Salaries affect morale

At a Stampede Breakfast, I ran into someone who works on contract for the Calgary Board of Education. In conversation, this person mentioned that morale among employees is really low. Last Thursday, we learned one of the reasons why. The teachers have accepted a salary freeze for the last two years (and next year). Supervisors and managers received no salary increase this past year. But Chief Superintendent David Stevenson was awarded a contract by the Board of Trustees (in a 6-1 vote) that gave him a raise and that pays him more than the previous chief superintendent, despite having almost identical qualifications. Leadership matters.

Position Salary Taxable Benefits
Donna Quan, Toronto District School Board (about three times larger than CBE) $268,604.66 $18,559.95
Ken Thurston, York Region District School Board (same size as the CBE) $295,933.94 $12,638.42
Tony Pontes, Peel District School Board (about 1.5 times larger than CBE) $259,311.50 $1,987.20
Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada (population 34,880,000) $317,574
Alison Redford, while Premier of Alberta (population 4,083,000) $252,911 $135,540 (expenses)
Greg Bass, Deputy Minister, Alberta Education $152,866.11 $459.77

What is most troubling is when the Chief resigns or contract ends, he will be paid a full years salary, regardless of when. We can not find any other comparable public contract that has such a golden parachute. I have asked Chair Bowen Eyre on Twitter since July 10th to publicly share comparables including severance. None have been given.

The trustees should explain how they determined the salary of their only employee, and what message they were trying to send to everyone else who works in the CBE during this time of belt-tightening. We’d also be interested to know how trustees plan to provide leadership in improving morale within the CBE.

Finally, I applaud the fact that the contract was published. We understand that a contract is a confidential document, so publishing it was a positive step. Trustee Bowen-Eyre was quoted saying “We, as an organization, have decided to post it.” I’m very confused about which trustees supported publishing their contract with their employee since, according to their procedures (Conducting Business at Regular Board of Trustees’ Meetings – Private Agenda (4)), a motion and vote by the board is required and I can find no record of a vote. In fact on Twitter, the Chair has responded by saying “Chief’s decision to release contract” and “as I said before Chief’s decision, see under our policies OE8 communication with & support for the board ” I have asked with no response “Which point in particular governs releasing a contract publicly?” It appears that either the Chief Superintendent or the chair of the board has acted without the authorization of the board of trustees.

2 thoughts on “Salaries affect morale

  1. Time for a cleaning of this ridiculous board again. Yanking up the salary of someone who could resign at any time and get a full years pay while teachers pay for classroom supplies out of their own pockets and parents are slammed with unreasonable fee hikes…smells to me.

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