By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland
Mayor Lucas Cleveland’s insistence that the Cobourg Public Library make public a list of staffers whose salaries qualifies them for the Sunshine List of public-service employees making at least $100,000 a year finally got an answer from the library that he received with no comment.
Cleveland’s motion to this effect was extensively debated and finally passed by council and, at Monday’s council meeting, they got the answer in the form of a letter from the library Board Chair Mike Duncan that made several points.
First, under the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act, the board doesn’t qualify as an Accountable Organization – the total annual funding the organization receives from the province must represent at least 10% of its revenue.
The $31,000 the province contributes annually has remained stagnant since 1996 – the year after the library moved from its old location on Chapel Street to the newly built library-and-archives facility it now occupies. With a budget of $1.407-million to operate its three branches, that puts the province’s share at 1.9% of the budget.
Another point Duncan made is that library employees’ salaries are set by the town. And with the majority of positions held by women, pay-equity adjustments were completed in 2007 and updated periodically over the past 16 years.
Still, he said, “the Board strives to maintain transparency in its work, particularly as stewards of public funding. As the Board is ineligible to be included in the Public Sector Salary Disclosure aka The Sunshine List, we commit to reporting making an annual disclosure to Town of Cobourg Council. The disclosure will be made in March of each year and will include disclosing the number of employees who earn a minimum of $100,000, as well as the Town of Cobourg non-union grade list for salary scale that the employee is a part of.”
For 2023, one library employee earns a minimum of $100,000 as part of the town’s non-union grade 11 salary scale.
The letter was received by council without comment.