The Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1290 is criticizing the number of Moncton’s senior administrators earning more than $100,000, while its bus drivers have been locked out for four months.
A CBC News report shows Moncton has 24 senior administrators earning more than $100,000, which is far more than the 17 in Saint John, 12 in Fredericton and two in Dieppe.
The locked out Codiac Transpo workers quickly pointed to those high salaries as the union and the city remain embroiled in a lengthy contract dispute that revolves around salary.
George Turple, the union president for the transit workers, said it appears that city hall is taking care of its senior management and not front-line city workers.
"Yes there are concerns with those rising salaries when they say that we should be at one level but yet they have the highest level in the province," Turple said.
"So you know it's a double standard here with the city. We'll pay everybody inside the building good and everybody outside the building sorry there's no funds left for you folks."
Moncton is offering to pay Codiac Transpo drivers $52,000 a year by 2017, but the union is holding out in hopes of being paid $60,000 per year by 2018. The two sides have agreed to annual pay increases that would bring the bus drivers' salaries to $51,000 a year by 2017, up from $44,000.
Municipalities were added to the list of organizations covered in the province’s Right to Information and Protection of Privacy Act on Sept. 1.
CBC News requested a list of salaries for the senior administrators in Dieppe, Fredericton, Moncton and Saint John.
'Ultimately the proof's in the pudding, if you recruit top talent you expect top results and I think that's really what the issue is.'— David Campbell, economic development consultant
While Saint John has the highest paid city administrator in the province, Moncton has the largest number of civil servants making a maximum salary of more than $100,000.
Municipalities are only required to disclose salary ranges for their staff members, so it is impossible to determine precise salaries.
Moncton also offers a bonus system where city administrators, who are at the top of their pay scale, can earn an extra 15 per cent if they qualify for an "exceptional zone."
For example, a general manager can earn a maximum salary of roughly $139,000. But general managers can see that salary increase to $167,488 if they are moved into the exceptional zone.
City officials say the added 15 per cent is not an annual addition to the individual’s salary and they have to meet performance standards to qualify.
Moncton is the only city that lists a bonus system, according to the documents.
Mayor George LeBlanc was not available for an interview on city salaries on Monday.
But one city councillor says staff salaries have been carefully set with the help of an independent human resources company.
David Campbell, an economic development consultant, said it shouldn't surprise anyone that Moncton has so many more highly-paid bureaucrats.
Campbell said he ranks Moncton in line with other "mid-tier Canadian urban centres," such as Halifax, and must work hard to recruit talented staff.
Campbell said Moncton is growing fast and needs the expertise to manage that growth.
"Ultimately the proof's in the pudding, if you recruit top talent you expect top results and I think that's really what the issue is," he said.
"You know you're paying more to get good quality people but then are those people delivering on the results."
Top City Salaries
Click here to view larger version with more city salaries