Pubdate: Tue, 25 Mar 2008
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2008 The Toronto Star
Author: Betsy Powell


In 2004, 240 police employees were paid more than $100,000. In 2007,
that number hit 769, with annual earnings fattened by overtime and
numerous court appearances

A former drug squad officer suspended with pay while facing criminal
charges was among 769 Toronto Police Service employees earning more
than $100,000 in 2007.

The total includes 622 staff whose base pay is normally below

Their earnings were topped up with premium pay - including money for
court attendance and overtime - and other payouts such as final
vacation pay, sick pay and retroactive adjustments.

Police spokesperson Mark Pugash said yesterday he didn't have
breakdowns of the payouts to individuals appearing on the top earners
list, which is required to be made public under the Public Sector
Salary Disclosure Act.

The list of people earning more than $100,000 will be presented to the
police services board at its monthly meeting Thursday.

The act does not require the force to report "paid duty earnings,"
paid to officers by individuals or business requesting police presence.

The 769 employees earning six figures in 2007 is an increase from 708
in 2006. In 2005, 279 were paid more than $100,000, up from 240 in

"If salaries go up by 3 per cent each year and the threshold stays the
same, it stands to reason that the numbers are going to increase,"
Pugash said.

The service has initiated several strategies "for monitoring and
controlling premium pay," he said.

"Overtime and callbacks must be approved by a supervisor. Unit
commanders receive daily overtime reports and have access to other
timekeeping and earning reports."

John Schertzer, a former staff sergeant who ran the Central Field
Command drug unit, received $106,614 last year while on paid leave. He
was one of six officers facing extortion, assault and obstructing
justice charges. The charges were stayed earlier this year after a
judge ruled lengthy delays had denied the officers their
constitutional rights to a timely trial.

The Crown is appealing the decision. Schertzer retired last October
after 32 years on the force. Pugash couldn't confirm if his paycheque
included lump sum payments relating to his retirement.

Salaries make up more than 95 per cent of the police budget, which is
closing in on $800 million.

Chief Bill Blair was paid $270,052 last year.

The Toronto Police Association is currently negotiating a contract
with management.

The Toronto Police Accountability Coalition, a police watchdog group,
says it anticipates the eventual settlement will include a pay
increase of at least 3.5 per cent for the coming year.

The Toronto Police Service pays out $35 million a year in "premium
pay" - overtime - to its 5,510 officers in uniform and that
expenditure, "will need to be looked at to see if there's money to be
saved," board chair Alok Mukherjee said last summer. "It's going to be
a difficult challenge," he said at the time.

The city's biggest expenditures are in social services, policing and
the TTC.
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