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Who was paid the most in Richmond Hill's public sector in 2018?

Chief administrative officer Neil Garbe made $289,002 in 2018, topping the Sunshine List in Richmond Hill.
April 23, 2019
Sheila Wang

It pays to be a public employee in Richmond Hill, and in some cases, it pays really well.

Chief administrative officer Neil Garbe, who made $289,002 in 2018 was the top earner again among all public employees in Richmond Hill that made the province’s latest Sunshine List, released on March 27.

Records show Garbe had a taxable benefit of close to $12,000 on top of his salary last year.

The CAO was paid over $29,000 more in 2018 than the year before and was the No. 1 wage earner in 2017 as well, reported.

Meanwhile, Garbe was the second-highest paying CAO among all York Region municipalities in 2018, ranking just after Markham CAO Andrew Taylor, who made about $352,000.

With Richmond Hill's status changed to a city, Garbe's title has become city manager this year, according to spokesperson Libbi Hood.

"Richmond Hill staff salaries are reviewed regularly to ensure fair and comparable salaries for work done in similar municipalities," Hood responded to the 11.3 per cent salary increase for Garbe from 2017 to 2018. "Salaries, including the city manager’s salary, reflect these requirements."

Richmond Hill’s commissioner of environment and infrastructure services Italo Brutto made about $233,000 last year -- increased by less than $3,000 from 2017 -- making him the second top earner employee in the city.

Brutto was followed by commissioner of planning and regulatory services Kelvin Kwan, who has seen his salary up from $185,000 in 2017 to $208,000 last year.

The fourth highest-paid public employee was Mary-Anne Dempster, who took the position of commissioner corporate and financial services in September 2017.

Dempster made over $205,000 for her first full year of service with Richmond Hill in 2018.

Previously, the commissioner worked as the director of corporate services with City of Kawartha Lakes for more than four years.

Dempster was paid about $129,000 in 2017 for the nine months that she worked in Kawartha Lakes before leaving for Richmond Hill.

Also making the top five was Richmond Hill Fire Chief Steven Kraft, who earned $197,000 last year, slightly higher than what he made in 2017.

Meanwhile, three out of nine Richmond Hill council members made the Sunshine List last year.

Mayor Dave Barrow made $185,000 plus a $2,700 taxable benefit in 2018, increased by less than $3,000 from the year before.

Regional councillors Vito Spatafora and Brenda Hogg both saw their salaries decline from 2017 to 2018.

The two councillors, now retired, each made $126,000 last year, which was about $6,000 less than the previous year.

In 2018, a total of 301 Richmond Hill public employees -- 46 more than the year before -- hit the Sunshine List that annually discloses salaries and taxable benefits of employees who are paid $100,000 or more in a calendar year.

The disclosure is required under the Public Salary Disclosure Act, brought in under Mike Harris’ Progressive Conservative government in 1996.

It is commonly known as the Sunshine List since its intent was to shine light on top earners in Ontario’s public service, including those working for provincial and municipal governments, hospitals, school boards, police and fire departments.

Go to for the complete Sunshine List.