A tale of two city halls and their wages

Tyler Clarke
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Municipal public accounts offer a chance to compare administration salaries between Moose Jaw and Prince Albert.

City Hall

With both the cities of Moose Jaw and Prince Albert releasing their 2013 municipal public accounts figures this month, comparisons may commence.

However, before comparisons begin, one must note that it’s difficult to compare the cities based solely on population.

Prince Albert city finance director Joe Day explained that there are always differences in job duties between the cities, as well as differences in the ability to attract and retain employees.

“The cities typically don’t exchange very much information on the pay for all of the positions within a city,” he explained, noting that the city will benchmark some positions from time to time as vacancies occur.

However, with all of the variables floating around, there “isn’t a definitive explanation” for wage differences between the two cities, he concluded.

Although most wages for comparable positions appear in the same ballpark between the cities, some City of Prince Albert remuneration levels offer a bargaining chip for their City of Moose Jaw counterparts.

Prince Albert’s latest official population count (2011 census) of 35,129 is 8.6 per cent greater than Moose Jaw’s latest population count of 32,345.

However, Prince Albert’s former city manager Robert Cotterill earned a salary of 192,425 in 2013 -- a 27.3 per cent bump above former Moose Jaw city manager Garry McKay’s pay of $151,142.

When it comes to the pay cheques other city department heads receive, both cities hover around the $130,000 mark.

As for elected officials, Prince Albert city council is much better done by than those in Moose Jaw.

The average city councillor remuneration in Prince Albert, minus travel expenses, was $31,338 in 2013, which is 35.9 per cent more than the average Moose jaw city councillor remuneration of $23,056.

Mayor Greg Dionne’s 2013 remuneration, minus travel expenses, was $84,470, which is 27.23 per cent more than Moose Jaw Mayor Deb Higgins ($66,392).

The city of Moose Jaw has six councillors and a mayor, and Prince Albert has eight city councillors and a mayor.

As the Daily Herald pointed out earlier this month, Prince Albert city councillors have seen their remuneration increase by about 18 per cent between 2011 and 2013, during which time the mayor’s remuneration increased by about 10 per cent.

During this same timeframe, the average weekly wage in Saskatchewan, including overtime, increased by 7.94 per cent, according the Statistics Canada data that the provincial government references.

City council pay increases in Prince Albert are directly tied to cabinet minister pay, with the mayor receiving a percentage of a cabinet minister pay, and city councillors receiving a smaller percentage.

In Moose Jaw, there were 42 employees who earned more than $100,000 in 2013. In Prince Albert in 2013, there were 78 employees whose wages were higher than $100,000.

With notes from Moose Jaw Times Herald reporter Lisa Goudy.


City of Moose Jaw:

Population (as of 2011): 32,345

(Former) City manager Garry McKay - $151,142.14

Financial services director Brian Acker - $133,953,79

City clerk/solicitor Myron Gulka-Tiechko - $132,955.98

Parks and recreation director Jody Hauta - $132,823.32

Manager of engineering Mahabub Zaman - $112,774.58

(Former) Police Chief Dale Larsen - $58,227.73 (partial year)

Deputy Fire Chief Randy Fuhr -- $142,506.51.

Mayor Deb Higgins - $66,392.06

Average city councillor - $23,055.76


City of Prince Albert:

Population (as of 2011): 35,129

(Former) city manager Robert Cotterill -- $192,424.96

Financial services director Joe Day -- $133,357.90

City clerk Cliff Skauge -- $104,102.96

City solicitor Ken Paskaruk -- $128,737.03

Community Services director Greg Zeeben -- $142,811.46

Public Works director Colin Innes – $133,357.90

Police chief Troy Cooper -- $149,351.96

Fire chief Les Karpluk -- $137,061.11

Mayor Greg Dionne -- $84,470.23

Average city councillor -- $31,337.51

Organizations: Prince Albert, Daily Herald, Statistics Canada

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan

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Recent comments

  • Greg Lanick
    August 22, 2014 - 02:40

    sick. just sick.