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Mystery surrounds a Richmond Hill chief of staff’s post as Sunshine List reports a salary of $230,000 in 2021
April 28, 2022

Two years after Mike Makrigiorgos took up a brand-new position as a chief of staff in Richmond Hill, he was listed as the fifth highest-paid city employee, making $229,729 on the taxpayers’ dime in 2021, as the latest public sector disclosure reports.

It almost doubled his reported salary in 2018 when he was working as an executive assistant to former Toronto city councillor Giorgio Mammoliti, who lost his spot on council in the last election.

The Sunshine List disclosure ranked Makrigiorgos’ salary only behind the city manager and three commissioners with a job title of “local and regional councillor -- chief of staff.”

His reported salary in 2021 represented a pay increase of more than $53,000 -- a 30-per-cent jump -- from the year before, according to the disclosures of the past two years.

In an email, Makrigiorgos denied that the salary disclosed by the provincial government’s Sunshine List  -- subject to the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act -- was correct. He also said it was “a lie” that he received an pay raise last year.

“My position, job description, and salary has (sic) never changed,” he wrote.

There wasn’t a job description publicly available at the time of his hiring in mid-March 2019, when Makrigiorgos was named the chief of staff for regional councillors Carmine Perrelli and Joe DiPaola and ward councillor Greg Beros.

Makrigiorgos previously told the Liberal that his salary was funded through the three councillors’ budget for administrative support in 2019 and he was “happy” with the offer, without disclosing the exact amount.

The Sunshine List disclosures later revealed that the chief of staff was paid $142,627 for less than 10 months of work in 2019, and $176,518 in the following year.

It is unclear why Makrigiorgos’s reported salary rose to about $230,000 in 2021

“This position is funded through the approved budgets for mayor and council office support. Beyond that, the city cannot comment on personnel matters,” city spokesperson Ash O’Malley said.

In 2021, Richmond Hill ward councillors had an annual budget of $113,900 each and regional councillors had a total annual budget of $220,900 each to cover all expenditures, including personnel, according to the city.

Perrelli responded “I have no knowledge of the position’s funding details or what his salary is.”

The regional councillor said his contribution from the allotted budget to Makrigiorgos’s salary was “just shy of $20,000.”

Speaking of the $230,000 figure reported on the Sunshine List, DiPaola said he was “absolutely surprised by this outrageous amount,” noting there was no way of knowing what other councillors pay staff from their global budgets.

“Despite his title of chief of staff, in no way has he ever provided service to my office. Mike Makrigiorgos performs a very partisan role for other councillors,” DiPaola said.

In separate emails, both Perrelli and Makrigiorgos stated that the chief of staff was hired for all council members, not just certain members.

“If you write that or insinuate that I only work for certain members of council, that would be a lie,” Makrigiorgos said.

This is a screenshot of Mike Makrigiorgos's email in response to a media inquiry from the Liberal dated April 25, 2022. -- Sheila Wang

However, O’Malley confirmed that “Mike Makrigiorgos is currently employed by the city as a local and regional councillor chief of staff, supporting local and Regional Councillor Carmine Perrelli, as well as Councillor Greg Beros.”

Before the chief of staff role launched in Richmond Hill, Beros received campaign services through a consulting firm Makrigiorgos co-owned in the 2018 municipal election, according to a 2019 report.

Beros did not respond to multiple media inquiries from the Liberal.

On April 12, 2019, a freedom of information request was filed with the city to obtain information regarding Makrigiorgos’s position.

The FOI records obtained by the Liberal show that Makrigiorgos was hired in 2019 as a “constituency assistant to the regional and local councillor" and reported to "designated councillor."

The Liberal reached out to all council members, asking if they’ve received any services from Makrigiorgos. Coun. Karen Cilevitz and Coun. Godwin Chan responded that they’ve never requested or received any service from him. They said they did not contribute any office support budget to his position.

There was an undefined period last year when Makrigiorgos was not employed with the city, according to city spokesperson Kathleen Graver's response to the Liberal’s previous inquiry dated March 16, 2021.

Perrelli said that Makrigiorgos remains in the same role as first hired.

However, DiPaola noted that “once I established that he offers no other added value to the city, I ensured that as of March 2021, no money was directed from my office to this individual.”

In 2021, there were a total of 70 individuals holding the title of "chief of staff" in public sector organizations in Ontario, making an average salary of $170,951, according to

In comparison, York Region's chief of staff Lina Bigioni was paid a little more than $172,000 in 2021 and Luke Robertson, a chief of staff at the City of Toronto made less than $200,000 last year.