Thursday, January 24, 2008

Saskatoon Police Chief Slated for Raise


I'd smile, too. Just 15 months after Saskatoon police chief Clive Weighill signed a generous contract, the board of police commissioners wants his pay increased to $175,000 annually. When Weighill signed his five-year contract in September 2006, $143,000 per year seemed just fine. In fact, it’s what the Premier of Saskatchewan makes today. Why renegotiate Weighill’s contract after fifteen months while the city spends $91 million on a new police station?

The reason, we’re told, is one good raise deserves another. Last spring, city manager Phil Richards got a large raise. (On his watch, new lights on the Traffic Bridge cost twice as much as budgeted, a $462,000 bill that made taxpayers irate last September.) Because Richards gets a raise, so do other city bosses, and on it goes.

And why did Richards get a raise? Corporate services manager Marlys Bilanski points to Regina. Glen Davies was hired in May 2006 to run the Queen City for $187,000 a year. So Richards got a $30,000 bump last spring to make his annual salary $195,000.

Imagine--one hefty salary in Regina justified all these raises in Saskatoon! Ironically, it's another Regina wage that exposes all this foolishness.

Regina’s police chief Cal Johnston makes just $135,000 annually, despite having the role for ten years. Weighill was actually Johnston's deputy in Regina before taking the job as Saskatoon's chief. Yet, Weighill’s original salary was already higher than Johnston’s.

If Weighill’s wage hike stands—and truly it shouldn’t—only one sure outcome remains. When Regina hires a new police chief in March, s/he will be paid more than Johnston. And the reason, they’ll say, is Saskatoon. Citizens should fight this nonsense for all they’re worth.

If you'd like to comment, the Star-Phoenix has asked for response on this issue on their "sound-off" page.

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