New Brunswick

Saint John boasts highest paid public servant

A CBC News analysis shows Saint John has the highest paid public servant but Moncton has the largest number of bureaucrats who can earn more than $100,000.

Moncton has the largest number of employees earning more than $100,000

Saint John boasts the highest paid municipal public servant in the province but Moncton has the largest number of bureaucrats who can earn more than $100,000, according to documents compiled by CBC News.

CBC News requested salaries and expenses for the senior administrators from Dieppe, Fredericton, Moncton and Saint John after municipalities came under the Right to Information and Protection of Privacy Act on Sept. 1.

Each city organizes its senior staff differently, but each administration turned over documents that showed the salary ranges of its top officials.

City managers are like the chief executive officer of the city and are the highest paid civil servant in each city. These bureaucrats are responsible for overseeing the day-to-day functions of the city government and carrying out the requests from council.

While these public servants are not elected, they can have a high profile in the community.

For example in Saint John, Terry Totten, the city’s former city manager, faced considerable controversy in recent years and ended up resigning. The city's new manager, Pat Woods, is in the middle of dealing with the pension deficit and a tough budget situation.

Jacques Dubé, the city manager in Moncton, is the second highest-paid city administrator in the province. (CBC)

But Woods is rewarded with the largest salary of any city-paid public servant in New Brunswick. The Saint John city manager has a pay range that could pay between $167,500 and $200,000.

The starting salary for Saint John's top public official is higher than the maximum salary for almost every other city.

By comparison, Moncton's Jacques Dubé is paid $167,913, which is just $400 more than the minimum salary for the same job in Saint John.

Meanwhile, in Fredericton, the chief administrative officer is paid between $129,990 and $162,494.

The province’s big three cities have salaries that far outpace the province’s fastest growing city, Dieppe.


Listen to CBC reporter Daniel McHardie talk about city administration salaries with Information Morning Fredericton.

While Dieppe is the smallest of the four cities examined, it still has many big city issues. Dieppe has recently built a new city hall, aquatic centre and has been the fastest growing city in the last decade.

Of the four cities, the lowest paid chief administrative offer is in Dieppe with a salary of between $99,103 and $115,440.

By comparison, a deputy minister, who is the top civil servant in a department, is paid a maximum of $174,499. In 2010, Statistics Canada reported the median income for a New Brunswicker in a non-census family was $19,100.

Municipalities are only required to release salary ranges under the province's information law.

The provincial government adopted the practice of releasing broad pay scales. Until recently, the Office of the Comptroller would release exact salaries of all civil servants earning more than $40,000.

New Brunswick's eight cities recently disclosed the salaries and expenses of their mayors.

New Brunswick's four publicly funded universities were requested to disclose the salaries and expenses of their presidents. Each university refused to turn over the documents after 30 days and requested another 90 days.

CBC News has appealed the decision to the province's information commissioner.

Other senior officials

Saint John has the highest paid civil servant in the province, but it is Moncton that has the largest number of employees who are paid more than $100,000.

Moncton has 24 different city jobs that have pay ranges that include a maximum salary of more than $100,000. Fredericton has 17 positions that have salaries of more than $100,000.

Saint John is third on the list of cities with staff who can earn more than $100,000 a year.

The city has 13 positions with salaries that can exceed $100,000. The city's clerk can earn just less than that, with a maximum salary of $98,190.

Dieppe is New Brunswick's fastest growing city but the salaries of its top administrators lag behind the other large municipalities.

Again, Dieppe is last on the list of cities in terms of top salaries.

Dieppe has two positions that could pay more than $100,000. Although, the southeastern city’s director of public works and engineering and director of finance could earn as much as $99,501.

One reason for Moncton’s salary advantage is because it has the broadest pay ranges.

Moncton has salary ranges that are roughly $50,000, while the other cities have pay ranges of closer to $20,000.

The reason for this is that Moncton builds in a bonus system, which it calls its "exceptional zone."

For example, the base salary of a general manager in Moncton may be up to roughly $139,000.

But general managers can earn another 15 per cent with these bonuses, which can bring the total salary to $167,488.

Cities are only required to disclose salary ranges, so it is impossible to tell how many officials were paid in the exceptional zone.

However, the city says the bonuses are based on the individual meeting performance targets. So the extra 15 per cent is not a guaranteed annual payment.

Similar positions

While each city organizes its senior ranks differently, there are some common jobs. The information released allows some cross-city comparisons.

Among the senior administrators in each city, engineers are among the highest paid.

The director of engineering in Fredericton earns a maximum of $122,800 and the director of engineering in Dieppe can earn a maximum of $98,501, which is the lowest among the largest cities.

In Depth | Municipal information

Click here for the New Brunswick's 2011 census information

Click here for the salaries and expenses of New Brunswick's city mayors

Click here to compare public spending by different municipalities

Click here to compare key statistics from different municipalities

Click here to see how a property tax bill is calculated

However, the commissioner of transportation and environment in Saint John can earn a top salary of $132,800. Meanwhile, Moncton's general manager of engineering and environmental services can earn a maximum salary of $167,800.

Each city also employs a lawyer to advise its council. When assessing the top lawyers for the cities, Moncton also comes out with the highest salary.

Moncton’s director of legal and legislative affairs can earn a maximum of $167,488 compared to the $132,858 for Saint John’s city solicitor and $107,779 for Fredericton’s solicitor.

Some cities also have unique positions.

Saint John is one of three municipalities in New Brunswick that has its own power company.

The chief executive officer of Saint John Energy is paid a maximum of $160,000. By comparison, the president and chief executive officer of NB Power can earn twice as much with a maximum salary of $324,999.

Moncton had the only communications officer among the senior administrators. The director of corporate communications can earn a top salary of $136,753.

Fredericton has a director of information, improvement and innovation listed among its senior staff. The position earns a top salary of $122,869.


Daniel McHardie

Digital senior producer

Daniel McHardie is the digital senior producer for CBC New Brunswick. He joined in 2008. He also co-hosts the CBC political podcast Spin Reduxit.