By Ryan McGreal
Published December 16, 2011
this blog entry has been updated
Back on February 14, 2011, Mayor Bob Bratina gave a talk to the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce for the first Mayor's Breakfast, which was recorded by Cable 14.
The entire talk is worth watching, particularly given how the year unfolded, but it gets really interesting starting around the 17:04 mark:
We deliberately started out with a smaller staff because we wanted some time in the mayor's office to see where our resources could be best put to work to make the office as efficient and responsive as possible. We will add resources when we see the need and value. But let me give you a couple of examples.
The Mayor's first example was his decision not to have a driver on staff, for a savings of $70-75,000. But then he shared his second example of cost savings:
My own chief of staff - who's here, who has done such a wonderful job - when we were looking over the salaries over the past several years of people in that position, she decided on her own that she would take $20,000 less on an annual basis than what had been paid. [emphasis added]
So right back at the start of his mandate, Bratina and his chief of staff Peggy Chapman already knew how much money chiefs of staff had historically earned, and actually made a deliberate decision to pay Chapman $20,000 less than the job normally paid.
Why did they ask Human Resources for that information again in the past month? Did they forget that they had already researched this information at the start of the year?
When talking about Chapman's $30,000 increase to the Spectator last week, Bratina said:
HR reviewed Peggy's employment status and found that she was vastly undercompensated based on job description and history. I didn't give a raise, she didn't ask for a raise.
So Bratina knew back in February that his chief of staff was underpaid relative to previous people in that position and bragged about it as one of his money-saving initiatives.
Fast-forward to the end of the year, and suddenly he discovers his chief of staff is "vastly undercompensated" after receiving historical pay information from HR - information he had already received at the start of his mandate and, indeed, formally acted upon.
Did Bratina simply forget that he had already discussed his chief of staff's pay as a significant talking point in his first prepared speech to the city's Chamber of Commerce?
Update: I didn't realize it when I wrote this, but this has already been covered by the O Show on Cable 14. Hat tip to Laura Babcock, Loren Lieberman and Larry Di Ianni for breaking this first.