This week’s promise by Premier Dalton McGuinty to conduct a review of bonuses paid to public sector managers is a step in the right direction but it fails to address the bloated ranks of management personnel overall, says the president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.
“Bonuses are one issue and we’re pleased to see some action being taken,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “But the premier’s announcement doesn’t begin to address how the numbers of managers in the Ontario Public Service has ballooned out of control over recent years.”
Earlier this week Premier McGuinty told reporters he was prepared to conduct a thorough review of bonuses paid out to thousands of OPS managers. “If everyone gets pay for performance, it’s not pay for performance, it’s pay,” McGuinty said. “I think we need to revisit the whole concept of pay for performance.”
Thomas pointed out the real problem is how the numbers of managers-per-employee has spiraled out of control. He said in many instances inside the provincial public service it is not unusual to have one manager supervising the work of as few as a half dozen staff members, or less.
“The OPS is management heavy,” he added. “In the past two years, for every frontline position that the government filled, it went on to hire three supervisors / policy staff member and one senior manager. This only worsens the deficit problem; it doesn’t fix it.”
Thomas said the timing of this week’s announcement was peculiar, coming on the heels of government plans to hold teachers and other public sector workers to salary freezes and in some cases, roll back of wages and benefits.
“My members are on the frontlines of public service work – not their managers,” Thomas said. “But we’re losing jobs and being told to take zeros while Mr McGuinty and Dwight Duncan are busy writing bonus cheques to their managers. There’s something fundamentally wrong with this picture.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas