HALDIMAND-NORFOLK -- The top doctor in Haldimand-Norfolk has received a big bonus for working overtime during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Shanker Nesathurai logged around 1,100 hours of overtime between March and September 2020.

"It equated to approximately $160,000," Norfolk Mayor Kristal Chopp said.

The overtime pay, which is on top of Dr. Nesathurai's six-figure salary, was approved by the Board of Health in a recent closed-door session.

"It's not something that we agreed with, but our hands were tied contractually," Chopp said.

Some communities were surprised by the big bonus.

"It seems like an excessive amount of money," one resident told CTV Kitchener.

"It's not coming off of their property taxes, it is being funded by provincial dollars," Chopp said.

Dr. Nesathurai has a base salary of $240,000 a year.

"I guess he should be entitled to overtime pay just everybody else, but they make an awful lot to begin with," another resident said.

Others said the amount is fair.

"I'm grateful there are people looking out for our health and wellness," one person said.

"That's not taking away from the hard work of these medical officers of health, I'm not insinuating that there is anything improper going on, in my opinion," Chopp said.

The Ministry of Health asked Boards of Health to submit extra hours last fall. Chopp hopes other communities are just as transparent.

"The pandemic is creating winners and losers," Chopp said.

Region of Waterloo and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health staff said they weren't provided patient for overtime hours worked during the pandemic.

Dr. Nesathurai didn't respond to a request for comment from CTV Kitchener.