Multiple city employees received over 5% raise during pandemic

City Hall Photos taken Feb. 13, 2021. (Dan Gray/

A review of City of Sault Ste. Marie employees on the Sunshine List shows 95 names.

Chief Administrative Officer Malcolm White is the highest paid city employee, receiving $208,756.64.

The rest of the top 5 are:

2. Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Tom Vair – $189,797.65
3. Fire Chief Peter Johnson – $178,009.48
4. Chief Financial Officer and City Treasurer Shelley Schell – $171,691.08

Fifth place was shared with a difference of only five cents in pay. Don Elliot the Director of Engineering Services made $155,190.70 while Director of Public Works Susan Hamilton-Beach brought in $155,190.65.

Sault Fire Services has 55 of the 95 on the Sunshine List for the City of Sault Ste Marie. Those employees range from training officers to firefighter second class.

The list doesn’t tell the whole story…

Tom Vair has held the same position in the city for the past three years according to the list. He saw his pay from last year to this year jump over 9.5%, from $174,274 to the rate above.

Shelley Schell, saw a raise of over 5.5 percent from $160,212 in 2019.

Don Elliott and Susan Hamilton Beach, the latter is responsible for the PDC report, saw almost identical increases coming in a bit over 5.5% from $147,027.

Just over a 5.5 percent increase in pay seems to be the average across the board for city hall staff.

In comparison, the inflation rate was 1.95% in 2019.

These raises were given at a time where city hall continued to say we need to focus on core services and be responsible for taxpayer money.

Follow SaultOnline as we find more places where they city doesn’t follow it’s own priorities.


  1. Must be nice to get raises and increases in pay while other haven’t had raises in a long time and people on ow or odsp haven’t had an increase in years but our rents keep going up and we live on less and less money. I always say rich get richer and poor get poorer. People r living on the street cause they can’t afford to live and ones that have places have to have friends move in with them just to live but our lives don’t matter. We also have a drug addiction problem in the sault and I don’t see anyone worrying about fixing it but just keep giving your a raise that’s all that matters right.

  2. With that increase maybe they can pay for parking now. This could generate some revenue to help keep the taxes down instead of raising them!

  3. What I hate about these lists is that most jobs anywhere come in a range, not a specific salary. Eg you slide up the scale until you max out, how fast you max out depends on your competency. (The ranges of course shouldn’t increase more than inflation)

    The better question is why are the top ranges so high for these positions? Do we need the Commissioners (or Directors, Officers, etc) making more than 150k? Do we need a deputy CAO that makes almost as much as the actual CAO?

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