Oops! My Bad - Board Pays Director $17,000 More Than Allowed

HCDSB NEWS had previously reported on the contract details of the HCDSB Director Paula Dawson here in January 2015. Her contract stated very clearly that her "basic" annual salary would be fixed at $200,000

It also stated her "basic" salary is subject to change if provincial guidelines mandated it or if the Board of Trustees changed it. She was also allowed to work through 4 of her 6 weeks of vacation and get paid for it. Her vacation doesn't include Christmas or the March break so add another 2 weeks for a total of 8. Predictably, there is no information published by the Board in any form that states they raised the Director's salary in 2014 but the Public Sector Salary Disclosure (PSSD) list for 2014, otherwise known as the "Sunshine list"  tells a different tale. It states the HCDSB paid the director a total of $217,594.77 in the calender year 2014. That my friends is an 8.1% increase in pay any way you slice it. The PSSD numbers are from the T4 issued to the Director for the calender year 2014. 

You'd think after the Minster of Education Liz Sandals slapped around the TDSB for paying their Director Donna Quan too much in salary the trustees of the HCDSB would have had a close look at what was going on with their Director so as not to suffer the same embarrassment. Maybe they are playing a game of silly bugger by using the vacation clause as a means of skirting ministry guidelines. If that's the case the Minister better wake up and smell the coffee. Of course there may be a perfectly reasonable explanation as to why the trustees are paying the Director more than it appears they should have. I have asked the HCDSB this exact question and when they get back to me I'll let you know what their explanation is. In the meantime stay tuned, I'll post the answer just as soon as I get it. 

BREAKING NEWS - Monday 5:25 a.m. The official response from the Board; The increase is due to unused vacation time and 1 extra pay period.

According to the Director's contract the trustees had to approve her vacation time. It states; "It is the intent of this agreement that the employee shall take the six (6) weeks of vacation during each calender year, providing such vacation does not unduly interfere with the operation of the school system and as approved by the Board." All the Director needs to do at this point is tell  the Board she would like four weeks vacation in June and 2 weeks in April instead of the typical times of July and August. The Board simply approves it as a "working vacation" of some kind instead of simply denying it as it very commonly does with all other employees. There has been no mention of this in any Board meeting minutes. So much for transparency.

The "extra pay period" appears to be nothing more than complete fiction on the part of the accounting department. This is not the first time the HCDSB has paid a Director more than their contract allowed, see here. The other three top paid administrators, Joe O'Hara (HR), Paul MacMahon (Finance) and Lorrie Naar (SO) all suffered decreases in pay in 2014 compared to 2013. O'Hara lost $4.28, MacMahon lost $4.26 and Naar lost $4.21. It seems the other top paid administrators did not benefit from the same "extra pay period" their boss did which would lead to the conclusion that only one administrator at the HCDSB had an "extra pay period". The question now becomes who ordered/invented the "extra pay period" for the Director and why?

BREAKING NEWS - Monday 3:15 p.m. An official with the HCDSB has apologized regarding their original claim of an "extra pay period" This was in fact not accurate. There was no extra pay period for the Director as previously stated.

Given the above admission that there was no extra pay period leads to the conclusion that the extra $17,594.77 was all due to being paid for working a vacation  period of 4.57 weeks in duration. Her contract states she can carry over unused vacation time of up to 6 weeks to the following year and that any unused carry over vacation time can be paid out as a lump sum in that year. In 2014 there 194 school days and 171 non school days plus 21 days of statutory holidays. the Director received approval from the Board for her holidays. The Board could have made her book her holidays in the summer like everyone else but didn't. If you want to know why you'll have to ask Jane Michael.

As always the HCDSB NEWS invites your corrections, comments and criticisms and any replies received from people or institutions mentioned in any article will be published.