OPG CEO tops Ontario's 2014 'sunshine list'
Tom Mitchell, President and CEO of Ontario Power Generation, speaks at the Global Business Forum in Banff, Alta., Friday, Sept. 21, 2012. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mike Ridewood)
TORONTO -- Executives at Ontario's government-owned utility, who have been under intense scrutiny for generous salaries and benefits, again topped the list of the province's highest paid public sector employees in 2013.
Tom Mitchell, president and CEO of Ontario Power Generation, was the top earner at $1.71 million last year, including taxable benefits -- about the same as 2012.
Next on the list was chief nuclear officer, Wayne Robbins, who took in $920,713.
They were among 11 OPG executives who earned more than half a million dollars last year.
OPG came under fire last December when auditor general Bonnie Lysyk released a damning report about their compensation packages, saying they were "significantly more generous" than for comparable positions in the civil service.
She noted that the ranks of OPG's "highly paid" executive and senior management group swelled by almost 60 per cent since 2005, creating a top-heavy organization.
Lysyk said it had a financial impact on the cost of electricity -- a big headache for the governing Liberals and a source of political ammunition for the opposition parties.
In the wake of the report, OPG's chairman Jake Epp -- who collected $150,000 last year -- fired three executives.
No. 3 earner on the sunshine list, John Murphy, executive vice-president of strategic initiatives, collected $910,869 in 2013. Chief financial officer Donn Hanbidge received $670,929, and Lou Pollieri, chief audit executive, earned $296,396.
But OPG will have to shell out about $3.4 million in severance. Murphy, who had 33.5 years of service, will receive about $1.7 million, the utility said Friday in a statement issued at the same time the sunshine list was released.
Pollieri, who had only three years of service, will get about $265,000.
OPG hasn't yet reached a settlement with Hanbidge, who had 14 years of service, but say he will likely receive $1.4 million.
Hydro One's president and CEO Carmine Marcello, who started his job in January last year, earned $728,570. His predecessor Laura Formusa, who retired, received $1.04 million the year before.
There were 11,538 employees from OPG, Hydro One and their subsidiaries on the 2013 list, up from 11,376 the year before.
Ontario Power Authority CEO Colin Andersen earned $574,091. Rosemarie Leclair, chairwoman and CEO of the Ontario Energy Board -- which approved Enbridge Gas' request to boost rates by 40 per cent starting April 1 -- took in $509,222.
Overall, the so-called "sunshine list" of workers earning at least $100,000 -- which includes doctors, nurses, teachers, police and firefighters in addition to civil servants -- increased about 11 per cent last year to 97,796 names.
That's an 82 per cent increase from 2008, when there were 53,774 names on the list.
However, the government said the average salary on the list was $127,433 last year -- a slight decline from the year before -- and the number of civil servants on the list grew by less than one per cent in 2013 to 11,349.
Inflation has played a part in the list's growth over time, but the opposition parties say $100,000 is still a lot of money for many people.
"It's clear that the government is not committed to a wage freeze across the board and they're not committed to real savings," said Progressive Conservative critic Lisa MacLeod.
"In fact, they're not committed to good governance."
Premier Kathleen Wynne made $198,873 in 2013, a little less than her predecessor Dalton McGuinty.
However, many of his departing staff took home hefty six-figure paychecks with their cardboard boxes when they left the premier's office in early 2013.
His former chief of staff David Livingston, who is under police investigation for alleged breach of trust, received $108,516. He left the premier's office when Wynne took over on Feb. 11 that year.
Provincial police allege in unsealed court documents that Livingston gave an outside tech expert -- the boyfriend of senior staffer Laura Miller -- access to 24 computers in the premier's office.
It's alleged Livingston sought permission to "wipe clean the hard drives" during the transition period from McGuinty to current Premier Kathleen Wynne.
None of the allegations have been proven in court and a lawyer for Livingston says his client has not broken the law.
Miller, who left government at the same time as Livingston, received $154,713 last year.
The other out-of-work McGuinty staffers who landed on the 2013 sunshine list included deputy chiefs of staff John Brodhead, David Gene and Debra Roberts, who collected $164,695 each.
Jamison Steeve, McGuinty's principle secretary, received $137,050. Caucus relations director Roderick MacDonald took in $129,260, executive director of communications, Wendy McCann, got $110,398 and McGuinty's director and executive assistant, Tracey Sobers, received $104,306.
None of them were employed by the current premier, but like any other terminated employee, they are "eligible for certain compensation such as severance payments," said Kelly Baker, a spokeswoman for Wynne. But that would have been arranged by the former premier's office.
Among the other top earners in the health-care sector was Robert Bell, president and CEO of Toronto's University Health Network, who collected $828,633. Catherine Zahn of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health took in $749,114.
The list included 163 hospital physicians -- including Thomas Stewart at Mount Sinai Hospital who earned $581,010 -- and 1,993 registered nurses.
Rod Phillips, who stepped down in January as CEO of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp., earned $723,503. Robert Peter, head of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, took in $440,365.
TV Ontario host and producer Steve Paikin made $307,817, while CEO Lisa De Wilde took in $269,056.
Ombudsman Andre Marin took in $230,995, Information and Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian received $206,108 and Environment Commissioner Gordon Miller got $167,369.
Former auditor general Jim McCarter earned $256,095, while Lysyk, who took over Sept. 3, 2013, didn't make the list.