Hamilton's mayor earned more than Toronto mayor John Tory in 2018

Hamilton's mayor earned $228,000 last year in salary and honorariums — about $36,000 more than John Tory.

A new report breaks down how much council members earned and what they expensed

Fred Eisenberger takes questions from the media with Canada's environment minister, Catherine McKenna, on Wednesday. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

Hamilton's mayor earned $228,000 last year in salary and honorariums — about $36,000 more than Toronto Mayor John Tory.

A new city report shows Fred Eisenberger's salary was $184,662.66 in 2018, plus $7,340.15 for representing council on other boards, and $36,249.96 to sit on the Alectra Utilities board. In total, he earned $228,252.77.

Toronto's mayor, meanwhile, earned a $192,503.43 salary in that time, said his spokesperson, Don Peat. He didn't get anything for sitting on other boards and agencies.

Eisenberger represents Hamilton at a handful of Alectra Utilities board meetings each year. In 2017, an Alectra document shows, he received $39,166.67 for attending 13 board meetings.

As for council work, Eisenberger claimed $8,301.79 in expenses in 2018, including an Intelligent Communities Forum in London, England ($5,293), an annual general meeting for the HMCS Sackville in Halifax ($980.74) and the Big City Mayors' Caucus in Ottawa ($1,066.41).

By comparison, Tory claimed $1,825.99 in expenses that year, according to the City of Toronto's online council expense tracker. That includes $853.29 for the same Ottawa conference of the Big City Mayors' Caucus.

Mayor Fred Eisenberger of Hamilton and Mayor Walter Sendzik of St. Catharines sign an agreement to merge Horizon Utilities with other utilities in 2016.

Eisenberger appears to travel more than Tory too. While Tory's travel expenses since 2014 have largely been limited to the Big City Mayors' Caucus, which always happens somewhere in Canada, Eisenberger has taken five international trips as mayor since 2016, at a combined cost of $22,701.72. 

Here's a list:

  • Visiting the regions of Italy twinned with Hamilton in 2016 ($2,179.68).
  • A 2016 Smart Cities conference in the Netherlands ($4,481.60). 
  • A 2017 international property event in France and Germany ($7,319.40).
  • A 2017 trade mission to Colombia ($3,428.04).
  • The 2018 Intelligent Communities Forum in London, UK ($5,293).

Eisenberger wasn't available for comment Thursday. But his communications staff said all of his trips were planned through the city's economic development department.

His office also suggested the compensation of Mississauga's mayor, Bonnie Crombie, was a better comparison since Crombie also sits on the Alectra board.

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie is one of Canada's highest paid mayors, and spent $22,142.63 in travel in 2018. (CBC)

To that end, Mississauga council's salaries and benefits haven't been released yet for 2018. But in 2017, Crombie took home $243,117, the Mississauga News reported. That made her one of Canada's highest paid mayors.

Crombie's pay that year included $48,615 from the utility board, a mayoral salary of $139,374, and $55,130 for being a Peel regional councillor. 

Crombie also spent $22,142.63 on travel in 2018, including a trip to Israel.

Hamilton city councillors are scheduled to approve their expense reports at an audit, finance and administration committee meeting March 21. 

The annual report outlines how much Hamilton's 16-member council earned, as well as what expenses they claimed.

Councillors who served all of 2018 made $97,357.26.

Wondering who your councillor is? Here's a map showing Hamilton's ward boundaries. (City of Hamilton)

Here are some other highlights:

  • Councillors who took office in December (Brad Clark, John-Paul Danko, Nrinder Nann, Esther Pauls and Maureen Wilson) earned $7,489.02 for their first month in office.
  • Terry Anderson made $28,458.28 for four months on council representing Ward 7. Council appointed him after Donna Skelly took office as Flamborough-Glanbrook MPP. Skelly earned $34,449.49 on council from January to June.
  • Matthew Green (Ward 3), Robert Pasuta (old Ward 14) and Doug Conley (Ward 9) were councillors from January to November and earned $89,868.24. Aidan Johnson (Ward 1) also served for that time but only earned $66,652.28. He didn't take a salary from September to November because he was transitioning to his new job as head of the Niagara Community Legal Clinic. He was still doing council work, but his salary paid for extra staff in his office.
  • Four councillors made money for representing council on other boards and agencies, such as the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO), etc. Green made $1,552.76, Pasuta $784.50 and Terry Whitehead (former Ward 8, now new Ward 14) $1,071.58.
  • Hamilton's other appointee on the Alectra Utilities board, Paul Benson, was paid $60,999.96. 
  • It pays to serve on the Hamilton Utilities Corporation board too. Honorariums and expenses for Hamilton's six board appointees cost a combined $171,437 last year. The highest paid was board chair Joseph Rinaldo, who received a $28,000 honorarium, plus $16,500 in meeting fees and $23,400 for "CEO-related activities." He also claimed $2,415 in expenses, for a total remuneration of $52,987.
  • Appointees to most city boards and committees, including the library board and farmer's market board, don't get paid, and most didn't claim expenses. 
  • James Kaspersetz, who was vice-chair of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority and wasn't reappointed, got $6,784.31 for sitting on that board. He also claimed $4,291.56. Stewart Beattie received $4,870.40 for sitting on the board and claimed $2,446.67 in expenses. 
  • By comparison, the most any member of the Hamilton Conservation Authority was paid in 2018 was $2,875, plus $527.88 in expenses. Hamilton's rep on the Grand River Conservation Authority received $1,704.65, and appointees to the Halton Region Conservation Authority got $600, $400 and $250, respectively. The highest expense claim was $228.43.
  • Representatives on the Hamilton Police Services board got $9,132.24 in 2018. Four claimed expenses. The highest was Pat Mandy, who attended three conferences and expensed $6,709.34.

Expenses by councillor:

  • Brad Clark (Ward 9, successor to Conley): $154.77.
  • Chad Collins (Ward 5): $1,803.60. Collins also claimed $1,036.26 in expenses as president of CityHousing Hamilton.
  • Doug Conley: $173.65.
  • Lloyd Ferguson (Ward 12): $596.71. He also claimed $231.44 in expenses serving on the police services board.
  • Matthew Green: $4,104.58. Included in that is an Ontario Good Roads Association conference he attended at a cost of $1,552.76.
  • Tom Jackson (Ward 6): $1,667.46.
  • Brenda Johnson (Ward 11): $4,342.39. All but $100 of this was mileage.
  • Judi Partridge (Ward 15): $786.93. 
  • Robert Pasuta: $2,221.08, of which $1,117.33 was mileage. Pasuta was also paid $525 and $2,221.69 in expenses for serving on AMO.
  • Maria Pearson (Ward 10): $719.17.
  • Donna Skelly: $372.55.
  • Arlene VanderBeek (Ward 13): $240. She also received $8,026.50, plus $1,464.19 in expenses, for serving on the Niagara Escarpment Commission.
  • Terry Whitehead: $325. Included in that is a Guns and Gangs Conference in Ottawa at a cost of $1,071.58.

Danko (Ward 8), Jason Farr (Ward 2), Sam Merulla (Ward 4), Nrinder Nann (Ward 3), Esther Pauls (Ward 7) and Aidan Johnson and his Ward 1 successor Maureen Wilson didn't claim any expenses. 

About the Author

Samantha Craggs is a CBC News reporter based in Hamilton, Ont. She has a particular interest in politics and social justice stories, and tweets live from Hamilton city hall. Follow her on Twitter at @SamCraggsCBC, or email her at samantha.craggs@cbc.ca


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