Two administrators – a fire chief and a college president – who retired in 2021 made the 2022 sunshine list


Some top municipal administrators got 10 per cent pay increases

A Lambton County fire chief who didn’t work a day in 2022 made the Sunshine list.

And some of Lambton’s top administrators in municipal government again got double-digit pay increases.

The provincial government released the Sunshine List Friday and the number of people in Lambton on the public accountability list has grown.

Since 1996, the provincial government requires all government agencies to release the salaries of publicly paid staff who make more than $100,000. There are 266,903 people on the public payroll in Ontario who made the list, 22,000 more than last year.

The health care sector saw a large increase with thousands of nurses crossing the $100,000 threshold this year. About 65,510 educators are also on the list.
The list has grown in local municipalities with 13 ‘Sunshine Employees’ in St. Clair, seven in Plympton-Wyoming, four in Petrolia, two in Dawn-Euphemia and two in Warwick Township.

John Rodey, the CAO in St. Clair Township is the highest paid municipal employee in Lambton with a salary of $195,701.33 salary and just over $1,000 in benefits. That’s a 10.4 per cent increase over 2021, where he made about $177,000 plus benefits. His salary went up 17.2 per cent in 2021.

Carolyn Tripp, the CAO in Plympton-Wyoming, received the largest double digit increase of administrators in 2022. Tripp, who is currently on sick leave, was paid $178,293.87 in 2022 an 11.2 per cent increase over 2021. Her pay went up 10 per cent in 2021.

Petrolia’s CAO, Rick Charlebois, is also on the list making $159,601.99 in 2022. Charlebois – who also holds the role of treasurer – received just $2,140 more than 2021, a 1.3 per cent increase.

He’s one of four Petrolia employees on the list. Director of Operations, Mike Thompson, is on the list for a second year with a salary of $103,162.10 – about a one per cent increase over 2021. New to the public disclosure list are Clerk Mandi Pearson with a salary of $ 101,965.48 and Fire Chief Jay Arns with a salary of $100,939.38.

Arns’ Plympton-Wyoming counterpart also made the public disclosure list. Chief Darryl Thompson – who is currently on an administrative leave for undisclosed reasons – made $105,426.88. Current fire officials in St. Clair Township also made the Sunshine List. Two deputy chiefs make $101,830.87. The township recently hired a third deputy chief.

The 2022 Sunshine List also includes retired St. Clair Chief Walt Anderson. It says Anderson made $100,640.92 plus benefits.

Anderson retired Sept. 29, 2021 after St. Clair Township investigated comments he made on social media promoting violence in the federal election.
Users on Twitter flagged the personal account of Anderson under a National Post story about protestors following the Prime Minister around on the campaign trail. There were widely condemned photos depicting the hanging of Justin Trudeau. Under the post, Anderson’s feed said “Time for Canadians to stand up if that means violence so be it.”

The township launched an investigation, but then Mayor Steve Arnold said Anderson had been “impersonated” online. Anderson had warned his followers he’d been hacked. His social media accounts were scrubbed but screenshots of posts he promoted circulated, comparing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Adolf Hitler and Karl Marx.

After an in camera discussion with St. Clair council, Anderson retired. But the details of that retirement were never made public. From the information on the Sunshine List, it appears the municipal government continued to pay the former chief for at least a year and a half.

Other notable Public Disclosure Act facts, Warwick Township CAO Amanda Gubbels’ salary topped $130,705.12; that’s up 10.7 per cent in 2022. She received a 17.2 per cent increase in 2021.

In 2021, there were three Warwick employees on the list, there were just two in 2022 – Gubbels and Treasurer/Deputy CAO Trevor Jarrett.

Dawn-Euphemia had two employees on the list for the first time, the CAO and the Public Works Manager, who made about $1,000 more than the CAO in 2022 at $106,000.

St. Clair Township had the most municipal employees on the list with 13 including all the top administrators and several department heads. The salaries of those on the Sunshine List total nearly $1.6 million.

Lambton County has 136 people on the Sunshine List. The now retired CAO, Ron VanHorne, was the top earner with a salary of $245,593. The deputy CAO, Stephane Thiffeault, who is now the CAO, earned about $219,000. And Corrine Nauta, manager of building services, received $200,436 in 2022. Also on the list is Mark Perrin – the head of Tourism Sarnia Lambton – who made $109,840.

Former Lambton College CEO Judy Morris also made the 2022 Sunshine List despite retiring in 2021. She received $252,171 while the current president Rob Kardas was paid $264,439. There were 132 Lambton College employees on the list.

Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Monte McNaughton was paid $165,851.04 in 2022, because of his role as the Minister of Labour. Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey was paid $146,538.73 as a parliamentary assistant.

Former Bluewater Health CAO Mike Lapaine made $319,546 in salary and $10,469 in benefits. That hasn’t changed since 2020. There were 217 Bluewater Health employees on the list, including a number of registered nurses.

There has been much discussion whether the $100,000 salary mark is still relevant considering inflation since 1996 – $100,000 then is about $166,630 today.

At full-time hours, workers in Ontario who make minimum wage of $15.50 per hour make $31,000 per year.

About 11 per cent of Lambton County workers make over $100,000.