not previously appeared on the Sunshine List.
Combined, the four South Dundas employees or former employees received over $465,000 plus taxable benefits.
Geraghty may be the highest paid official in South Dundas, but he is the second highest paid CAO in the six municipalities that make up the county.
North Dundas CAO Angela Rutley earned $144,760 in 2020, an increase of 7.21 per cent. Director of Planning, Building, and Bylaw Calvin Pol earned $114,230, and Treasurer John Gareau earned $110,785. The three employees earned over $369,000 plus taxable benefits.
Elsewhere around the county, South Stormont CAO Debi Lucasswitzer is the top paid official in that township, earning $136,917. She is one of five employees in South Stormont on the Sunshine List.
North Stormont listed only one employee, Roads Superintendent Blake Henderson, on the list. He earned $105,901 in 2020. North Stormont was without a permanent CAO for several months last year.
In South Glengarry, CAO Tim Mills is the top-paid municipal official, earning $134,533 in 2020. Four other employees were listed on the list. North Glengarry CAO Sarah Huskinson earned $137,513 in 2020, one of four employees at that township on the Sunshine List.
Seven employees of SDG Counties administration are on this year’s Sunshine List. Leading the list is CAO Tim Simpson who earned $182,056 in 2020, an increase of 2.03 per cent from 2019. Director of Transportation and Planning Services Ben deHaan earned $151,293, a 1.99 per cent increase from last year. IT Director Michel St. Onge earned $136,332, treasurer Rebecca Russell $134,231, manager of operations Trevor Baker $105,149, now retired clerk Helen Thomson $104,597, and director of library services Karen Franklin earned $103,597.
The City of Cornwall, which provides municipal services to SDG under a shared-services agreement, had 181 employees who made over $100,000 per year. CAO Maureen Adams topped out at $228,373 in 2020. Cornwall and SDG Paramedic Services chief Bill Lister earned $171,870, and Glen Stor Dun Lodge administrator Steven Golden earned $139,837. Manager of Social and Housing Services Mellissa Morgan-Dobson earned $118,994. Cornwall’s 181 employees account for $22.29M in salary for 2020.
Health care salaries made up a large part of the provincial and local Sunshine List entries for the year.
Winchester District Memorial Hospital and Dundas Manor CEO Cholly Boland made $252,238 in 2020, an increase of 4.44 per cent from 2019. He is one of 31 people from the hospital on the Sunshine List, which totalled $3.67M. Dundas Manor administrator Susan Poirier earned $109,477.
Cornwall Community Hospital CEO Jeanette Despatie earned $311,110 in 2020, a 0.53 per cent increase from the previous year. A total of 127 employees at that hospital made a combined $14.86M in 2020.
Registered nurses make up more than half of all employees on the Sunshine List at the two hospitals.
Most doctors are not listed unless it is a specific specialty as doctors are considered independent contractors who bill OHIP for services.
Other government agencies in the region that reported salaries include the Children’s Aid Society of Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry. Nineteen employees combined for $2.29M in salaries in 2020. Executive Director Rachel Daigneault led the agency earning $195,112.
The St. Lawrence Parks Commission reported nine employees on the Sunshine List in 2020.
Director of Historic Sites Geoff Waycik led the group with $132,566 in salary in 2020. Combined, the nine listed employees earned $1.08M in 2020.
Elected politicians also made the Sunshine List again. Ontario Premier Doug Ford earned $208,974 in 2020.
Local Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry member of provincial Parliament Jim McDonell earned $133,217, which includes $16,667 for his role as Parliamentary Assistant to cabinet minister Steve Clark.
MPP salaries have been frozen since 2008 and will remain so until the provincial budget is no longer in a deficit position.
The Sunshine List was established by premier Mike Harris in 1996 with the goal of publicizing the salary and benefits of public service employees who earn over $100,000 per year. In 1997, the first reporting year, 4,250 employees made the list with over $526.5 million in salary. This year, 205,605 employees made the list with a combined salary of $25.9 billion. Compared to 2019, that is a 23.1 per cent increase in the number of people on the Sunshine List and a 28.9 per cent increase in salary.
While the list has grown, the $100,000 threshold has not been adjusted since the list was established.
Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Leader