By Jenna Cocullo
Chatham-Kent’s health professionals topped the Sunshine List for the municipality’s highest wage earners in 2019.
The Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act, enacted in 1996, requires all employees paid by the public purse making more than $100,000 to be disclosed each year by the end of March. The threshold for salary disclosure has not been increased since the act was enacted.
Dr. Vishal Chawla and Dr. Timothy Rourke, both physicians at Chatham-Kent Community Health Centres, were the two highest paid public sector employees, making $362,125 and $307,181.
Lori Marshall, president and CEO of Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, was the top earner under the Hospitals and Boards of Public Health Sector, and third overall, with a salary of $285,000.
Dr. David Colby, chief medical officer for C-K, was the highest paid under the Municipalities and Services sector with $253,817. In 2018 Colby received $204,512.61 in salary.
Fourteen newcomers were added to the municipality’s $100K club since 2018, reaching a total of 264.
In 1998, when the Municipality of Chatham-Kent was first created after amalgamation, only two employees made the Sunshine List; police chief Don Roskamp who earned $158,505 with $1,213 of taxable benefits and CAO Hugh Thomas with an annual wage of $111,843 along with $490 of taxable benefits.
Don Shropshire, Chatham-Kent’s CAO, received a small salary increase of $5,000 upping his 2019 salary to $246,422 with taxable benefits of $10,999.
Chatham-Kent police chief Gary Conn made $226,428, a $7,000 increase from 2018, and had taxable benefits of $16,418, a decrease of $8,124 from the previous year.
Chatham-Kent’s current fire chief, Chris Case, is not listed on the top earners as he only assumed his new role on Dec. 6, 2019.
Former fire chief, Bob Crawford walked away from the job with $168,367.
Deborah Crawford, director of education for St. Clair Catholic District School Board, is the top earner in the school board sector with an annual salary of $218,056.
Lambton Kent District School Board’s director of education James Costello, who retired partway through the year, finished off his career raking in $189,803.37. In 2018, his full salary amounted to $ 223,373.
Costello’s successor John Howitt made $139,628.48 as a superintendent of education with the Greater Essex County District School Board for part of 2019.
LKDSB has 273 on the $100K-plus payroll and St. Clair has a total of 96.
According to Statistics Canada, the median after-tax income of Ontarian families and unattached individuals in 2018 was $66,200. For Chatham-Kent, the 2016 census data showed that 80 percent of residents made $50,000 thousand or less after tax.More than 52 per cent of residents fell in the $30,000 or less threshold.
For a detailed list, click here.