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York Regional Councillor Michael Di Biase - laughing all the way to the bank

Regional Councillor Michael Di Biase collected his full remuneration from York Region in 2015 despite having three months pay docked by his home council of Vaughan as a penalty for improperly interfering in the Council’s tendering process.

Figures released today by York Region confirm that Di Biase received his full $54, 071 remuneration from York Region last year together with $8, 949 in benefits.

Personally, I take the view that the three months loss of pay imposed on Di Biase by Vaughan Council should also have been applied by York Region. This “double whammy” may appear a tad unfair, but interfering in Council contracts is a very big deal. Last year, York Regional Council simply averted its gaze from the shocking revelations coming out of Vaughan and made no comment whatsoever.

As we know, York Region famously does not have a Code of Conduct for its members believing this would simply duplicate those of the constituent municipalities.

However, the indirectly elected Chair of the Regional Council, Wayne Emmerson, does not have a “home municipality” and is therefore not covered by any code whatsoever. Last year Emmerson received $226,825 in remuneration plus $41,624 in benefits. He claimed $10,509 in expenses.

The former Chair of York Regional Council, Bill Fisch, who voluntarily retired from his Regional post in 2014, received $314,101 in 2015. An explanatory note says this figure includes severances paid out in 2015.

The 2015 sunshine list is also published today. If the $100,000 threshold had been linked to inflation, the list today would only capture people earning over $145,000. To leave the figure unchanged at $100,000 since 1996 represents a kind of salary voyeurism at odds with the original intent.

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Update on 31 March 2016: Di Biase goes to Court in May in an attempt to salvage what is left of his reputation.


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