Why Won’t The NPCA Post Salaries On Ontario’s ‘Sunshine List’ When Other Conservation Authorities Across the Province Have?

“Why wouldn’t you publish (them) anyway, just to have our own sunshine in the Niagara region?” – Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley to “Acting CAO” David Barrick at the Region’s January 31st, 2019 budget review committee meeting

A Brief Report by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper (with more to come later)

Posted February 1st, 2019 on Niagara At Large

NPCA’s “acting CAO” David Barrick visits Niagara Region meeting over Conservation Authority’s budget

David Barrick, allegedly serving as the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority’s interim or acting chief administrative officer (CAO), told members of Niagara Region’s budget review committee this January 31st that the NPCA did not report salaries and benefits higher above $100,000 per year for Ontario’s ‘Sunshine List’ last year because Conservation Authorities in the province don’t have to.

Yet a fast look at the province’s 2018 Sunshine list reveals that at least 10 of the 35 other Conservation Authorities in Ontario, are on the list, posting information for members of their staff earning annual salaries and benefits of $100,000 or more.

Among the Conservation Authorities on the list are those for Lakehead Region, Essex Region, Halton Region, Otonabee Region and more.

Barrick, who served last term as a regional councillor for Port Colborne, and who has recently been fired from an administrative post at the NPCA, only to be rehired by whoever was still sitting on the Conservation Authority’s old board, and made “acting CAO,” was questioned about the Sunshine List by Niagara Region’s recently sworn in Chair, Jim Bradley.

Niagara Region’s new Chair, Jim Bradley, asked Barrick why the NPCA wouldn’t want to disclose salaries over $100,000 anyway, as a gesture of openess with public.

Bradley asked Barrick why no staffers from the NPCA appear on the province’s list, only to be told by Barrick that under the province’s Conservation Act, Conservation Authorities don’t have to report that information.

“Why wouldn’t you publish (annual salaries and benefits above six figures for NPCA staffers) anyway,” asked Bradley again, “just to have our own sunshine in the Niagara region?”

Barrick then responded that the province told the Conservation Authority that information shouldn’t be released.

“The public will be frustrated with that answer,” Bradley said.

No doubt members of the public will be, and probably already are frustrated with that answer.

Over the past three or four years, citizens across the Niagara region have become growingly frustrated and infuriated over failures or flat-out refusals by the NPCA to disclose information about salaries, contracts, legal costs and other matters that involve the spending of millions of dollars of their municipal tax money.

One citizen, Ed Smith, a retired Canadian Armed Forces officer, found himself being sued after he disclosed a list of questions and concerns about business the NPCA was doing that he and others believed its administrators were refusing to be open about.

The lawsuit against Ed Smith was later defeated in the Ontario courts.

Yet even now, Smith and other members of a citizens group he is part of – a group called A Better Niagara – has had to apply through provincial freedom of information legislation in an attempt to learn details of whatever contract deal the NPCA may have made with Barrick over his reported promotion to the acting CAO post.

Niagara At Large will be updating this story and providing more details and commentary later.

Stay Tuned.

To see other Conservation Authorities, on Ontario’s most recent Sunshine List, click on – file:///C:/Users/owner/Desktop/conservation%20authorities%20sunshine%20lists%20CCE20190201.pdf .

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“A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders

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3 responses to “Why Won’t The NPCA Post Salaries On Ontario’s ‘Sunshine List’ When Other Conservation Authorities Across the Province Have?

  1. The sad thing seems to be this. Since only a portion of authorities publish salaries, then there is no law compelling them. They are just honest, transparent organizations that do more. Since the NPCA can’t be compelled to publish salaries, then they won’t as secrecy is number one. The question is why Authorities are exempt and how to change that law. Thank you

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  2. NPCA has posted in the past. The requirements for the PSDA are that an agency that receives a certain amount of provincial funding (I believe it is $1 million) are required to publish. All others are at their discretion. The fact that the NPCA failed to disclose after years of doing it indicates not all is well with their books. And as Mr. Barrick is responsible for those, well….

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  3. Robert Milenkoff

    The former chair of the NPCA Sandy Annunziata stated on numerous occasions during his reign that the Conservation Authorities Act is a wonderful piece of legislation and that everyone should read it.I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Annunziata and I think its high time that the provincial government read it, revised it, and held the people running these agencies in the management positions accountable.
    Robert Milenkoff
    Welland

    Like

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