09/18/2013 01:19 EDT | Updated 09/18/2013 01:22 EDT

Calgary Flood Overtime: Albertans Divided On Fairness Of Payment


Overtime paid to City of Calgary senior directors for work done during the June flood has left the city divided.

A small majority of respondents to a poll conducted by The Huffington Post Alberta thought the overtime cash shouldn't have been dished out.

Forty-eight per cent of respondents said employees earn enough already. Those who thought the pay was well deserved weren't too far behind. Forty-five per cent of readers believed the employees earned the overtime pay, while the rest of the respondents were undecided.

Things got heated at Calgary's city council on Monday when it learned that more than $300,000 in overtime pay was dished out to senior directors for their work during the June flood.

According to the Calgary Herald, some of the 28 directors, although it is unknown how many, who hold the third-highest ranking positions in Calgary's municipal system, put in and got paid overtime.

While some, including Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, weren't pleased with the payments, a motion by Ald. Colley-Urquhart that called for a report on the payments was denied. The overtime paid was legal and backed by a policy that is now under fire.

Nenshi has been outspoken about wanting to change the policy that allowed for $307,000 in overtime to be paid and expressed his desire to change it if he was re-elected.

Part of the work we’re doing on transforming government is a major cultural transformation around the City of Calgary, putting the idea of serving citizens right at the centre of what we do and I think this is a good example of policies that perhaps don’t do that," he told The Calgary Sun.

He didn't, however, support Colley-Urquhart's motion, which he referred to as a "witch hunt."

“For very senior managers, they ought not to expect additional compensation for doing extra hours during crisis,” said Nenshi, adding that these managers already get a huge pay-cheque, making additional compensation unnecessary, according to the Calgary Herald.

But sentiments on social media weren't so supportive of the mayor's view.

"They deserve overtime pay for working overtime," said Nathan Kneisel on Facebook.

The sentiment was echoed by John Sullivan who said, "If they worked, they should be paid."

Do you think the overtime should have been paid? Tell us in the poll or comments below:

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